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Best quality

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by ClassyFreddy, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    Thanks to everyone about the very informative and stimulating conversation about Isaia.

    My two cents on the list: Everyone is undervaluing Belvest. I would put Belvest somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd tier, as an equal with Luciano Barbera and a slight notch below Brioni or Zegna Napoli. In the old days, Belvest was the top of the line Italian suit offering from Neiman Marcus.
     
  2. HRHAndrew

    HRHAndrew Senior member

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    Isn't that where I listed Belvest? As I originally wrote to Freddy, it is of course subjective.  You don't see Belvest around much anymore.  Did anything happen to them?  

    I was pretty sure that 1881's were canvas, and well constructed.  They are definately a more "buttoned down" suit.  I am not sure where they get there fabric, but the 150's and cashmere blends are very nice.  Slap me, but I think $1200 for a nice 150 is a fair price for a hand worked canvas suit.

    Let's hope so, but in all fairness he did start what turned into a lively discussion.

    Does anyone have specific information on the Barbera fused line?  It would be nice to know what to be on the look out for.

    -Andy
     
  3. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    My two cents on the list: Everyone is undervaluing Belvest. Â I would put Belvest somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd tier, as an equal with Luciano Barbera and a slight notch below Brioni or Zegna Napoli. Â In the old days, Belvest was the top of the line Italian suit offering from Neiman Marcus.
    Â Isn't that where I listed Belvest? As I originally wrote to Freddy, it is of course subjective. Â You don't see Belvest around much anymore. Â Did anything happen to them? Â [
    Bergdorf still carries them. I've always admired their fabric hand (from Biella, I think), and simple yet elegant cut.
     
  4. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Yes, Gian Luca is a diffusion line of Isaia, and they are available in the U.S. I've seen them at Stonestreets in Cambridge MA, and the quality is good, if not exemplary. The MSRP is $900-$1000 - not a great value, but not a ripoff either.

    I personally don't understand the aversion of many of you to these diffusion lines. Not everyone can appreciate a Kiton, and few can actually afford one. Nevertheless, there are those who would like a stylish and well-made, albeit not entirely handmade, suit, and would like to spend less than $3000+ on it. And keep in mind that the average US household takes in ~$45K before taxes, so $1000 is beyond the reach of most people.
     
  5. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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    I'm sorry, but an Isaia with a fused front, is not an Isaia anymore. A Steinway that is machine-made is no longer a Steinway. It's the principle of the thing.
     
  6. HRHAndrew

    HRHAndrew Senior member

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    That is a valid point, and I think that all of us can understand the economics behind the business decision.  There is a point, when one has to suggest that enough is enough.  Isaia was considered by a great many of us to be one of the very top makers of supurb clothing.  Now it produces clothing that is both supurb and fine(I am assuing that the fused line is indeed a fine suit).  I work in automotive, and I know that once I company starts producing different levels of of quality the only way that things go is a total decline in quality.  Corners are cut and "business decisions" are made.  It can be a slippery slope.  

    -Andy
     
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    No, it's a Gian Luca  [​IMG]
     
  8. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Well, what about the C-class? A good car made for a younger (read less monied) consumer. Everyone understands that it is the entry level model, but that it neverthess is a quality car made with the same philosophy as the larger, more luxury-laden, more expensive models.
     
  9. hermes

    hermes Senior member

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    well to add to the debate, i pulled the following from the american express departures magazine on isaia (it is from november 1998 though):

    After the imperial theater of Kiton, Isaia's workshop in nearby Casalnuovo is an altogether more familiar world; it's rather like visiting the early days of the industrial revolution, which Naples, under the empire, never really had. Though, like Kiton, Isaia was founded after World War II"”by a trader in fabrics who organized local tailors"”the company took a rather different direction. "My grandfather started to mix tail- oring and technology," says Gianluca Isaia, "combining handstitching with simple machine-stitching. Flexibility of this kind"”the ability to do everything"”was at the time very unusual," and it has since paid considerable dividends: Today Isaia makes clothes for Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart, and Valentino Boutique (just as Borrelli does shirts for Valentino Boutique). Isaia also produces three separate lines of its own menswear, each with different degrees of hand-tailoring. The small Enrico Isaia line is almost entirely handmade, while the Isaia and Gianluca Isaia lines are machine-made but hand-finished. With Gianluca's collection aimed at the younger, more fashion-conscious buyer, the company covers the sartorial waterfront.

