Dunhill Bespoke – Strong Suit


by Gay Hsiu Ping

The term ‘bespoke’ is increasingly bandied around, especially amongst those who don’t really understand what it stands for. Overused and misinterpreted, it has fallen victim to flatulent marketing by getting tagged in front of everything, in the process being confusing rather than clarifying. The real term ‘bespoke’ is at home in the elegant section of British English, as opposed to the more mundane word ‘custom’ of American English. Those in the know will understand the difference.

So does 122-year-old Dunhill, a house that can lay a safe claim to being ‘bespoke’. It states: “The truly bespoke suit is at the heart of Dunhill’s heritage and future vision, and is built through a deep collaboration between client and master-tailor, with every detail and decision made to ensure a product of unparalleled quality and fit.”

So, an education at Dunhill’s cutting table is opportune. The storied British label offers both custom and bespoke tailoring. Custom tailoring, or ‘made-to-measure’, offers clients with a choice of fabric, lining, style and other details that can be varied to suit every preference. The suit, however, follows a pre-existing pattern that the client chooses and tweaks at every necessary crease and seam to produce a well-fitted suit.

Bespoke tailoring begins at tabula rasa, where the in-house tailor creates your sartorial elegance from scratch. First up is a meeting with the master tailor. He or she will act as your sartorial Virgil, guiding your every step, lest you descend from a state of endless possibilities to a hell of indecision and bad choices. Based on the first consultation, he will then create a unique paper pattern that is exclusively designed to fit every curve and contour of your body, followed by multiple fittings to secure every button and smooth every lapel.

He will further advise you according to your needs and wants every step of the way whilst ensuring that the design influence is rooted in Dunhill’s brand DNA. One anecdote in the files goes that the master tailor had to politely dissuade a client from embroidering his name on the breast pocket of a blazer because it was simply bad taste.

Positioning itself as the gold standard of tailoring, bespoke services are done exclusively in Dunhill’s Home stores in London, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. To cater to the jet-set gentleman with little time to spare, Dunhill will fly the master tailor to you.

As literature’s most dapper dandy Oscar Wilde once quipped: “Looking good and dressing well is a necessity. Having a purpose in life is not.” His message, albeit hyperbolic, reminds us that the value of a well-made hand stitched suit is not its price but about good manners.

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