Fresco is the fabric that needs no introduction. A cult favourite with tailoring enthusiasts, it is one of two trademarked suitings fabrics – the other being crispaire – renowned for unparalleled coolness and a rustic aesthetic. For men growing up and living in the Asia Pacific, there are fewer textiles better suited to our climate that remain both smart looking and practical. This particular suit, commissioned through TVG favourite Trunk Tailors (in July this year), is a fairly classical take on fresco. Over the past two months, I have warmed to it (chuckle) even as the weather here in Hong Kong turns.
To my mind, fresco has always been an extremely sporty fabric. Its translucence – a product of the highly twisted yarns used – and coarseness serve casual designs particularly well – something that both I and Homie (of Trunk Tailors) were eager to convey in the final product. In the interest of letting the high twist cloth speak for itself, we settled on fairly conventional style choices that echoed the sportiness of fresco. The jacket is Trunk Tailors’ faithful duplication of classic Neapolitan style queues: the shoulders are soft and unpadded; patch pockets are found at the quarters; the breast pocket is curved in the barchetta style; and the buttons are ordered in the now ubiquitous three-roll-two configuration. Tailoring pedants might also observe my erratic decision to include a two button cuff, more typical of American jacketing throughout the 1950s. Nevertheless, the ability to add casual elements like this are representative of Trunk Tailors’ flexibility. Homie lent his two cents to this (perhaps overstated) dilemma and made clear he would be happy to accommodate any details I requested.
While the lion’s share of creative input is invariably reserved for the jacket, it is equally important to spend some time thinking about trousers. Historically, I have had varying degrees of success ordering bottoms that are comfortable yet flattering. It is a devilishly elusive thing, particularly for those of us who don’t look like locker room Fireman calendars. Jack and Homie have made me three pairs of trousers over the past year, of which – I am happy to report – this has set the standard. Echoing Neapolitan influences once more, the waistband is extended slightly to the right leg and is reinforced with nickel plated side adjusters. However, unlike this commission’s top half, a more eclectic array of style queues are evidenced. Much more than mere quirks, these were primarily designed to address my key consideration – comfort. Fitted with a high waist that gives way to a full seat, they were intentionally cut with a built in “allowance”. The result is a pair of trousers that is uniformly comfortable in a variety of postures, both before and after a substantial meal.
A recurring difficulty for those men who utilise tailors is the capacity for physical access. If you are separated from your maker by considerable geographic distance, having things made – and indeed, made well – can be an exercise in patience. Fortunately, Homie had plenty to spare and over the course of a two-hour back-and-forth we were able to execute a process tantamount to an adjustment fitting. Previously, the team at Trunk Tailors had identified most of the problems associated with my body shape in the course of making my second commission (which you can read about here). Adjustments to resolve matters such as my unevenly pitched shoulders had already been noted in my pattern on-file. Consequently, from abroad, I took a series of several dozens photos of the previous commission, allowing Homie to make the necessary changes for this latest order. As many TVG readers are no doubt aware, Trunk Tailors’ remains a small business. It is still a passion project for Jack & Homie, a fact that cannot be discounted in the course of commending the latter for all the time taken to complete the necessary adjustments to commission a new suit. This continued hands-on approach to service is a healthy indicator of the firm’s persistent commitment to personable & accommodating service. In a market that is rapidly being inundated by over glorified fast fashion, service that even entertains the idea of making something remotely – in light of a customer’s inability to attend any physical fittings – is appreciated.
Given the increasingly wide appeal of the Hardy Minnis Fresco II Book, jacketing and trousers totaled $1,850 AUD. As evident in other garments I have had made through Trunk Tailors, the value for money aspect of their products remains strong. Overall, the commission manages to balance many equally important considerations – materials, construction, value. The result is tailoring that (by turns) evidences substantial handwork, durability and is made from one of the most interesting textiles still in use today.
Cloth – 310g Minnis Fresco (swatch no. 0546)
- Thomas Mason poplin from P JOHNSON Tailors
- Drake’s brown-on-green striped grenadine tie
- L’Bardi pebble grain drivers
Total price (subject to change) – $1,850 AUD
Head to Trunk Tailors online to enquire.
Photos courtesy of Nick Battersby