    But even though they are top-quality, few of the fabrics used in these lines are exclusive. Gianluca, a dark, intense young man with a degree in economics from Bocconi University in Milan, believes this is unimportant. What is important for him, it's clear as he takes me round the cheerfully humming work floor, is "the look," and finding ways to deliver that look at a reduced cost without losing quality"”out-sourcing presoaked light canvas rather than processing it himself, for example, or using old sewing machines that operate slowly enough to act as extensions of the human hand. In this, it seems to me, he's no less a proselytizer for the Naples style than Ciro Paone. But his instinct is that the most powerful tools are marketing and consumer education.

    "We're doing better and better in the United States," he says, "precisely because Americans are getting to know more and more about craftsmanship, style, and quality." Certainly it is with Gianluca's help"”he has me try on a plethora of Isaia jackets"”that I understand some of the subtler effects (rules, almost) of sartoria. The chest of the giacca is rounded, the waist fitted, and the lapel-collar joined almost on the collarbone, which makes the torso look longer. But this combination of design elements also draws the eye to the upper part of the body, where it's seized by the large tie-knot made possible by the fact that the shirt typically has a spread collar. The entire ensemble, in other words, is perfectly adapted to a society that's characteristically involved in close face-to-face encounters"”which could be a description of the whole world of modern business: Clearly all old Naples (and Isaia) had to do to succeed internationally was to wait for the new corporate culture to be born.
     
  10. HRHAndrew

    HRHAndrew Senior member

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    I have to be very careful here because of confidentiality agreements.  Your point on the C-class is exactly the type of issue I was talking about when I used the phrase slippery slope.  When Daimler and Chrysler merged, in the vast majority of cases when parts and components that were found to be similar on multiple products, they were  standardized using industry lingo platform sharing.  I can assure that is all cases that if a part was used on both a Benz, and a Dodge that now the Benz uses that Dodge part.  It is why so many engineers at DCX have left.  So my point is with the introduction of a lower level product companies change their philosophy.  Folk at Mercedes will deny it, but the quality of the parts in their cars has dramitically declined since the merger.  

    What has me concerned it what if Isaia uses a lower quality thread on Gian Luca, and decides to use it on Isaia because it is cheaper will increase profits and no one will notice.  Truly a slippery slope.
     
  11. hermes

    hermes Senior member

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    i think the crossfire, a mercedes built chrysler with more mercedes parts than chrysler ones, will be the true test for dcx
     
  12. Pink22m

    Pink22m Senior member

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    Hermes: Thanks also for the abundance of information that your post gave us. Sorry I have not emailed you in a while, I have been meaning to and I will[​IMG] To Naturlaut: I have that information from a small information guide (4-5 pages) that I recieved while attending a meeting. I am a seasonal Nordstroms employee (I work there on my Christmas and summer breaks) and one of the newer brands that Nordstroms carries was being shown at the meeting. The store I work at does carry the Gian Luca line, and they are nice. I think if I had known about them, I might have chosen them over my Emporio Armani, as their is probably more canvas work in them then my Emporio. Both suits are around the same price point. Anyways, I do enjoy reading about the histories of clothing manufacturers. There was a good article I read fairly recently about Ciro Paone (Kiton) but I am trying to remember where I found it...
     
  13. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    A fascinating discussion [​IMG] A lot if things come to mind but I can't do a long post tonight. A couple of important comments though - I have recently seen a few pieces from the Isaia diffusion line. They definitely have a fused front and they are indeed from Isaia. The suit posted earlier: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws....ry=3001 is from the diffusion line. Please do not confuse this new line (Gianluca Napoli) with the Gianluca Isaia suits of which this is an example: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws....ry=3001 Also, all the Cerruti 1881 jackets I've seen have been fused but that does not mean that they didn't do some canvased models. It is quite common for there to be tiers of quality within a label. More to come...
     
