As we’ve often lamented in our writing, being based in Australia can be nothing short of problematic for those with interest in the best menswear and niche sartorial garments. For those based in Brisbane, the issue is exacerbated as the city has long been subject to the perils of geography and culture – a hot, humid climate where the need for board shorts often trumps the need for formal wear.
Fear not, however, as despite this, Brisbane boasts some of Australia’s most unique sartorial offerings – the likes of which rank highly even on the world stage.
Founded in 2007, The Cloakroom is owned and operated by Mr Andrew Byrne and Mr Louis Ialenti. Although known for their made-to-measure (MTM) suiting, they’ve had previous forays into both denim and casual wear – all of which has been of high quality, but nothing compared to their current offering, which is truly world class.
2016 has marked a year of profound progress for The Cloakroom – now offering an exquisite Japanese constructed MTM program where they’ve vertically integrated their production unit as opposed to contracting a manufacturer as is typical of most Australian MTM labels.
The culmination of their Japanese construction is almost ineffable – a jacket with one of the most impressive and unique cuts on the market – especially concerning the shoulder line – which contours the body brilliantly and flows into an immaculate, close-fitting chest. When coupled with the shape of their lapel, this fit through the upper body has a profound slimming effect on the body – elongating the figure and cutting a striking silhouette.
As a testament to the quality of The Cloakroom’s offering, they’ve hosted trunk shows for some of the world’s most respected artisans – Cifonelli (the Parisian tailors heralded as being amongst the best in the world), and recently Bocache & Salvucci (Roman shoemakers renowned for crafting bespoke shoes entirely by hand without the use of any machinery). Since hosting Cifonelli, they now offer a small selection of Cifonelli’s MTM suiting and casual wear in store. In addition, they’re also the sole Australian stockist of Florentine shoemaker, Stefano Bemer, and one of the only Australian stockists of English haberdasher, Drakes. The mere fact these brands are willing to cooperate so closely withThe Cloakroom speaks volumes as to the integrity of their garments.
Due to the sheer rarity of their offering, The Cloakroom should be considered as a ‘destination’ for not just Brisban-ites, but the discerning gentlemen of Australia – it is worth the short flight from Sydney and Melbourne.
In addition to their Brisbane store, they operate a store in Montreal with a further store opening in Tokyo soon.
Address: Level 1, 215 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane (above Hermes)
Phone: 07 3210 1515
One of Brisbane’s sartorial stalwarts, the family, owned Richards & Richards (previously named Richards Draperies and Joe Richards Menswear) has spanned three generations since opening in 1978.
Despite their long history and extensive client list, Richards & Richards is perhaps slightly lesser known than their other high-end counterparts but is certainly well regarded amidst the upper echelons of Brisbane. Located in Fortitude Valley’s gentrified James Street precinct, their store conjures notions of a typical Italian haberdashery – slightly messy with an abundance of stock from suiting to Egyptian cotton bed sheets and Riedel glassware. While offering only RTW garments, Richards & Richards employ master tailor, George, who conducts all alterations in house, which adds to the charm to the experience.
Specialising exclusively in ready-to-wear garments, Richards & Richards stock their own house label – all cut from Vitale Barberis Canonico cloth and featuring half canvas construction, however warrant the most attention thanks to being Australia’s only stockists of Neapolitan artisans Isaia, who are revered for crafting some of the finest quality handmade RTW suits in the world, and according to Joey Richards – the store’s manager and Isaia fanatic, “are the greatest brand in the world”.
Due to their Neapolitan construction, Isaia garments are purposed for a similar climate to Brisbane, being incredibly lightweight, featuring soft shoulders and a very light full canvas – the culmination of which is comfort. As well as being superfine and lightweight, Isaia’s fabric selection is also nuanced – featuring bold patterns and bright colours that align with the brand’s modern luxe aesthetic.
Shopping at Richards & Richards is a wonderfully pleasant experience and don’t let the relaxed nature of the store’s interior fool you as to the quality of their offering – which is one of Brisbane’s, if not Australia’s best.
Address: 11A, 23 James Street, Fortitude Valley
Phone: 07 3666 0550
Established in 1981 by local property magnate Mitchell Ogilvie, the menswear emporium that bears his name has been at the forefront of Brisbane’s sartorial scene since its inception – offering a mix of high-end RTW and MTM garments from Europe’s (namely Italy’s) most esteemed brands.
Situated in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD, the store itself is reminiscent of the luxurious multi-brand stores of New York and London – with the two level expanse bearing a contemporary, yet classical aesthetic. Similarly, Mitchell Ogilvie’s offering is classically inspired, comprised of both formal and casual wear from the likes of Brioni, Brunello Cucinelli, Canali and Pal Zileri to name but a few. Mitchell Ogilvie’s range is distinctly Italian in flavour, favouring soft, minimal construction and lightweight; breathable cloth purposed to combat the constant heat of Brisbane.
Mr. Ogilvie and Director Aung Lynn place great emphasis on the importance of working with other family owned businesses as a means of maintaining artisanal integrity. Thus their house RTW and MTM range is constructed in a series of family owned workshops in Naples.
After many decades of being Queensland’s sole Canali licensee, the relationship between Mitchell Ogilvie and the house of Canali reached new heights earlier this year with the launch of a flagship Canali store within Mitchell Ogilvie itself (which coincided with an entirely new fit-out of their top floor). The inauguration was marked by the attendance of Mr Paolo Canali himself. Each year Mitchell Ogilvie hosts a Canali trunk show, providing the men of Brisbane with the opportunity to commission garments from Canali’s master tailors – quite the sartorial experience.
Address: 168 Edward Street, Brisbane
Phone: 07 3031 3888
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