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Best Bespoke tailoring in New York City

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by RobertP77, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Superfluous

    Superfluous Senior member

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    I'm unfamiliar with the other tailors. What do they do better stylistically that Ercole cannot? Do you have any sample photos? I think Ercole makes a great roped shoulder with a consistent, sloped pad as well as a great lapel (at least what I've noticed on NYR's).
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  2. Eustace Tilley

    Eustace Tilley Senior member

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    Quote:This is perhaps the best post I have seen on Ercole, and I agree 100%.
     
  3. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    When you guys mentioned that the back balance is off, do you mean that the back is just too long or that the longitudinal axis of the coat is abnormally rotated creating the long back?
     
  4. etkl

    etkl Senior member

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    While I understand your appreciation of Ercole's as a value proposition with regard to MTM and lower- tier bespoke makers, I frankly don't understand your "you get what you pay for" view with respect to such first-tier tailors as Corvato and Raphael. Although this is my first substantive post, I have been buying bespoke for 25 years from such makers as Corvato, Nicolosi, A & S, Nina, Ercole's and others with less visibility. I also have sourced my own fabrics for most of that time, mostly as a hobby. That doesn't make me an expert on anything but it does at least give me a basis for comparison.

    About 5 years ago, I settled on Ercole's near exclusively ( excepting a few pieces from Nina) for the following reasons: quality, customer service, price and a nostalgic attachment to Brooklyn, where I was born. With regard to quality, I have found that Ercole's can produce garments comparable to any and all of the other makers I have used. For example, at my request they have hand padded my lapels and collars and hand sewn in my linings for an additional charge. I don't ask for such things every time because I don't think they are needed all the time. But the point is that they can do virtually anything I ask for at the same quality and for less money than other, unquestionably, fine tailors.

    Ercole's also provides me with by far the best customer service I have ever received from any tailor. I live in Central New Jersey and convenience is certainly a factor. However , the biggest difference for me is the flexibility shown by Ercole and Frank. I have undergone several style adjustments while their customer and they never show impatience or a reluctance to listen or to correct a mistake when they make one. On the other hand, they are not rubber stamps and tell me I'm nuts when I am and, otherwise, give me helpful advice.

    Which brings me to price and your post. Even though, I have made a lot of tailored clothing with pricey tailors and, for the most past, I have been happy with the results, price does matter to me as I suspect it does with most of us. Thus, it would seem obvious that I would gravitate to a tailor that delivers comparable quality and service at a lower cost. It took 3 suits or so to overcome my skepticism, but after 5 years, I'm satisfied that Ercole's does so. Apparently, you disagree, as, of course, is your right. But, I am curious about your reasons. Is it just a matter of styling preferences that are a matter of taste. Or are there other reasons, such as the workmanship (eg, quality of sewing) or materials used? I'm curious because I don't see those issues.

    I think the answers to those questions are relevant to the OP and to other prospective bespoke customers. This may not pertain to you, but there are those who apply the saw "you get what you pay for" uncritically. I actually think there are other reasons for Ercole's relatively low price other than compromised workmanship and materials. Specifically, they operate in Brooklyn in a building that they own. Moreover, they have a substantial client base that predates the net and that may not welcome a significant price hike. From what I can tell, Ercole is extremely busy, at least in Brooklyn, and while they have raised their prices several times in the past few years, may not want to mess with success by raising them to Manhattan levels.
     
  5. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    CIAO Paesan!



    QFT. While I don't have the same expertise with other tailors, I do know Ercoles is priced modestly, and I always hear, "you get what you pay for" in terms of quality from guys who either:

    -do not detail what makes Tailor X's garment better and justify their higher prices or

    -never even tried Ercoles and just base their opinions on what they think they know or have seen on the internet.

    I will probably never leave Ercoles, for a lot of reasons, but I think we could use some specifics as to why people who HAVE tried the "expensive" tailors in NYC (and around the world) think "you pay for what you get". This post is a step in that direction, and I think newcomers to bespoke would be losing out if they simply cast Ercoles off simply based on price and a shallow argument. When you spend $5k on a Rubinacci, your helping to fund lots more than just Luca and his staff's salary, and there's a lot more reinvested in that company that does not get into their bespoke business but into other things like marketing and RTW which Ercoles really doesn't worry about.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  6. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    $5k on Rubinacci would be a steal. :happy:
     
  7. Superfluous

    Superfluous Senior member

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    Post some photos of your best examples from Ercoles in your opinion... if you don't mind. I always find them fantastic...
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  8. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    I'm not so sure I'd be the best person to use as a "judge". I've only dealt with Ercoles, I think its great, its what I like and its easy for me (I'm literally a mile from his shop), but I think someone who has experienced other more expensive tailors can provide valuable comparisons if they're detailed enough. Agreeing Ercoles is great just on my word would be just as unfair as agreeing its "what you pay for" from someone who hasn't experienced the work. I like the stuff very much that I have though...:)
     
  9. Eustace Tilley

    Eustace Tilley Senior member

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    I suspect your post was directed towards Gramm Cleric, but I’ll offer my input as I broadly agree with him. I’ve had a suit, 2 overcoats, 1 odd jacket and 4 trousers made by Frank, but continue to work with a couple of British / Italian tailors for my work suits and sportcoats.

