Thursday, March 18, 2010

Montreal tailors: La grande mesure et demi grande quebeçois

When I was in Montreal recently, I visited a couple of tailors in the Plateau area: G. Tonino and Gerard Mayeu.

My first visit was with Tonino and they have been in the same location for 40 years. Signore Tonino has three working tailors in the backroom (plus himself) where the suits are made. He learned the trade from his uncle and is originally from Campobasso, south of Rome.

Judging from what I saw, he cuts essentially a Roman shoulder along the natural shoulder line but can make a softer shoulder and will remove padding according to the customer's frame. We were talking about current jacket styles in Montreal and it seems the vast majority of his customers order single breasted although he noted that a customer recently ordered a double breasted jacket - the first in a long time apparently.

Although most of his customers are from Montreal, he has customers in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada, as well as New York. Most are professionals (lawyers, accountants, etc) and some customers are multigenerational (i.e. fathers and sons). The shop carries mostly Italian mills (Vitale Barberis Canonico, Zegna).

It was a pleasure speaking with Signore Tonino about when he started and how he got involved in the trade. As a consumer, I was interested to hear that when he first started four decades ago custom suits were just $59.

I then dropped by Gerard Mayeu, a short hop away by metro or taxi, for a very quick visit.

Mayeu has also been in the same location since 1946 and now owned by the son of the founder. At the high end, custom suits range from $500 to $700 and are made on the premises on the second floor of the building. I didn't get a chance to closely inspect a suit but I suspect generous use of sewing machines is required (and perfectly reasonable) at this price. They have three tailors plus a dedicated shirtmaker. Quite a bit of Mayeu's trade seems to come from media and entertainment (films and shows).

Visiting either one of these tailors is easy. You can take a taxi from downtown or stay at a hotel near a stop on the Orange Line metro. Both Tonino and Mayeu are very close to metro stops (Beaubien and Mont Royal respectively).

Additional links
- Styleforum thread on Toronto tailors
- Styleforum thread on Montreal tailors


Fatto a Mano said...

Next time you're in town, you should drop in on Russell at Russell's tailors; he does bespoke suits and shirts on his premises, is celebrating 60 years in business this year, and loves to talk about the things he has seen over the years in the trade.

sleevehead said...

Excellent, thanks for the insider tip. I will look them up next time I visit Montreal. Below is the address in case others are curious.

Russell's Custom Shirt Makers & Tailors‎
2175 Rue de la Montagne
Montreal, QC H3G 1Z8, Canada
(514) 844-8874

Jack S. said...

It was interesting to read your blog. I'd like to mention the name of the beautiful tailor shop I have been going to for several years now, it's called Arthur's Bespoke SHirt Makers and Tailors. It is located on Crescent Streeet in downtown Montreal and they also have a very nice website ( These guys, they're father and 2 sons, are truly passionate about what they do and they will take the time to explain in detail about the high level of craftsmanship they do. They really try to educate you and they are so honest and humble...something you don't see in every menswear store or tailor shop! They're certainly not the cheapest tailors in town but if you're looking for something of the finest quality in town, you can't go wrong! I think they also visit alot of cities like Calgary, Toronto, NYC and Miami.

sleevehead said...

Jack, thanks for mentioning your experience with Arthur. I'm sure our Canadian and US readers will appreciate the description. Will see if I can stop by the next time I'm in town.