Bring on the gimp

Beauty comes in many forms and the ability to appreciate stunning architecture, a fine wine, or, a gorgeous suit, is not just the right of the connoisseur.

All our opinions are valid, and whilst experience in an area lends credibility, the gift of good taste and a sense of style is subjective, and cannot be learnt.

We are all different and our little grey cells get excited about some things, and sigh “whatever” at others.

Even before I got into the world of bespoke tailoring, suits turned me on. As a young man on holiday in Marbella, I was stopped dead in my tracks in front of the window of Tom Ford.

I couldn’t particularly explain why, but there was something about that jacket, that just grabbed me by the balls, and made me smile.

As you begin to get into something, it soon becomes apparent how much there is to learn about the subject, and as time goes by, you begin to appreciate the finer points and subtleties that can help shed light on ‘why’ some things just simply stand out and shine.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, the shoulder is to tailoring what terroir is to wine-making. It’s shape and character sets the tone and silhouette of everything below, and is the first thing somebody notices because it’s in their line of sight.

With the introduction of our new made to measure line, I could finally offer my customers something that to me, is a thing of true beauty, a roped shoulder.

Some of the finest examples out there are by Edward Sexton, Chittleborough & Morgan, and of course, Cifonelli (pictured below).

Cifonelli

Here is one of my recent customers in his wedding threads to be worn in Lake Garda. Check out the way the sleeve head sits proudly above the shoulder line. Love it.

Ross Roped Shoulders

The devil, as they (often!) say, is in the detail, and I am now thrilled to introduce another drool-invoking cherry, that can sit on top of the suit-making cake at Michelsberg Tailoring.

The Milanese buttonhole.

The easiest way to make a button hole is by machine, whereby it is first stitched, and then cut. It takes seconds to produce and is thoroughly fit for purpose, holding either button, or, flower in place, for as long as required.

Hand worked buttonholes are cut first, then stitched, and it is here, we are thrust into the upper echelons of bespoke tailoring, where the skill of the artisan can sing out like a rendition of Nessun Dorma by Pavarotti.

I have watched button holes being made on Savile Row, in Italy and China and it still astounds me as to the complexity of their making.

There are so many different ways of production, but in principle, after the hole is made, a special silk thread called a ‘gimp,’ is placed on top, to keep the buttonhole in shape, whilst the stitches are sewn on top, using  silk buttonhole “twist.”

The quality and look of finished buttonholes, varies hugely, but the style that I adore most, is known as the Asolsa Lucida, or, “glossy buttonhole.”

My research tells me it originated in the Abruzzi region of Italy, and is embraced by the likes of Brioni, Tom Ford and Cifonelli. A photo of a Tom Ford buttonhole is featured below.

Tom Ford Buttonhole

It is often called the “Milanese” buttonhole but this has nothing to do with the area where it was born. The name comes from the brand of silk gimp that was used to create it, marketed and sold by a company called “Gutermann” under the name “Milanese.”

Well now, I am able to offer my customers a Michelsberg Milanese button hole, and here is one below that has been made on a jacket made-up for one of our Manchester customers.

Michelsberg Buttonhole

To me, it’s something special. The way it sits so neatly above the cloth, like a glowing silkworm, a hallmark of patience, craft and time spent creating something beautiful.

Not everyone will notice it. But that’s the point. It’s for “those in the know.” The connoisseur.

Many of my customers love the fact that our cuff buttonholes “work.” They will often leave one undone, as a subtle sign to the outside world that a bit more time, effort and energy was invested by someone else to create it.

Like a masonic handshake, it lets other lovers of bespoke tailoring know they are “in the club,” and whilst some might consider this vulgar, I’m a fan.

Make no mistake, the Milanese button hole is all about beauty. It’s more fragile than other hand-sewn button holes and is often only used on the lapel hole, rather than the others which, like myself, need to work harder for a living!

My goal since starting my business has been to be as opened minded as possible with respect to tailoring, and strive to improve the quality of what we offer in terms of product and service.

Our Milanese buttonholes might only be just less than an inch in length, but they are a giant leap forward for us as a tailoring business.

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