Part two of my visit to Len Logsdail bespoke tailor with G. Bruce Boyer shot for A Suitable Wardrobe. Bruce gave me the tour and Len, a jovial Brit, seemed to have a good time showing me all the details of his top notch organization.
The front of the house at Len Logsdail has a clubhouse feeling where it seemed perfectly natural for fellas in the business or just in the neighborhood to stop by and have a friendly chat. This was quite refreshing, and started to make more sense when I entered the modest back room - where everything happens. Each of his bespoke suits or pants or dinner jackets is made from start to finish in that room. It is decidedly the opposite of how most clothing is made in the world today, which is, of course, the larger story of our era. This process takes time and incredible expertise, and I believe that even though the cost of such finished items seems extravagant to most, the business model of the bespoke tailor is not the best way to make a (quick) fortune. (see the trouble Savile Row has had) It is more about tradition and craftsmanship and masculine luxury, and art in my eyes.
The staff at Len's know very well that an important part of what they do is psychological - finding out how a man wants to present himself to the world. They know what the nuances of cut, fabric, and all those infinite details can communicate. Bruce was having a great time showing me all the lavish choices.
The intricacy of hand stitching that forms the foundation of the jacket.
Bruce having a laugh with Len in the work room. Don't mess up that cut Len!
Leonard Logsdail, Tailor, NYC, August 2011
The shears come out - and Len shows me how the tailors traditionally keep their shears is good working order...
Len searches through his patterns to find a few gems I will recognize from his movie work.
Distinguished menswear writer and journalist G. Bruce Boyer sat for a portrait (originally for A Suitable Wardrobe) at his "home away from home", Len Logsdail's bespoke atelier in NYC. He then gave me a wonderfully spirited mini tour of the bespoke process at Len's, and we chatted about his new book on Gary Cooper, dandyism, and his epic obsession with menswear. He says he supposes other men have obsessions that cost much more in every way, so what harm is his keen interest in clothing?
I ask him what I have been asking all of my subjects for The Dandy Portraits in some version or another, "How do you define dandyism? And would you consider yourself a dandy?" He says that he considers rock stars to be the only people closest to being dandies that we have today, because they live thoroughly thru style. This is an interesting take I have never heard before. So of course he does not consider himself a dandy. I would say that almost all of the other men I have photographed do not consider themselves dandy. That is totally ok, and even makes me more interested. Maybe I should just give up trying to define it? Maybe it doesn't matter? So I ask him, then what word do we have to describe a man who has a great affinity for dressing well? We both can't really answer that. Who likes labels anyways?
Somewhat conservative in dress, but not in politics.
When picking a fabric for a jacket you have to see it on a larger scale than just swatches.
Bruce implores me to feel this feather weight cashmere. Whipped cream puffy cloud goodness.
Discerning eye in the fitting room. Not sure what he's looking for, but I like the intensity.
Ok, so the one below shows more of what it was like to be in the room with Bruce. He probably won't like me using this one, because it shows his jacket to be very stiff (which it isn't) and without his "drape" (see close up).
Ok, this is where it gets fascinating for me...Bruce has this "Scholte drape cut" (ref: ASW) built into his blazers! To make a more relaxed look. To someone who wasn't in the know, they might think it was ill fitting, but no, oh no, it is done with intention. I think this is great!
Again with great clarity, Bruce described how he likes to look a bit disheveled. He even tugged at his blazer a bit as we photographed to feel right. In his clothes he said he liked to feel comfortable enough to take a nap, and unfussy enough to just get up and go. So I said let's photograph you taking a nap! Voila!
A few snaps from my epic day with Massimiliano at his lovely home in Paris. Again, I am reminded that this is not about clothes, this is about a life.