  14. NYCDan

    NYCDan Well-Known Member

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    Hello, I have been lurking as guest for a while but wanted to get into this discussion.
    I just wanted to assure all of you that I will not be like "classyfreddy" and respect this board. Â Plus, I thought it was pretty bold of HRHAndrew to make a list knowing that it will be picked apart. Â It was a pretty good list.
    I am assuming a couple typos; in the top level "Sartoria(attolini)" probably means (Sartorio), and for "Pal Zileri(sartorial)", he is probably indicating the www.sartoriale.it line. Making those assumptions, here are my comments: I think I agree with the top three as being a cut above the rest, and can understand why HRH wanted to separate them. Although I think that the difference between "Super Top Level" and "Top Level" is not as great as it is between the other levels. The Second Level is where I think you will get most of us disagreeing. Â I have never been able to get a firm grasp on who makes Baldessarini. Some of, but sadly not all of their work is truly first-rate - that is a hard one to rank. Â I think Canali Exclusive is a very solid choice as is Purple Label(St. A's) and Belvest.
    Glad to see someone else agrees with me on Belvest. A lot of discussion on 1881, here is what I have heard but am unable to confirm. I do not want to claim this to be gospel, but my source is often very reliable. Â He told me about RLPL moving to St. A's long before I heard it anywhere else. Â If anyone knows the truth, please let us know. Â 1881 has three levels, and you can tell by the labels inside. Top level 1881, is made by Brioni with Cerruti providing the fabric to use. Â I thought it was a very strange arrangement, but he swears it to be true and I have to reason to not accept it. Â Maybe HRH came into contact with Brioni made 1881's. I think HRH has Corneliani one level to high. I believe it is on par with Armani Coll., Zegna. Â I think Pal Zileri is a bit high as well. As it has been confirmed multiple times, I am also saddened by the Isaia development.
    I have never heard that one before. Any confirmation?
    Amen brother. HRHAndrew thanks for the list it proved to be very interesting. Â It was brave of you to put all your opinions out there knowing there is probably not a member of this forum who would agree with you top to bottom. Â Freddy's response was stupid. Your fast response of
    Shows you are the "classy one" I am now going back to lurking mode. Â Maybe I will pop out again when a thread has 50 plus responses. Rgs, Dan
     
  15. HRHAndrew

    HRHAndrew Senior member

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    You are correct on both counts. Boy you guys are picky. Â [​IMG]
    I have never heard that one before. I didn't know Brioni made anything private labeled.
    Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. -Andy
     
  16. ClassyFreddy

    ClassyFreddy New Member

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  17. Nick M

    Nick M Senior member

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    Well, I guess now it's time to look back on our fond memories of our good friend ClassyFreddy. Why, I was there when he made his first post ever... (cue piano, slow-motion montage)
    So curious about the world... Oh. But a feisty one, yes sir.
    And yet, they must all leave the roost sometime, and make their own way in the world...
    And now he's dead, presumably, clawed to pieces by the unwashed, gimmick-posting savages of the GQ forum. Or the CQ forum, I can't tell them apart either... Friend, we hardly knew ye... [​IMG]
     
  18. HRHAndrew

    HRHAndrew Senior member

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    Nick, that was great. Definately put a smile on my face.
     
  19. NYCDan

    NYCDan Well-Known Member

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    FYI- My friend confirmed that he is "98%" positive that top line Cerruti 1881's are manufactured at Brioni. To confirm, I contacted Brioni and was told that it was confidential information.
     
  20. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm going to simplify this a bit and divide the suits into the following rough categories: Suits that are made with a canvas front, basted lapels, handpicked lapel edges, and handsewn buttonholes - Oxxford, Sartoria Attolini, Kiton, Brioni, Isaia (Enrico and most Gianluca,) Ralph Lauren Purple Label (both the current suits made by Saintandrews and the older suits made by Chester Barrie,) Luciano Barbera Collezioni Sartoriale, Sartorio by Attolini, Zegna Napoli Couture, and a (very) few Armani Classico suits. Other examples include Borrelli, D'Avenza, Cheshire Clothing (Chester Barrie,) Caruso (some,) and even some Hickey Freeman suits. Â Suits that are made with a canvased front, basted lapels, and handpicked lapel edges but without handsewn buttonholes - Belvest, the Pal Zileri www.sartoriale.it line, Canali Exclusive, Boss Baldessarini (I've been informed that the Baldessarini suits are made by Caruso,) Zegna (regular and Napoli lines - not the "Soft" suits,) Canali, Corneliani. Other examples include Cantarelli, Ravazzolo and Nervesa. Canvased front but no other significant detailing - Pal Zileri. Armani Classico and Black Label (made by Vestimenta.) Other examples include Vestimenta's own line and Samuelsohn. I'll add another category as well - suits with a canvased front and handsewn buttonholes but without handpicked lapels. Examples include most Hickey Freeman suits and most suits made by Martin Greenman (the Marcus Neiman Marcus line and the old Donna Karan Couture suits are examples of Greenman's work.) Fused front - Hugo Boss, Armani Collezioni, Emporio and Mani, Zegna Soft. These are rough categories. There are large differences in quality between a Sartoria Attolini and a Sartorio, a Belvest and a Corneliani to use a few as examples. Â Â Â Â Â
    This is very true. The differences between a top end and a low end fused suit have less to do with construction techniques and more to do with fabric and cut. These differences can be quite dramatic.
    I've never seena canvased front Armani Collezioni suit and I don't expect to. Canali Proposta suits are canvased but they often don't have handpicked lapels.
    Sellers that misrepresent merchandise like this are ruining my business. I wish I had time to pursue them and get them kicked off ebay.
     

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