I am thinking about buying some Italian MTM shirts in the near future - I am not sure if I should go with a big name (Borrelli, Kiton) or if I should try a smaller taylor (Margutti, Barba). - Quality of fabrics, production and customer service has first priority. - I do not care about brand names.
I have ordered MTM shirts from Kiton and Borrelli. Kiton has a nice selection of extremely expensive fabrics, some of which are very interesting. I had heard horror stories from my retailer about Kiton MTM shirts taking 9 months to deliver, but I ordered a couple anyway. In my case, I believe that it took about 8 weeks. The shirts that I got were very nice and fit well, but I don't think that I'll be a repeat customer. I don't think that the hand-sewn side seams and sleeve seams serve any purpose other than to drive up the price, and even the thickest of Kiton's collar linings was still too insubstantial for my tastes. I also didn't really like the unpolished MOP buttons that are a Kiton signature. On the plus side, the pattern matching at the sleeve placket and the side seams (both shirts were checked) was the best that I've ever seen (none at the shoulder because they have the Neapolitan puckered shoulder), and the fabrics feel wonderful. They're obviously well-made shirts, but the value just isn't there. They were extremely expensive, and I think that I can do better for a lot less. I've done a whole lot of Borrelli MTM over the past few years, so it should be obvious that I like them. The fabrics that Borrelli offers are high-quality, although most of them are very conservative (it may be different at the NYC store). Still, even fabric that seems ho-hum on the swatch card tends to make up into a stunning shirt. Borrelli customer service has been spotty at best. I've had orders disappear into the ether, and there was that time when they had run out of the fabric that I ordered. They didn't bother to tell my retailer what had happened. They just never delivered the shirt. I see on their website that they promise 4 week delivery times. I've never experienced that. Six weeks is the best that I've ever seen, and it has been considerably longer than that in some cases. The Borrelli people have recently blamed these problems on their US representative, who apparently was recently fired. We'll see if service improves as a result. Over the past few months, Borrelli has made a couple of changes to their shirts that I'm not entirely happy about. One is that their button edges are now reeded instead of smooth, and I think that this will tend to tear up the buttonholes with use. The other is that their side seams are now considerably wider than they used to be. What can I say? I like extremely narrow side seams. In any event, the shirts are rising in price enough that I'm beginning to consider other options. I really love the shirts, but I think that I can do better for less elsewhere. It's where that elsewhere is that I'm uncertain of -- quality shirts in Houston is a daunting proposition.