Update #1 to the PG 2014 RTW Men’s Suit Review

Hugo JACOMET

Update #1 to the PG 2014 RTW Men’s Suit Review

Gentlemen,

It is our great pleasure to publish today the first update to the PG selection of RTW suits for 2014. We have included four new houses: one British (Ede & Ravenscroft) another Canadian (Samuelsohn) and the final two Italian (namely Loro Piana and Stefano Ricci). This raises the number of houses reviewed up to a total of 43 !

We are also happy to welcome to the review Mr. Jeffery Diduch, founder and editor of the excellent Made by Hand. The Great Sartorial Debate blog, one of the most erudite voice in the domain.

EDE & RAVENSCROFT

Quality RTW from a veteran London tailoring house

From 500 to 800 €

edeandravenscroft.com

By Greg Jacomet : 

Founded in 1689, Ede & Ravenscroft is one of  the oldest tailoring houses still open in London today. A respected institution from Savile Row, historically known for being one of the chief providers of legal gowns in the UK and more recently for its rent-a-gown service (for graduation day ceremonies.)

Ede & Ravenscroft has been offering for a while now a nice collection of quality RTW suits that ranks up there with the best in its price range. Yet despite a faithful and dedicated customer base, the house is all too often ignored in favor of bigger brands with a bigger communication budget.

The house’s style is very British without being excessively formal. The range of half-canvassed suits is well designed, though the models are fairly classic, without many risks taken. Some models (typically those above 500 – 600 £) come with a spare pair of trousers, which is always a plus.

Ede & Ravenscroft also has a very nice range of sports jackets, from the classic Navy Blazer to a charming choice tweed coat, all of which are very convincing. In this area, it seems that E & R has allowed itself to take a few risks, with some relatively unusual pieces such as linen jackets in beautiful autumn colors.

The fact that the house has survived for so long is not due to chance. The products offered in RTW have a very enjoyable spot of British flair that will satisfy those who appreciate the style. A very good alternative in this price range for an English cut, considering that most similar value-driven suits are of an Italian cut.

++ : Good value for money, very nice tweeds, british design of good taste

— : Some products might fit slightly larger than what some of you are accustomed to

SAMUELSOHN

A very under-appreciated house

From 750 to 1200 €

samuelsohn.com

By Jeffery Diduch :

Samuelsohn is perhaps unmatched in the value/price formula on the market. With workmanship on relative par with Canali but at a substantially lower price, it’s one of the most under-appreciated brands around.

Run by feuding twin septuagenarian brothers for far too long, the company was sold a few years ago to an investment firm that has been assembling a new management team, including Arnold Brant Silverstone, Darrell Henson (one of the best merchandisers in the business) and Caruso’s former quality man. They have rejuvenated the offering and increased the capacity if the factory to meet current market challenges, namely the high Canadian dollar. For many years an exchange rate of about $0.65 USD to the Canadian dollar meant that Canadian manufacturers had a huge advantage against their American competitors on the Us market but that advantage has been erased.

Still in their favor, though, is the fact that Protectionist policies still levy import duties of up to 17% on certain raw materials (cashmere for example) which Canadian manufacturers don’t pay- this is particularly stupid when one considers that there are no more mills producing woolens in the US so the duties protect nobody while penalizing American clothing manufacturers. Ahem.

Business considerations aside, Samuelsohn also produces the private label programs for Harry Rosen and Paul Stuart, considered by many to be among the best men’s stores on either side of the border. Now that they also own Hickey Freeman (sniff) I am eager to see how they position both brands.

LORO PIANA

From luxury fabrics to luxury RTW

From 2200 to 3500 €

loropiana.com

By Paul F :

When you think Loro Piana, you think luxury fabrics…cashmere of course, but also Vicuna (whose worldwide production is almost exclusive to Loro Piana) which translates into outrageous prices for outrageously nice fabric.

But Loro Piana also deals in retail, which is to some an interesting recent development, especially considering LP’s historical focus on strictly making cloth.

The luxury fabrics house entered the retail business because they recognized it to be a booming sector, which is something LVMH obviously noticed as well when they bought Loro Piana in 2013 for a ludicrous sum.

Loro Piana deals in exceptional all-around quality. I myself own a few cashmere pullovers, a baby cashmere parka, as well as a couple of jackets of considerable quality of construct, easily on par with what other top-of-the-line Italian houses craft.

The buttonholes are usually left undone, so as to allow for a greater freedom in adjusting the product to fit the customer. The canvassing is extremely light – one of my cashmere jackets is pure bliss to wear in winter with a turtleneck sweater from the same house.

It is however a bit of a challenge to find a signature Loro Piana style in the cuts, apart from the usual wide lapels, which can indeed be quite distinctive.

The colors used and their plentiful variations and shades are all astounding ; the Loro Piana catalogues are always a pleasure to skim through, as they feature many great pictures of tasteful color arrangement suggestions.

++ : Exceptional fabrics, beautifully made products, light and comfortable canvassing

— : Expensive

STEFANO RICCI

Exceptional fabrics, classic cuts at a very high price tag

From 3800 to 7000 €

stefanoricci.it

By Dirnelli :

Another stratospherically-priced italian RTW brand, alongside Kiton and Brioni.

Ricci’s cuts are very classic, more Roman-inspired like Brioni. And, like Brioni, Ricci choses extremely expensive fabrics, which aren’t actually the most visually pleasing oftentimes. Ricci suits feel very light to wear, more so than Brioni but less so than Kiton.

I guess you can see where this is headed — Ricci belongs in the same price and hadnmade category as Brioni, Kiton and Attolini, but it is just bit less well-known than the other three. Probably only a matter of time before they get the same attention.

++ : Beautifully made suits in luxurious materials

— : Some fabrics are a bit too gaudy, and the styling is very very classic.

— — —

See here for the fully updated list.

Stay tuned for further updates …

Cheers, HUGO