A fortnight ago, in Sydney, I met with Patrick Chu and Ryan Ng of WW Chan Hong Kong to be measured for a new suit. I’ll write a full article on WW Chan in August, as I’ll be in Hong Kong next month and will take some photos of the HK atelier to accompany the article. For now, I’ll leave it by saying that of all the tailors of Hong Kong (most of them are shoddy) WW Chan is regarded as the very best and their product is typically seen as world class.
I’d be looking forward to having a WW Chan suit made for a few years, but it was an image (below) from @paulluxsartoria on Instagram which shifted WW Chan up my priority list considerably.
It’s a beautiful, masculine silhouette, fitted superbly and the slight roping on the shoulder is ideal for me aesthetically. So, for the detailed version of what we’re making and why, read on below. For the short version –> it’s basically that suit, in navy.
I love double breasted suits and that preference really took hold once I had my bespoke cashmere overcoat made a couple of years ago. They create such a masculine silhouette, particularly if you’re slim and they’re cut for a close fit.
The goal for this suit is for it to be a classic and conservative business suit. Regular readers will know that wherever I can, I prefer to choose cloth from Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC). They’re a family I greatly admire and I like knowing that the cloth in my suits has come from their mill in Biella. VBC’s Revenge range is a mid to light weight collection of super 150’s wool and it’s particularly good for having a variety of classic colours and patterns. We’ve gone with a dark navy cloth to fit in with the classic and conservative theme we’re aiming for. I did look at a similar cloth from Loro Piana, but it would have added around 40% to the cost of the suit. Admittedly it was a little nicer and would drape slightly better, but not 40% better.
I prefer three piece suits, so we’ll also be adding a waistcoat this time around. One thing Patrick had which was helpful was a visual overview of their waistcoat styles (image below), allowing me to pick my preferred style and then make any changes if need be.
I’ve gone with a simple and classic 5 button waistcoat (bottom left of the image above). I was keen to to have the top left waistcoat made (same as bottom left, with the addition of lapels) but the lapels would have ended up looking too busy under the DB jacket.
For the jacket, it will be near identical in style to Paul’s DB above, so there’s not really a lot of explanation required, other than to say it will have a ticket pocket above one of the waist pockets, milanese button holes on the lapels, black polished horn buttons and navy bemberg lining. They did have a range of very “out there” linings as most tailors carry these days, but it’s just not me. I don’t like anything which shouts or stands out (something to do with having English parents, I suppose), so a bemberg lining which almost matches the wool will be used.
In terms of fit, it’ll be cut close to the body and slim through the sleeves. I’m the heaviest I’ve been in a few years, having had a few months off my bike, but I’m back to losing weight pretty quickly again, so I’ve asked Patrick to cut the suit as if I was a few kilo’s lighter and at the time of writing I’m on track to be there by the time I get to Hong Kong.
The trousers will be cuffed at 1 & 3/4 inches and tapered to be fairly slim by the ankle (similar to my Ambrosi’s which I’m wearing) and Patrick will cut the pockets on a slight angle, for ease of access. If you’ve ever had trousers which have straight cut pockets, you’ll appreciate having them at an angle. It’s surprisingly luxurious.
They’ll sit high on my waist (important when they’ll be worn with a waistcoat as you don’t want any shirt to be visible between the two) and made with a slightly wider than usual 1&3/4 inch waistband. We’re going to go with a zip fly and while I still love the Neapolitan romance of the button fly on my Ambrosi’s, the practicality of doing up or undoing 8 buttons everytime I need to use the bathroom has gotten the better of me.
Patrick uses a fit jacket, similar to the one used by Camps de Luca for new customers. The grid pattern (hard to see in these photos) helps in determining how the jacket is balanced (are all sides parallel? Does the jacket hang and open evenly? etc? For every good tailor I’ve worked with, balance is always their top priority.
To achieve the roping of the shoulders, two thin layers of padding will be used and you can see the difference between the use of padding vs no padding in the 2 images below.
The suit is scheduled for a first fitting in Hong Kong just over a month from now (late July) and whilst I’d love to have a second fitting a couple of days later, before I leave, it doesn’t look like it will be possible. Unless they can do it without rushing, it’s best to wait as every time I’ve worked with a tailor overseas and we’ve rushed things, it’s caused problems with the finished product. They’ll be back in Australia in December, so if a second fitting isn’t possible in July at least it will still be done by the end of the year.
The cost of the suit at current exchange rates is just under $4,000AUD. If I’d opted for a 2 piece suit, it would be closer to $3,000. If the finished suit is within throwing distance of other high end tailors, then it’s amazing value for money.