Sartorial comeback - Robert Bailey Bespoke, UK
Dear readers, sometimes it’s rather hard to see people leave, especially when it’s someone who you have developed a very special and substantial bond with, either family members or close friends; I definitely experience this quite a lot recently when I kept receiving ‘good bye’ messages, either they are emigrating or leaving for good, but in the midst of that, I received a rather unexpected note that someone is actually ‘coming back’! And his comeback essentially related to something that I am truly fond of – refined men’s tailoring clothing, and without a second thought, I simply wrote back to my British bespoke tailor friend, Mr. Robert Bailey, to catch up with him during his trunk show visit in town.
I first met Robert when he was doing his regular trunk show in Hong Kong for the reputed British tailoring house, Huntsman, back in a couple of years ago before all the chaos and pandemic situation occurred, his welcoming gesture and patience on going through the premium fabrics, showing some of his semi-finished garment to me, which is always memorable and professional, after all these time and coming back as a solo bespoke tailor, working under his own name as Robert Bailey Bespoke, I am truly thrilled to catch up with him again after all these time, and of course, what thrills me more, is to hear about how things are going after he’s going on his own now, hosting his own trunk show in Asia, and seeing his latest bespoke development work.
It was an extremely hot and sunny late June when I met Robert once again over a weekend, nothing change much when Robert gently open his hotel suite door and welcome me with his chivalry and smile; as usual, the luxurious hotel suite with a view that facing our glittering Victoria harbor and the clear blue sky, which contrasts the indoor area that showcased a line-up of bespoke tailored jackets for his clients, as well as an ocean of precious fabric books from the premium mills in Europe and England, it was truly moved to be able to see all these setting once again after all these times, and being able to comfortably to experience the ultimate luxury of the finest British tailoring clothing in person.
A skilled artisan, Robert has been in the men’s bespoke tailoring field for more than three decades, having been worked in numerous prestigious British tailoring house such as Gieves & Hawkes, Dege & Skinner and Davies & Son as the Head Cutter, Robert understands the significance and precision about making a piece of refined bespoke men’s clothing, thanks to his on-job trunk show which requires his visits to Asia, from Tokyo to Seoul, and from Hong Kong to Singapore, this artisan discovers his passion and connection about Asia and its culture, which intrigues him to come back and developed a substantial bonds with all his Asia clients; with his latest position with Huntsman, which enables him to spend more time in Asia to introduce and present the finest British bespoke tailoring to Asia, either as a brand ambassador or as an artisan, the bespoke tailoring work by Robert speaks the delicate workmanship with the quintessential British sartorial tradition, it’s an understated elegance and refinement that caters to each identical individuals that suits their body type and distinctive style.
Robert walked me through with his latest fabric collection that he brought along for this trip, one of the highlight is the soft-handfeel countryside tweed fabric ranged in some natural and warm palette, from moss to olive green, then from caramel to honey khaki, in pattern of either large windowpane to small houndstooth, I think there’s definitely a coming-back of the country-side style in men’s tailoring recently, perhaps it’s the 'Downton Abbey' effect or it’s just me, that reminds me of Lord Grantham’s attire when he’s doing his outdoor visit; then having a closer look with the semi-finished bespoke pieces by the artisan, the handwork is impeccable and it shows even apparent in an unlined jacket, the upright shoulder which retains the traditional British tailoring silhouette, with a taper sleeves and tailored chest and waistline, a very sleek and classic Englishman look which I can almost picture how nice it’ll look after it’s finished, and draped nicely on a gentleman’s body along with his crisp tailored shirt and trousers.
For Robert’s bespoke tailoring, it normally takes about six months plus to complete depending on the fitting and alteration, usually another fitting or two will be required before having the actual piece of clothing finished.
While I am exciting to see Robert’s comeback next time, just in case if you are also happened to be (still) in Asia, and intrigue with this British artisan’s bespoke tailoring work, do pin down your calendar for Robert’s Asia tour next time, perhaps you might experience the same kind of gentle connection, just like reuniting with an old friend, with some British sartorial flair.
Image courtesy of Robert Bailey Bespoke UK