    I agree with you on Ercole’s excellent service – he is flexible and amiable, and seems to have a real interest in meeting client demands. Quite unlike many SR (and even NY) tailors, who believe they know best and the client should defer to their mastery and input. His prices are also more than fair – a true bespoke product at a little over $2,000 is a great value in any major city – more so in New York.

    However, I have 2 issues with Ercole:

    1. Style: the styling of his garments is not to the level of his higher-priced colleagues. It’s hard to give specifics, but as any long-time bespoke customer knows, a half-inch here and a half-inch there does make a tangible difference – it truly is a “sum greater than the parts” notion at play – the minute differences may individually not amount to, or sound like, much, but they come together as a whole quite meaningfully. A suit from Nino Corvato or Anderson & Sheppard does look smarter than an Ercole.

    2. Make: I hate pointing this out as an “issue”, as it’s really not. Ercole does a fine job for the price he charges. But the higher-priced tailors have more handwork, better trimmings (I’ve had more than a few plastic zippers come loose after a few years), and cleaner stitching. As they should, as they’re charging more than twice what Frank charges.

    As Gramm Cleric mentioned, none of this should be construed as a “ding” on Ercole. I like him, continue to order from him, and have directed many people away from high-end MTM, or pseudo-bespoke shops in NY, towards him. But he’s just not as good as some of the more expensive players.

    I offer that as someone who has ordered garments from high-priced people on SR and NY (as well as Ercole), and so do have an objective basis for comparison. Many others with the same experience set (Manton, Cantabrigian, Gramm Cleric, and a couple who have privately pm’ed me) have indicated the same in the past.

    So, there’s my argument. It is what it is, but I’d like to think its not a “shallow” one simply because it rankles a few.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  10. Superfluous

    Superfluous Senior member

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    Just lookin for some example photos, haha. I'll post some for you.

    Here are two quick photos of NewYorkRanger's Ercoles. Two of many:

    [​IMG]


    Despite the pulling, the shape and the shoulders are great :slayer:.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  11. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    Not at all on the offensive here, but I'm wondering if you guys could please pick out where you think the garments pictured above might differ at a place like Corvato, SR, etc. Like I said, my eye is what it is, and I've never gone anywhere else, but I wonder how much of the kind of judgement on Ercoles work may be my fault for my own stylistic choices? Aside from PB, I don't know many others who post Ercoles work, and as much as I'm sure me posting so much has brought him business, I'm also sure its turned people away, specifically knowledgeable clients like you guys, with differing (more conservative) tastes when compared to mine. I've seen lots of clients who are fitted waaaayyyyyy more conservatively than I am, but also some who are fitted more sleek, and I think this is a case where Ercoles willingness to meet the clients idea of what he (or she, and yes, i've seen women fitted there as well) wants.


    This is very valuable, and generally what a lot of threads on here lack. Thank you ET.
     
  12. Eustace Tilley

    Eustace Tilley Senior member

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    Thanks NYR - I'm running for a work dinner, but will certainly respond once I get back.
     
  13. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    When it comes to finishing and handwork, it is always available, but you are not going to pay $2,000 for it. Many of my suits have lapped everything and bar tacking all over like the Italian tailors do without request, but it is more money for this. So to say "styling" is bland I don't really agree fully with the statement. I think a lot of people that go to him don't know the difference and don't request it, but are rather requesting a "price point" where bland finishing fits in easier.

    Another thing, which makes it hard to judge Frank's work fairly is the fact that he doesn't really have a house silhouette and the variations that you see here and there are more based on the clients specifications than Frank's firm hand. I think people are used to seeing his work on NYR because he has photographed so much of it. In actuality what I see on NYR is very different than most of the folks I meet going to see Frank.

    I also don't think it is a coincidence how many other tailor's work Frank is constantly adjusting and fixing for a lot of people. That's a lot of trust people have in his work whether he is making them things from scratch or not.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  14. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    ;)
     
  15. etkl

    etkl Senior member

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    Eustace, My post was directed at GC and anyone that has a basis to compare Ercole with other first-tier tailors. As to your reference to "shallow argument", I assume you were addressing NyRanger as I never characterized anyone's arguments in any fashion. I merely asked for explanations from those who shared GC's point of view. Your argument doesn't rankle me a bit because it is based on first-hand experience and sincere.

