I visited Marc, Julien and Charles de Luca of Camps de Luca in Paris in March, (article here) firstly to write about their history and new atelier on rue de la Paix and, secondly, to commission a bespoke sport coat. The Camps silhouette is as close to my ideal aesthetic as I’ve seen anywhere – a slim fitting, contemporary cut which respects the traditions and proportions of classic tailoring, leading to an understated look which relies on the quality of the fit to be the only element which stands out. As mentioned in the earlier article, the Camps de Luca shoulder is a uniquely beautiful thing and remains my favourite element of their style.
I had considered Cifonelli, also, but their famous “heroic” silhouette, creates a powerful looking shoulder and a more “v” shaped torso, which is a bit too structured in appearance for me as I tend to wear my clothes more casually, even formal suits. I admire their skill and unique cut and I still hope to write about them in the future, but the Camps cut is certainly more “me”.
For this jacket, the goal was to create a wardrobe staple, which would see as much wear as my bespoke linen sport coat from Bijan which comes with me just about everywhere that the weather is warm and is aging nicely as it continues to soften up as the linen breaks in.
The first consideration must always be to consider what the jacket is for and how it will be worn. For me, as I don’t work in an overly formal environment, I don’t need another corporate suit (thank god) and most days are spent in jeans and a separate jacket or tailored trousers and a separate jacket. Once the issue of how and where you’ll wear the piece is answered, colour comes next. With navy and grey being the most versatile options in in a man’s wardrobe and my lack of a grey separate jacket, the issue of colour was easy to answer. As I wear jeans with loafers more than anything else, I didn’t want anything darker than a mid-grey. If we were to make the jacket in a dark grey, it wouldn’t provide enough contrast against the darkness of denim. Contrast is important as it breaks up an outfit, avoiding the whole thing washing out and disappearing into itself.
After scouring a number of cloth books we settled on a mid-weight (I think it was an 11 ounce) cloth from Dormeuil’s “Amadeus Jacketings” bunch, in a mid-grey. The weight makes the jacket suitable for wearing throughout most of the year, except for the depths of winter. We also chose this cloth as it had a mid sized herringbone weave and some texture. As with one of the most popular articles on this site, texture and pattern are critical in any clothing choice as it has a significant impact on how formal or casual something appears. Again, given that the jacket will be worn with jeans, as well as cotton or flannel trousers, the texture and pattern will help add to an overall informal look. The same cloth, without any pattern and with a smooth finish would appear too formal and as if I were trying to make a suit jacket work with jeans, which rarely looks right.
Into the fitting room and Julien, Marc and Charles got stuck in to the measurements, which were more comprehensive than any other tailor I’ve worked with to date, including measuring down to my elbow (from my shoulder), then bending the elbow and measuring to the wrist, to ensure they cut the curve of the arm at the right point so that the sleeve follows my arms natural bend, allowing the sleeve to effectively float around the arm. It’s details like this that makes a well made bespoke jacket so comfortable and effortless to wear.
Camps de Luca use a “fit jacket” which many tailors like to use and it really comes down to personal preference as to how a tailor likes to take their measurements and eye up a client. It’s effectively a sleeveless jacket with a grid on it, which helps to instantly give an understanding of a clients’ shape, proportions and any anomalies in their physique (which we all have) and the all important “balance” of the jacket. Measurements can then be taken from that as well as the cloth being pinned to get the fit right, with all changes being factored in to cutting the cloth. It can help to save a fitting, which is invaluable, particularly to clients living outside of Paris who may not be in the city centre on a regular basis.
As far as the details are concerned, they remain similar to my preferred style as seen on my sport coats from Bijan and Leonard Logsdail, which is to say, patch pockets, with a smaller ticket pocket inserted above the right patch pocket. Additionally it will be cut with a single button (as opposed to two or three) and we’ve chosen a light grey lining to complement but contrast with the colour of the cloth itself. Other details, such as internal pocketing, button holes etc will come at later stages as the coat progresses through its fittings.
At this stage, I’m hoping to be back in Europe in September for a number of meetings and will do my best to get back to Paris to see Marc, Julien and Charles for a first (and possibly second) fitting.