While purists have always hailed the classic suit as the seasonless attire, risk-takers have often hinted at the suit's death.
Cut to the January edition of Pitti Uomo, a bi-annual menswear trade show hosted in Florence. While a section of attendees stayed true to their made-to-measure double-breasted suits crafted in heritage fabrics, there were rule-breakers who opted for anti-fit silhouettes, unexpected sporty layerings and broken tailoring.
Lounge spoke to some menswear designers to share their take on the relevance of bespoke and its new iterations seen at the trade show.
Designer Raghavendra Rathore observes that the world of menswear is heading for a fracture in ideology. He says: "On one side, it will be the coterie that understands and imbibes the values of a classic culture, and on the other, a more sustainable and post-covid lobby that will push the factor of ease through cut, style and fit across products in one’s wardrobe. Fast fashion brands make more profits in non-structured clothing. They have, therefore, speeded up the process of emulating brands like Zegna, to offer non-fitted ready-to-wear formal looks. Reducing tailoring and eliminating large costs has been a strong trend season after season. The question is if the consumer will agree?"
Talking about the Pitti street-style, where exhibitors, buyers and editors show up impeccably dressed in chicest tweeds, herringbone and houndstooth tailoring, Rathore adds, "Pitti Uomo has a cult-like status now; a water hole for the seasoned and the newly converted fashion enthusiast. It's a perfect place to see the two extremes, the classic and the super modernest, meet and create trends."
Suit will never be dead
Designer Jatin Malik believes the traditional tailored suit will always be relevant. "With the world being shut for two years in a row, owing to covid, despite the remarkable shift toward streetwear and unstructured silhouettes, this year we finally witnessed the return to tailored fits, like the three-piece or double-breasted suit. I have seen firsthand, not just in India but around the world, how people are beginning to choose comfort over fashion on numerous occasions. However, one always chooses the classics for special events, regardless of how completely astray with current fashion they may be," says Malik.
"We are living in the most incredible times. Saying that something will remain precisely as it is forever could sound a little naive, given how quickly everything around us is changing. In the coming years, we can expect to see more development in this area; while the designs may become more sophisticated, the three-piece morphologies may vary, and we may even give it a new name, but a traditional bespoke tailored suit will stay timeless, the way it is," he adds.
Let's talk anti-fit
Nitish Arora, the founder and creative director of label Alter-X, observes that not many things in life are as timeless as a bespoke suit. "Be it single or double breasted, the classic silhouette, in fine craftsmanship will stand the test of time. A good quality fabric and fine savoir will give you a suit that will last a lifetime (if it’s properly looked after). Trends may come and go, but the classic suit will never be out of style and will always remain a fail-safe option to make you feel empowered and in control," says Arora.
He adds that the term “bespoke” has evolved over the years. "Now it's more of an experience, a luxury provided to the customer tailored to his/ her needs. Now luxury can be anti-fit or structured, according to the customer’s needs. Bespoke anti-fit… I never thought I'll use these two words together, but they make more sense to me than ever. I think it all comes down to a balance of tailoring and craftsmanship, which is the basis of a bespoke experience," he says.