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Fashion / Weddings

The Priceless Joys of a Custom-Made Suit — When Partying with Prince Harry, It Comes In Handy (a True Story)

BY Filippo Tattoni-Marcozzi

In post-war Italy, luxury fabrics were hard to come by. But when my grandfather, the Marquis Giuseppe Marcozzi Rozzi Pousset, was to marry my grandmother, Lea, daughter of the Baron Civico di Leognano, a new morning suit was ordered.

As a testament to and a prediction of my grandparents’ happy and long-lasting marriage, the suit was made of some of the thickest and most durable cloth I have ever seen, making it a family heirloom to last for generations. On my 18th birthday, I was given the suit, and when I moved to London, it came with me.

Those black tails and striped trousers left the conservative, aristocratic wardrobe of my grandfather and, over the next two decades, would witness some unexpected new scenes — from endless pitchers of Pimm’s at Royal Ascot to dancing on tables at countless weddings, including one reception wherein we reveled with Prince Harry well into the wee hours. The suit was with me as I mourned too many lost friends and even helped transform me into a gaudy undertaker for an epic Douglas Little–choreographed Halloween party.

In June, my brother is getting married. To mark the occasion, the time finally came for me to get a new pair of tails. Without hesitation, I headed to the Mecca of master tailoring — the one street whose name evokes the style of gentlemen, dandies, rakes, royals, soldiers and, these days, glamorous footballers: Savile Row in London.

My destination was No. 1 Savile Row, the address of the historic British fashion house Gieves & Hawkes. Then creative director Jason Basmajian (who has since left Gieves & Hawkes to become chief creative officer for Paris–based menswear line Cerruti 1881) arranged my Champagne–fueled fitting.

For a man, getting fitted for a suit must feel similar to a woman sitting at Manolo Blahnik trying on shoes. I paired bespoke gray-striped trousers in a discontinued fabric with an off-the-rack jacket in black lightweight wool from the Gieves & Hawkes permanent collection of formalwear, which was then perfectly fitted to me. Expert eyes made sure my jacket dropped perfectly down my shoulders, that the single button at the front fastened at the right height above my waist, that the arms were shortened ever so slightly to show cuffs and cuff links, and that my tails met exactly at the right spot behind my knees.

It is a science that has been perfected for centuries. If one chooses a custom suit, it is extremely important to have their expertise in choosing the right fabrics for the trousers and the jacket, and in selecting the right weight of wool for all seasons. During the lengthy fitting process, I made many notes to self:

• There are more shades of gray than even E.L. James could imagine.
• The length of one’s tails can tell a lot about where you come from: Italians’ tails are apparently longer than Brits’!
• Trendy is not a good look for a formal occasion. Avoid Moschino and Dior (at least for one night), and remember that the photograph of me escorting my mother to the reception — she, clad in the family jewels — will sit in perpetuity on her mantelpiece.
• Timeless elegance is the look of choice, but take a lesson from the Brits and remember that elegant does not mean boring. Ties, socks, and vests add a touch of color and will make you look like a guest, rather than the butler.
• A new morning suit is an investment (the most luxurious bespoke option can cost upward of five figures), but my brother is getting married only once — I hope! — and I will make sure to find a worthy nephew or godchild to pass it on to, after I take this new baby on more adventures.

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