Firstly, apologies for the delay in writing this article. I’ve had several comments and emails asking me when this article for the Camps de Luca fitting would be posted, but the birth of my first born (and potential future owner of this jacket) has slowed everything down lately. First article on the jacket is here and the profile on Camps de Luca (Julien, Charles and Marc) is here.
I managed to get in to see Julien briefly while we were in Paris at the tail-end of summer for a trial fitting in waste cloth. It was supposed to be a fitting in the grey herringbone cloth I chose last time, but I changed my mind between visits, so we needed to pick a new cloth at the fitting.
Why the change:
I wear navy and grey a lot and I did like the less refined texture of the herringbone, but as time passes I wear more and more earthy colours (creme’s, browns) and a lot more denim, so the grey herringbone as a separate jacket would have been less versatile than other options. When I do wear navy and grey, it’s almost always as either a grey suit with navy tie, or as grey trousers with a navy jacket.
What I’d ideally wanted, was a creme and brown glen or Prince of Wales check, which would work with a range of the pants I typically wear, which are increasingly blue denim or creme denim, white chino’s (which go with everything, anyway) as well as light weight wool separates in creme’s and brown’s. I decided Julien had nothing better to do with his Saturday morning after they’d already closed for summer holidays so I went through every cloth book within reach (a lot) and initially struggled to find something which was ideal. Most of the cloths which were the right pattern and colour were the wrong weight or material (linen or cashmere and, if cashmere, often too heavy). I wanted to stick to a light-weight wool, if possible, due to its crease resistance and suitability for warm weather. Admittedly, linen would have been the best option here, but I didn’t want another linen jacket right now.
Julien ended up finding a great option from Harrison’s “Mystique” book, in a 8/9 ounce wool. Cloth’s like this never photograph very accurately, due to the complex pattern and multiple colours, and that’s before factoring in the colour settings of the screen you’re reading this on. The primary background colour is a sandy/camel colour, with brown checks (which come up almost black on my monitor) and a mid-blue window-pane check. It will work with almost everything I wear as the blue will pop when worn with blue denim or a blue shirt and will fade into the background when worn with creme’s, white’s and brown’s.
The point for this fitting is primarily to check balance and overall fit. Balance isn’t something which you’ll hear talked about outside of an atelier, but it’s the most important thing which good tailors look to get right. Because we’re using waste cloth here, it’s not as critical to have every detail right in this instance. As long as the balance is right or required changes to balance can be identified, that information will be transferred to the paper pattern when the actual jacket is cut.
The first thing you’ll notice is the length of the jacket (a bit short). The length will be extended by at least 1cm to 2cm and correcting the balance will help in achieving this anyway. The balance will also be adjusted in the chest, so the jacket balances evenly at the buttoning point (which is perfect) and one half of the chest isn’t wider than the other. The sleeves will come up by around half a centimetre and the armhole will be released slightly, to give a little more room under the arms. Julien will take the waist in a little to give some more shape through the body and, thankfully, I haven’t put on any weight so there’s still some room to play with there.
Now that I’ve changed the cloth to a check, that needs to be factored into the pattern, particularly in the sleeves. With the herringbone in the previous cloth, there’s no pattern to match, but now that there’s a check (a complex one), the pattern needs to be matched at the shoulders, so that the pattern in the sleeves and body are in alignment. The reputation for French tailors attention to detail and fastidiousness in regards to pattern matching and presentation is well known and Camps de Luca are widely regarded as the most careful of all when it comes to getting these small things right. The sleeves will then be rotated slightly so that the pattern is parallel to the body cloth, whilst also ensuring it matches at the shoulder. It’s much more complex than it sounds.
The lining will be in a camel-ish shade of bemberg and it matches the background colour of the cloth very well (although it absolutely doesn’t look like that in the photo above).
Once the second fitting is done (which will be the first fitting in the final cloth) you’ll be able to get a much better idea of the fit. The final cloth will hang much more cleanly, too. I’m confident it will be excellent as it’s already very good in the most important areas.
One of the benefits of working with Julien, Charles and Marc at Camps is the confidence which comes from working with a tailoring house which has such a weight of quality behind it, earned over generations, so there’s every reason to think the the finished product should be something special.
At this point I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get back to Paris, but I’ll make it a goal to get there during the year and, hopefully, get the jacket to a final fitting before I leave.