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While They Don't Come Cheap, Custom-Fit Shirts Can Be a Bargain
G. Bruce Boyer
From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, Nov/Dec 97

(continued from page 3)

In that tradition, Kabbaz endeavors to please the customer, from the conservative requests of the Rockefellers to the slightly more Edwardian flights of Tom Wolfe. Styling is limited only by the customer's imagination.

"We made dozens of formal shirts for Leonard Bernstein, who went through four or five every time he conducted. He wanted something as lightweight as possible, so I suggested making them with an open back. He was delighted."

As it happens, evening shirts are something of a specialty here--accounting for one out of 15 shirts made--and Kabbaz has the most outstanding collection of bib fronts, more than 150 models.

If necessary, he has been known to meet a customer at 8 a.m., have a sample shirt ready for try-on by 4 p.m. the same day, produce the finished shirt by noon the following day for a final try-on, and make any final adjustments so the shirt can be picked up or mailed the following morning--from start to finish in 48 hours.

Normally, he would prefer three try-ons over a four-week period. It would seem that customers might conceivably take that long to pick their fabrics, since Kabbaz has more than 3,100 fabrics in stock at any one time--broadcloths, voiles, poplins, oxfords, piques and twills predominating.

The price of these fine cottons (and some silks, although one gets the impression Alex Kabbaz considers cottons to be the true métier of a shirtmaker), are based on thread count: the general range is from $325 to the Swiss 200 denier broadcloth at $475, but one can go higher with silks.

Leonard Logsdail
9 East 53rd Street, New York 10022 (212)752-5030

Logsdail caters to those men who prefer the English style of tailoring and accoutering, which makes sense, since he is a Savile Row tailor and shirtmaker who came to Manhattan six years ago.

"What I find that's true both here and in London," he says, "is that men are much more conservative in their suits than in their shirts. We do a great deal of classic gray and blue worsted pinstripes, but tend to follow the Jermyn Street style of bold, colorful stripes in shirtings."

While Logsdail does the measuring and fittings in New York, his workrooms are still in London, where the shirts are made from his individually crafted paper patterns. With the transit time, the shirts take longer to complete--six to eight weeks--than those made in New York, but if it's a London-made shirt that you want, this is The Real Thing.

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