Last autumn in Manhattan, Andrés Miranda had an authentic British experience. He stood in the cozy living-room-style VIP area of Alfred Dunhill’s Madison Avenue store, conferring with the British luxury-goods brand’s master tailor. Martin Nicholls was visiting from London, where for 20 years (13 of them at Dunhill) he has been fashioning exquisite clothing by hand. It was Miranda’s first fitting—the second of what would ultimately be three stateside meetings in the creation of a bespoke suit by Dunhill’s foremost expert.
“It’s an addiction,” said Miranda, an executive director of a New York financial-services firm; the 35-year-old ordered his first bespoke suit a decade ago and now says nothing else is good enough. “A bespoke suit feels much better on than an off-the-rack or made-to-measure [suit], because it is so personal,” he said. “It is made exactly the way you want it to fit, and it won’t fit anyone else the same way.”
Outside of London, this bespoke service by Dunhill’s chief tailor was previously available only at the brand’s Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo stores, but last year the brand began sharing Nicholls with the Manhattan location, where clients now can request one of his suits. At the initial consultation, he takes copious measurements and ascertains the customer’s needs with respect to activity level, climate, aesthetic preferences, and so on, so that he can recommend fabrics, style, and silhouette. He returns to Dunhill’s Bourdon House flagship store in Mayfair, where he personally cuts the pattern and sews the suit. He comes back to New York for a fitting, then again for a third meeting to deliver the garment and make last adjustments.
Nicholls takes about 80 hours to produce a single suit, such as his creation for Miranda. While being fitted, Miranda noted that he enjoys the creative process of collaborating with a tailor, and for him this particular process would ultimately yield a slim suit—tailored to enhance his broad shoulders and narrow waist—in a lightweight gray wool cloth. (Dunhill’s thousands of fabrics include distinctive offerings—such as a blend of pashmina from northern India, Qiviuk from Alaska, and vicuña from the Peruvian Andes—that drive up the cost of a bespoke suit, which starts at $6,500.) “In banking, the dress code tends to be conservative,” he said, “but I can have a little more personality with fabric linings and details.”
Alfred Dunhill, 212.753.9292, dunhill.com