Here is the conclusion of my conversation with menswear icon Luciano Barbera. You can read the earlier parts here and here. StyleForum: Is it possible to for made-to-measure to produce as good a fit as a bespoke suit? Luciano Barbera: A bespoke suit should have at least three fittings. The first is for the tailor, to see if he has cut the suit well. The second is for the client, to suggest that he'd like a little more room here or there. Then there's the third fitting to correct any small defects. You have to be aware of the hours of work that go into making such a garment, and the long wait between ordering and receiving the finished product. Modern life, for 99% of the population, doesn't allow for this. There are few people who, having so many suits in their wardrobe that one more or fewer is a caprice, can afford to wait six months for a suit. Normally a man who is fortunate enough to have his own tailor will never buy a suit made by anyone else. Your tailor is the doctor of your soul. When you have found him, you never betray him by looking for another. I had the fortune of being dressed for all my life by one of the greatest tailors in Italy. Even with all the other jackets I've tried on in my life, I've never felt the satisfaction of putting on those jackets from my own tailor. The jacket is fitted to and stays with my body like no other jacket in the world but allows complete freedom of movement. But there are firms such as ours that try to provide a substitute, offering a made to measure service, which will still have the same quality of construction. For those who aren't familiar with the pleasure of a bespoke jacket, they look for the best the market has to offer, and we are here to provide it. SF: So you used the same tailor your entire life? LB: I met this great tailor when I was 24 years old. He was my tailor until he passed away - he was older than me. I have perhaps 100 jackets from this tailor. Some of these I can't wear anymore. When I first started going to see this gentlemen, following him step by step, seeing how he handled the fabrics and so on, I was much smaller in the waist than I am now. The suit that will be represented at the RISD museum is the first suit that this tailor ever made me, in the 60s. SF: And what was this tailor's name? LB: His name was Mario Pozzi. He rose to the highest level of tailoring. He had his own sartoria, and then Caraceni had an idea. Getting old himself, he transformed Mario Pozzi's sartoria into a collaboration between himself and Mario Pozzi. But he and I maintained a great friendship, and he was always my cutter. SF: Had you already entered into the world of clothes when you met him? LB: He was the one who taught me. I was, and am, principally a fabric engineer, fabrics for clothing. I was inspired, in my time spent in England, by men who wore colorful jackets - pleasing colors, with big checks. I returned to Italy and began to design similar fabrics. In the designs that I do for my own collection, you'll find a sense of Britishness. Mixes and colors that are more beautiful, but there's always a sense of color that derives from the countryside, from hunting clothes, and from equestrian clothes. In any case, I was designing my own fabrics, for my suits. When I met Ugo Mulas, the great fashion photographer of the 60s and 70s, he asked to photograph me. These photographs ended up taking a trip around the world in the first issue of Men's Vogue. Eventually Murray Pearlstein, a buyer from Louis Boston, one of the greatest clothing stores in the world, came and said, “You have talent and taste, and I would like you to design a men's collection.” I've always enjoyed learning about how to make clothes. And I set myself to it, having many shirts and pants and shoes made to see the various shapes and silhouettes. I've never been presumptuous. I've always been a great learner. I don't teach, I only continue to learn. In 1986, in honor of what my father did for me by sending me to England to learn about textiles, I created, in the town of Biella, a Master's program in textiles. The students earn a scholarship, and then get sent to Australia, and New Zealand, to understand where wool and cashmere comes from. Then they follow the entire production process from the fiber to the fabric. These students get a full immersion. Maybe they'll end up specializing in different parts of the trade, but they will have an understanding of each step in the process. This is very important. For instance, I design a fabric thinking about what it will end up being – a jacket, a pair of trousers, etc. - then if it doesn't turn out well, I have to figure out why. Was the wool not right? Was it not woven well? These students are able to answer these questions. Even if they don't specialize in weaving, they can understand where something went wrong. You have to understand every part of the production process before becoming a specialist. Luciano Barbera, photographed in 1970 by Ugo Mulas. Luciano Barbera, photographed in 1970 by Ugo Mulas. Another tasteful but exciting color combination from LB. Texture and color. A textile dream come true. The colors of autumn. Inspired in England, made in Italy. Details. More details.