By Brenda Ward
Italian men are legendary for their innate sense of style and sharp, tailored suits. They stand out on the international business stage, always looking effortlessly well put together. It used to be that you had to travel to Italy to experience this kind of bespoke tailoring. But not any more.
Crane Brothers in New Zealand is now producing garments in partnership with a group of tailors near Rome, in Italy. These artisans have been producing handcrafted garments in the Italian tradition since 1954.
Under the management of made-to-measure specialist John Mangham, bespoke suits and shirts are painstakingly made and fashioned to each wearer, with Italian quality and finesse. The client chooses every detail: from the styling, shoulder treatment and stitching, to the hand-made buttonholes, buttons and linings.
Founder Murray Crane says the latest trend is for suits to have a looser silhouette than the very slim profiles we were seeing until recently. “Garments have more drape again, as pleated trousers with a higher rise and even double-breasted suit coats have made a return.”
Crane says New Zealanders still favour pure merino wool for durability and performance, but in the warm summer weather, he has been selling more linen, cotton and kid mohair blend suits. He is also seeing more experimentation with fabrics such as boucle, linen and silk blends.
Some customers are ordering suits in Escorial wool, a rare luxury fibre made here in New Zealand and used by many of the world’s top designers.
“A suit is one item of clothing where you absolutely get what you pay for,” says Crane. “If corners are cut at any stage, the quality is compromised. We don’t cut corners.”
Each item is crafted and shipped to Crane Brothers stores in Auckland, Wellington or Sydney within a few weeks of a client placing an order.