    And it is subjective and unrelated to cost to the extent it pertains to styling. I have made two coats, two suits and a jacket with Corvato and five suits with Nicolosi. Corvato's style is consistent and dependable-his clothing always reminds me of BB, where he worked for years. He probably represents that look as well as anyone around, but, in my opinion, his look is hardly stylish or distinctive, If anything, I think his look is kind of bland. Nicolosi is (was) completely different .He had the capacity to design some of the most stylish and distinctive bespoke men's suits I have seen. He is (was) also wildly inconsistent and capable of making style abominations and fundamental tailoring blunders. I have stuck with Ercole's, not because it is cheaper, but because in my view I can achieve the look I want with a constant, high level of quality. The fact that some, even those with a basis for comparison, don't like the look they have gotten, doesn't move the needle for me one iota.

    Your comment regarding the quality of the trim used by Ercole surprises me. He has always used horn buttons and Weldon and LBD trim and linings from Isles on my suits. Based on my dealings with Isles, I understand Ercole's to be one of its biggest accounts. It is true that Ercole buys from TipTOp, but so do Corvato, Nicolosi and, I suspect, most New York tailors.

    My point really is to challenge the impression created in various posts that because Ercole's prices are cheaper than those of its better known competitors, it is somehow technically incapable of delivering a suit that is at least as pleasing to many people as the clothing produced by those higher priced tailors. Frankly after the dissections by Jeffreyd and Despos, I would hope that most lay people on the forum would reserve some humility when advising newbies about bespoke clothing.
     
  16. quar

    quar Senior member

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    I personally really dig what he does for you.

    Any chance you could take some photographs of the handwork in your coats?

    The fineness of the stitching I've seen in other photographs has been slightly underwhelming.
     
  17. Maquis

    Maquis Senior member

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    I still like Ercole's, warts and all. I hear the concerns, and I share some of them (although my bespoke experience is fairly limited, with only four suits from Frank.) I'm a fairly difficult fit, and Frank is just now figuring out how best to fit me. The button point seems to always pulI for some reason (and I see this in others' posted fits as well), the chest gapes the tiniest bit, the roll isn't as luxurious and relaxed as I've seen in, say, Italian tailoring, and sometimes the sewing isn't as finessed as it could be (other times it is...) But he always tries a different approach and attempts to fix the problem in the next commission. I think he's probably redrawn and cut my pattern four times over by now...:satisfied:

    The thing that sets Frank & Ercole apart is that they excel at building relationships with their clients—something that doesn't seem to really exist anymore. I've sat in the chairs on a Saturday afternoon and chatted with Frank and other clients about fabrics and fit, been offered espresso in the shop, and gone out to lunch in the hood with Frank (and I know NYR and others have as well). I've met his wife and children, and the crew in the back. How often do you directly know where your money is going?

    Because of that, I'm probably more flexible on the fit issues than I normally would be (although I've had my points of frustration...) When it comes down to it, this isn't just a "service" relationship; I feel a little bit like Frank is a friend. Ultimately, I guess I just trust that it will all get sorted out in the end.
     
  18. Eustace Tilley

    Eustace Tilley Senior member

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    NYR,

    I took a look at your pic, and here is my initial take. I’d still like to throw out the caveat that I mentioned earlier, i.e. the ‘sum being greater than the parts.” I don’t mean that as a cop-out, but I genuinely believe that small incremental changes do substantially rework the look and feel of a garment.

    I like your suit, and I’d say my Ercole suit looks very similar (fwiw, I don’t think my style is any more conservative than yours.) I wear and enjoy it often, but there are differences. So, here goes:

    1. Shoulders: Have a less stylized pagoda look to them, and are either flat/natural, or with a strong rope. Both those styles allow for a shoulder that looks a bit more organic and less ‘fixed-in-place’. I realize this makes little sense, but that’s really how I think about it.
    2. Taper: This is a big one. The taper offered by the high-priced tailors is nicer and more elegant. Frank’s taper almost looks a bit formulaic to me (i.e. let’s take away 0.x inches every 2 inches we move down the coat). The chest-to-waist taper on my other coats seems to more naturally contour and caress the natural outline of the torso. As I mentioned, my suit closely mimics yours, and I don’t really like the pinched silhouette coupled with the somewhat wide skirt.
    3. Trousers: Overall leaner than the Ercole, without being Ambrosi tight. A tighter and higher rise, with a more prominent taper from top-to-bottom. Not a big deal – I think Frank cuts nice trousers as well.

    I realize that your coat is also pulling at the front, but I’m sure that Frank can fix that easily. I’ve found him to be a good fitter.

    Ultimately, the silhouette of the other coats look like finished, fluid sculptures, while with Ercole’s coats, I think you can still sometimes tell that the artist started the project from a solid, rectangular chunk of rock.

    I hope this better explains my thinking. I’m afraid I’m not nearly as eloquent as Manton or Foo in describing edits.

    ET
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  19. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    :confused:
     
  20. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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    This.

    I noticed that something looked off on NYR's suit with the bottom half, but couldn't articulate it . Well said.
     

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