Secrets of John H. Cutler, Sydney's fourth generation master tailor

Few people really understand the difference between made-to-measure and bespoke tailoring.

The term 'bespoke' applies to a suit cut and made by hand. Every stitch and every button, delicately twirled with threads of silk, cotton or gold. The tailor creates a suit that fits like a glove and will silhouette you perfectly.

Although some are totally hand-made, most bespoke garments include a little bit of machine work on the major seams.

While the 'golden mile' of tailoring is located in the famous Savile Row in London, this presents geographical challenges. Where does the Aussie gent go for this experience?

Tailor made

One of the world's most respected master tailors, Mr John H Cutler, operates in the heart of Sydney. The fourth-generation artisan was named by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 tailors in the world.

I ask him what type of man would be looking for a 'bespoke' service in modern Australia?

"There are several types of men who seek me out and perhaps it is due to the different services we provide," says Cutler. "There is 'pure' bespoke by J H Cutler, which is made entirely by hand, no machining whatsoever. And my protégé – Sam Hazelton – is running a semi-bespoke [business with Carl Sciarra], which has bespoke elements of measurements, commission, cutting patterns and fittings, design and fabric with some machine work."

Precision manufacture

Cutler creates one-off pieces that are ideal for natural entertainers, with every detail created with precision. Utilising 14-carat gold stitching or creating a dinner jacket out of Swarovski crystals is no problem. He is drawn to the challenge of delivering the brief exactly as the client requires to produce an incredible finished piece.

What's the secret?

Cutler is known to hunt down rare fabrics, and his clients often get swept up in his enthusiasm. Customers will commission a garment on the basis of utilising a certain piece of fabric.

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The tailor's other secret weapon is to create garments for people who don't fit the norm and would not be able to buy off the rack. These clients want the ultimate quality with no limits. 

Magic marker

A client can bring something they've designed themselves and Cutler will bring it to life. Some clients will buy a suit for their friends just so they can enjoy the company of a true artisan.

Clients can watch every stitch that goes into the garment, or join in at any stage of the process and enjoy a glass of whisky and an entertaining conversation while their personal attire is being created.

This is bucket list material, the suiting world's answer to driving an Aston Martin. How could you ever go back to your four-cylinder?

Private tailors

Having a private tailor on call 24/7 sounds like a service only available to royalty. Yet, we've found one in Sydney called Bespoke Corner. These gentlemen believe that being well dressed is essential to ensuring a confident first impression.

With today's time pressures, the help of a tailor who understands fit, form and function as well as the versatility of fabrics, is a blessing.

Perhaps you're at the office or a hotel on business, and are in need of a tailoring service after your meeting at 9pm. These gents will measure you, retain those measurements for further suiting and have your garments constructed in Tuscany.

"Our clients have an idea of what they want and come from various backgrounds, from banking to plumbing," says co-owner Rami Mikhael. "The common theme is they want to feel great in a suit. Our job is to make beautiful clothes that make our clients look sharp and established."

Experience within retail trend analysis companies has earned Louise Edmonds cred in the luxury menswear sector. The founder of MenStylePower.com utilises her passion and understanding of fashion to deliver a fresh, edgy take on men's style.