Lots of designers and stores like to throw the word "bespoke" around. You see relatively inexpensive suit being described as having "bespoke" details like hand pick stitching on the lapels when the hand stitching that really matters should be the invisible kind on the inside. Then there are the working buttonholes on the sleeve cuffs that we now see at Zara or Banana Republic causing all sorts of trouble and expense if those sleeves need shortening. Sometimes it takes a visit to a genuine custom tailor to be reminded that those superficial details have little to do with real bespoke clothing. Last week, The Shophound stopped by renowned Hong Kong tailor Ascot Chang's New York outpost on Central Park South to check out what they offering for next Fall, and found all sorts of specialness that you won't find on any chain store rack.
Styled by veteran menswear consultant Michael Macko, the collection offered a "city" side featuring classic suitings in a modernized 4-button double breasted (at left) or one button, peak lapeled silhouettes (below) paired with exclusive shirtings developed from Thomas Mason's celebrated archive of vintage materials. On the "country" side we found special pieces like a tartan and velvet dinner jacket (above right) and lofty woolens and tweeds that proved upon closer inspection to be lighter and softer than they appeared, with subtle details like contrasting elbow patches made by simply reversing the fabric. Though everything was infused with Ascot Chang's 60 years of tradition, there was no sense of vintage nostalgia about the collection —not that you couldn't have that made for youself if you wanted it. Instead, each look was carefully considered with an eye to modern proportions and real-life needs. And this is what bespoke really means.
Ascot Chang 110 Central Park South between Sixth & Seventh Avenues