Three Top Tailors

Michael Turek

Three men take the traditional art of bespoke for a thoroughly modern spin.

The great Savile Row ateliers can produce archives of suit sketches and sartorial idiosyncracies dating back centuries. Each has a signature house style: Anderson & Sheppard’s soft shoulder and unstructured jacket, Huntsman’s single-breasted sports coat with its high armhole and slightly longer front. Their tailors endure rigorous training before they get their hands anywhere near a suit. The serious nature of the whole enterprise, however, has not stopped some from charting their own path. Whether working out of chic sheepskin-rug showrooms in downtown Manhattan or celebrity-packed hotel rooms in L.A. or blogging about sartorial issues from London, these rogue suitmakers are the face—and perhaps the future—of the new bespoke.

New York: Kirk Miller

Miller, 32, previously worked at Thom Browne and Paul Stuart and was a partner with his brother, Derrick, at Barker Black, the cult men’s shoe boutique in New York’s NoLIta neighborhood. He opened his own by-appointment haberdashery this summer on an unexpected stretch of far west SoHo.

Signature: The jacket silhouette—a trim one-button with a medium-width lapel and a natural “half-rope” shoulder—features high armholes, slanted pockets (including a ticket pocket) and, against convention, a cut that’s slightly shorter in front, like a traditional morning coat, which actually gives it a more modern look. His slim flat-front pants have British side tabs rather than belt loops and a “hidden” rear pocket covered by a flap. His shirts have a distinctive rounded spread collar, a signature—dandyish—touch. While Miller’s fabrics come primarily from British mills, “everything is handmade in the U.S., most of it fairly locally.”

Note of Rebellion: For formalwear, Miller pairs a black velvet jacket with off-white pants that have a special silk stripe woven with stars-and-bars military symbols. In addition to suits, tuxedos, jackets, pants, shirts and coats, he makes ties and pocket squares and is considering eventually adding a full complement of accessories. Yes, even shoes.

By appointment only; allow six to eight weeks. At 510 Greenwich St. 212-219-9965; Suits, from $2,900; shirts, $300.

Los Angeles: David Heil

Anyone who appreciated the sharp lines of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man wardrobe can thank David Heil: The L.A. clothier made every outfit and now does the clothes for all his public appearances. Heil sees clients in his Costa Mesa, California, showroom but also travels by appointment throughout the country.

Signature: The classic, soft-shouldered silhouette is actually not what truly sets Heil apart. He has devised what he calls the custom wardrobing plan: a detailed binder for each client that lists every piece of his wardrobe, what home it’s kept in and on what occasions it can be worn.

Note of Rebellion: Though he creates and coordinates the custom wardrobes of Downey, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Heil also makes clothes for Mickey Rourke. Need we say more?

By appointment only; allow four to six weeks. At 3140 Airway Ave. 714-545-7848; Suits, from $2,500; shirts, $295.


London: Matthew Farnes

Matthew Farnes came to light this summer when former employer Ede & Ravenscroft, the tailor to the Crown since 1689, sued him for trying to lure clients away when he left. Farnes has been making the most of his notoriety: He took his first trip to see customers in New York this fall (he’ll be back early next year and also schedules regular appointments in London). He shares his love of all things bespoke in the blog

Signature: A sharp Savile Row silhouette—single-button with the front skirts cut away—is combined with the relaxed elegance of the Neapolitan style. Farnes’s influences are Terry Haste at Huntsman and Naples’s Mariano Rubinacci.

Note of Rebellion: Farnes keeps his jackets unlined and puts his mark on them with contrasting piping along the seams. The pockets are boldly lined, too.

By appointment only; allow eight to ten weeks. 44-7930/287-261 Suits, from $3,085; shirts, $277.

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