Cutler Bespoke by nicboyde



John Cutler is one of Sydney’s true gentlemen, and
as a gentleman’s bespoke tailor he is acknowledged
        as the leader of his profession in Australia.

                   “The relationship that develops
                                                        Images courtesy of

                   between a man and his tailor is
                   rather like that between patient
                                       and doctor”
                                                                                                                 J. H. Cutler offers an enormous range of
                                                                                                                 international fabrics, primarily sourced from British
                                                                                                                 and Italian suppliers like Dormeail and Loro Piana.
                                                                                                                 From the world’s oldest and most respected
                                                                                                                 woollen houses comes cloth in an infinite variety
                                                                                                                 of colours, patterns and textures. From vicuna,
                                                                                                                 probably the world’s most expensive fabric,
                                                                                                                 cashmere, silks, cottons and linens, to super-fine
                                                                                                                 ultra lightweight Australian pure Merino wool,
L    inguistically, “Bespoke” means nothing
     more than “ordered”, but in the upper
echelons of tailoring, it takes on a world of
                                                          A handcrafted suit takes time to create and
                                                          evolves from a variety of traditional elements.
                                                          Everything from yards of finest silk and cotton
                                                                                                                 flannels, worsteds, twills, tweeds and cords.
                                                                                                                 Then it is time to sew the elements together. John
additional meaning. It means the special cloth            thread to horsehair stiffener, from canvas backing,    employs a small team of specialist craftsmen to
set aside for a future suit; it means the individually-   cotton padding and super-fine woollen cloths, to       help. The tension in the thread has to be perfect to
crafted, perfectly fitting suit; it means a unique,       the Bemberg twill, silk or satin lining and buffalo    avoid puckering or breakage, but at the same time
even eclectic design, if that is what the customer        horn buttons that finish it off. All these elements    the stitching must hold the reinforcing and cloth in
wishes; it means 50 hours of labour, measuring,           must be carefully stitched and moulded together,       exactly the right place and to the correct shape. It
cutting, sewing and fitting; it means the long            by hand, and with a sense of creative harmony.         is a most exacting and laborious task.
and leisurely conversations bringing the cloth,
                                                          Time is an essential ingredient - time to consult,     At the first fitting John may alter the
design and cut together; it means looking at one’s
                                                          to measure, to choose the most appropriate             widths, lengths and balances, adjusting the
best without effort and it means years of wear
                                                          cloth, time for fitting, and time to consider the      pattern and re-marking the garment before
and comfort.
                                                          investment being made not only in elegance, but        passing additional instructions back to his jacket
                                                          also in self-confidence and self-image. From initial   and trouser specialists.
                                                          consultation and measurement to the time a client
                                                                                                                 During the second fitting a careful check is made
                                                          picks up his finished suit involves John Cutler and
                                                                                                                 of the balance of the jacket, which is one of the
                                                          his team in more than 50 hours of skilled labour.
                                                                                                                 features that give a handcrafted suit its unique
                                                          Stretching over several months it is work that
                                                                                                                 elegance. This is also the critical time for fitting
                                                          cannot be hurried.
                                                                                                                 the trousers.
                                                          The selection of fabrics and the taking of basic
                                                                                                                 When the jacket and trousers go back to the
                                                          measurements follow an initial consultation where
                                                                                                                 workroom for their final detailing, allowance is
                                                          he develops an understanding of the needs and
                                                                                                                 always left in the seams for future alteration.
                                                          expectations of his client. During this time John’s
                                                                                                                 The jacket maker completes the collar, the most
                                                          vast experience guides him in making allowances
                                                                                                                 delicate operation of the whole tailoring process.
                                                          for stance and balance so that the cut of the cloth
                                                                                                                 A 16-pound iron is used to stretch and then shrink
Any story about bespoke tailoring begins in Savile        will enhance the client’s features.
                                                                                                                 the top collar, creating a perfectly rounded fit.
Row in London, centre of bespoke tailoring since
                                                          This personal consultation plays a pivotal role in
the 18th century. Anybody serious about bespoke                                                                  After the major seams are sewn by hand, the
                                                          the whole process. “The relationship that develops
tailoring starts there too. John Cutler started there,                                                           basting stitching is taken out. The buttonholes are
                                                          between a man and his tailor is rather like that
as his father and his grandfather did before him.                                                                sewn and the buttons are sewn on, again by hand,
                                                          between patient and doctor, or a woman and her
Arriving in London at the age of 18, John worked                                                                 using four-cord bees waxed thread. Finally the
                                                          hairdresser,” explains John. “A rapport is important
at Dormeuil Freres, one of the world’s foremost                                                                  heavy iron is used once more for the final pressing,
                                                          in ensuring that the suit delivers a special image;
woollen houses and studied at the renowned                                                                       prior to the finished garment being ready for
                                                          an outward expression of an inner feeling.”
Tailor & Cutter Academy.                                                                                         collection by the client.
                                                          The measurements are then translated to
Savile Row still epitomises the old traditions                                                                   In addition to crafting more traditional garments
                                                          a cardboard working pattern, drafted by
and skills that made the street famous, and its                                                                  John and his team pride themselves on
                                                          John himself using his more than 40 years of
graduates have carried these traditions and skills                                                               possessing the ability to design and create
                                                          experience. It is at the pattern stage that the
all over the world. But it is a thin field, and the                                                              uniquely individual items of clothing that are limited
                                                          cutter’s creativity, knowledge and experience
calling is not for everyone, combining as it must                                                                only by their client’s imagination. “We were asked
                                                          shine through. A classic suit can never emerge
exceptional skill, attention to detail, an ability                                                               to make a velvet evening jacket”, says John. “The
                                                          from a badly drafted pattern.
to strike a rapport and discretion. The firm of J                                                                client and I sat down and discussed his needs. We
H Cutler has been making suits for the leading                                                                   ended up with a very long jacket, in dark navy blue
people in Australia for generations, and John, as                                                                velvet, a mandarin collar and Australian Opal studs
the fourth generation of the Cutler family to run the                                                            and buttons”. A spectacular garment, embodying
business, is discretion personified.                                                                             comfort and style at once.


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