How luxury brands are making personalisation the ultimate expression of great style

Ask people what they think real luxury is and it's likely they'll first say, "time." Pressed further and the answer might be exclusivity.

Something personalised or made just for you is, in a sea of luxury options, the ultimate that money can buy.

And brands, from Zegna, with its Bespoke Atelier in Milan to Louis Vuitton offering customised kicks, know this.

Marco Zappatore, contemporary menswear buyer at Harrolds says men now more than ever want something that is unique. And they're willing to spend on it. 

"These days everyone wants something personal, whether it's a garment or an experience in-store and that doesn't connect with just one demographic," he says.

This month Harrolds is collaborating with preppy with a twist New York label Thom Browne, offering complimentary in-store personalisation when you purchase a piece from the cotton shirt or jersey sweatshirt collection.

In red, white, navy, black or grey you can write your name or one of the brand's slogans (such as "uniformity" or "grey never gets old") in Thom's own 'handwriting'.

Zappatore says interest for this kind of in-store experience is growing among Harrolds' client base. 

"Personalisation has always been a part of what we offer at Harrolds from our made-to-measure business which has been growing over the years and is as strong as ever, to our in- store shopping experience," says Zappatore.


"We always work in collaboration with our suppliers to find unique and different ways of interacting with our clients who appreciate authenticity. This particular event is an extension of the Thom Browne world which we are allowing our customers to take away with them."

Zappatore thinks we're in an exciting time for menswear right now with brands refining their offering and customers becoming more discerning, and experimental.  

"Recently, we have seen a huge shift towards men buying more investment pieces and classic wardrobe essentials and slowly moving away from streetwear. Product performing well for us includes unlined jackets with soft shoulders, versatile cotton or wool gabardine trousers and cotton or cashmere blend knits with print and embroidery," he says.

Meanwhile when speaking of making things your own, this month Dior Men's is hosting its demi-mesure event, a permanent global experience, in the Sydney and Melbourne boutiques for the first time.

What is demi-mesure? It's not quite made-to-measure, with clients able to customise existing ready-to-wear styes nor is it bespoke, where a client can dictate exactly what he wishes, but somewhere in the middle. 

Clients can choose to have suits, shirts, coats and more from the brand's permanent collection made up from a choice of 600 different fabrics, including silk, cashmere and wool. 

There's also the option to play with Dior shirting, with ten collars, three cuffs and more to choose from and you can embroider a Dior bee, the house motif reinterpreted by the artist KAWS for Kim Jones' first show for the maison, or your initials.

A note: Just like most good things, it will take time. Shirts will take around 6-8 weeks to be complete and suits around 8-10 weeks.

The Thom Browne in-store personalisation event will be held at Harrolds Melbourne,  September 7 to 8 and Sydney September 11 to 15.

The Dior demi-mesure event is popping in the Dior Men's boutiques September 3 to 5 in Sydney, and September 8 to 10 in Chadstone, Melbourne.