Monday, October 11, 2010

Kilgour update: Luxe Savile Row and rethinking cottons

As you may have heard, the classic Savile Row tailoring house Kilgour was recently acquired by new owners and new management often brings changes. One of them is a deliberate effort to go even more upscale in their bespoke and RTW offering. This has meant a couple of things. One is that Kilgour's off-the-rack or RTW clothing is priced at a premium - a RTW suit starts at 2,500 GBP which is already in bespoke pricing territory.

The other is that Kilgour's popular entry-level bespoke offering has been discontinued. This is a pity since it apparently did quite well in the American market given the superb value for money it represented. A few years ago an entry-level two-piece suit in a top-notch English fabric could be had for 1,600 GBP. If you ordered entry-level suits before their discontinuation as I have, consider yourself lucky since entry level pricing is not coming back anytime soon. There are now 4 price points based on the type of fabric with prices starting at about 6,000 USD.

I scheduled an appointment this week in New York City with the visiting cutters of Kilgour and chatted with Will, who was a cutter under the previous owners as well. I was there for some simple waist adjustments on some trousers.

While I was there, Will showed me some brilliant new cotton suitings and jacketings by an Italian mill called Michele Solbiati, which specializes in linen production (claiming to be the first to produce linen crepe) and cottons, mostly for large luxury houses until very recently. This is the first time I've run into this mill. The Solbiati 200g cottons are distinctive because they are finished so that they look and feel more like a wool fabric. In particular, the Solbiati cotton has a more heathered look than traditional cotton (e.g. I saw a cotton sample that looked like a Donegal tweed). My impression is that they also seem to hold up a touch better against wrinkling than typical cotton suitings.

At the highest end of the pricing spectrum were the two books of Lumbs Golden Bale by Lesser. If you can afford it, I think every fellow should have at least one suit in this special worsted fabric.

For those who are interested, you can schedule a time to chat with Will and his colleague Paul who are in NYC through October 12, then in Chicago (13-14) and Los Angeles (15-16). Their USA mobile number 646 785 0592.

Additional links
- Sleevehead entries on Kilgour

2 comments:

AidenT said...

You might want to check out Whitcomb & Shaftesbury. John McCabe the former main cutter at Kilgour is now working with them and they offer a similar product to the entry level which is very high quality and even better value for money than the kilgour product. They also offer a full savile row garment

sleevehead said...

Fantastic, thanks for the tip. I will squeeze in a visit to W&S on my next visit to London...or maybe just visit them in NYC this week.