Unlike the particularly sophisticated photos I see of bloggers hanging out in the back rooms of Anderson And Sheppard, where the walls are made of timber and racks of suits hang in the background, there is not the same sophistication in the workrooms of Sydney.
If you are lucky enough to know who the real work horses of Sydney's tailored clothing specialists are then you will know that they sit in industrial estates, or on the side of the road in Leicharddt, or on the fifth dingy floor of a building on Bathurst Street, but never, ever, ever in the manner in which they seem to occur on Savile Row. The last of the big shirt makers in the Sydney CBD recently shut up shop and sold off all their fabric and with it went the last of the big city work rooms. Shame shame, but it is merely a hallmark of the times and the prices per square metre for city commercial real estate.
Today I made my customary pilgrimage to my shirt makers and I sat in his office and made myself a Nespresso and asked him about the state of things. As usual he cried poor, though he is by no means short of a quid, it is just a rudimentary start to any conversation with him to prevent me from ever asking for a discount on my work.
He had in the background the shirts he was working on for The Great Gatsby, a film I had hoped to be involved in, but got pushed aside for a few reasons. Some of which might be my own arrogance and opinionated rants which are not always received the way I intended them to be received. The shirt was in the same vein as Boardwalk Empire, high club collars, pins and another detail which I won't mention. It looked very good. The club seemed to lack curve but the finished product looks good overall. It seemed funny to me to see the size of Nick Caraway's shirt. I know that a lot of Hollywood is short, but it seems to be quite an epidemic over there. I often wonder if the closer to the studios you actually get, the smaller the people become until you arrive on set only to find a world of pigmies.... or smurfs.
Nevertheless, the shooting of Gatsby has caused a flurry of activity over at the workroom of V____. There you can see racks of clothing hanging up for the actors, waiting to go on set. Not to mention the waistcoats, bow ties and accessories being pumped out of another work room a few kilometres away. When it is all said and done, a film being made in this country is still money for those which can still make things. It is a shame we don't have more artisan garment manufacturing here and more movies and television being made because the both work hand in hand pretty well and give kudos to our countries skills in both disciplines. I was actually a little surprised to see a Brooks Brothers coat hanging up on one of the racks, it seemed a shame that the set of Gatsby was using American clothes and having them altered here. It would have been better if more of the work had stayed local.
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