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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leonard Logsdail - Famed New York Tailor And Suit Maker For Some Of Your Favourite Cinema Characters - A Short Interview

Leonard Logsdail is no stranger to celebrities. You can follow him on Instagram on the handle @leonardlogsdail  and watch all the fun unfold. If you have liked the suits of films such as American Gangster, The Wolf Of Wall Street, The Good Shepherd, or Wall Street 2 then chances are you've already seen his work. A big thank you to Leonard Logsdail Jnr for typing out Snr's answers last month. 

Leonard what an impressive oeuvre of work you have done for film and television! Can you tell us about your favourite signature pieces that you have done for film and how your suits have accentuated the film character?

It's hard to bring it all down to one movie.  I have worked on so many and enjoyed just about all of them.  American Gangster was great.  I was making clothes I used to wear in the early 70's so it took me on a trip down memory lane and reminded me how I must have looked at that time!!! (Although I thought I looked great at the time).  For Winter's Tale (not a successful movie) I made for Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and William Hurt.  This had me making clothes styled for New York circa 1920.  Great fun and quite a challenge.  However, I think if I boiled it down to one movie, I'd pick Wolf of Wall Street.  DiCaprio, particularly, needed to show a powerful presence on the screen.  We worked hard to active this.  Working with such a talented costume designer, Sandy Powell, made the project just as much fun, too.  

Denzel Washington & Leonard Logsdail look over a jacket during a fitting in his New York Studio

Leonardo DiCaprio's suits in The Wolf Of Wall Street were done by Leonard Logsdail

When it comes to cloth I often ask the same questions of tailors – do they prefer Italian or English looms for their cloth and is there a difference? Can you tell me what it is you are searching for in a cloth and what are you most trusted bunches?

Frankly, I'm not too concerned as to where a fabric might be woven.  I'm more concerned in how it feels, how it will tailor and how it will work for my client.  Every new bunch that comes through my door is inspected personally by me.  If it passes my fingers, then it stays.  If my hand tells me it might cause problems, then it goes.  Just because it may come from the UK or Italy, does not mean it is good.  I enjoy the Ariston range of fabrics.  They offer interesting designs and good quality.  Holland & Sherry, Gladson and Harrison's get a large proportion of my business.  But I'm sure not all of their fabrics are woven where you might think. But the quality is good.

A tweed smoking jacket by Leonard Logsdail

I see you love to make linings with reclaimed silk scarves from brands such as Hermes? Do you advocate silk over synthetic linings and if yes can you show us your best example of this kind of work?

I offer my clients the opportunity to choose different linings.  Most decline.  But for those who do not, then the sky is the limit.  I sometimes go to fabric district of New York City and peruse the stores there looking for interesting linings.  I might spend $5000 on these and can then offer unique linings.  Hermes scarves are also enjoyed by several of my clients   As far as wearability is concerned; I think the synthetic's work better than the silks.  They last longer.

Reclaimed Hermes scarves used as jacket lining for private clients of Leonard Logsdail

Is there something quintessential that New Yorkers might ask of you when making a suit that sets them apart from an English or European customer or for that matter a Californian? For example, I heard recently that having an MP3 or phone pouch with a slit for earphone cords was very popular with New Yorkers who ride the subway. Do you have a similar sort of experience?

I doubt many of my clients ride the subways, and so I have not made any suits with slits for the cords.  I have made specific pockets in jackets or pants for the iPhone.

In terms of weights of wools – New Yorkers must really get the raw end of the stick when it comes to winter – can you tell us the difference between a summer weight and a winter weight wool you might cut for the same gentleman and does this change in the weight affect the pattern before cutting?

More and more people are asking for year round fabrics.  In New York, particularly, I do not believe this exists.  It gets so cold in the winter and then so warm in the summer that anyone who tells you they have a fabric that works for both is probably not telling you the truth.  I believe that clients who try to ride the middle road in fabric weight are missing out on some fabulous clothes that can only be found in specific weights.

The Logsdail cut

What is your favourite brand of shoes in the world? And, can men wear boots with suits in your opinion?

As for shoes, without a doubt I would say that George Cleverly make the best shoes out there.  I only where their bespoke shoes and recommend them whenever I have the opportunity.

There is a line from Ridley Scott’s film A Good Year in which Uncle Henry says “Quite right, a blue suit is the most versatile of accoutrements.  More important than the suit itself is the man who fits it for you.  Once you find a good tailor, you must never give his name away…not even under the threat of bodily harm.”

Do you:

a)      Agree with the statement about a blue suit

Absolutely.  I only wear blue suits for this reason.

Leonard Logsdail - in favour of a navy suit. 
b)      Believe that you should never give the name away of your tailor?

From a tailor's point of view I believe this to be terrible.  You make like to keep your tailor to yourself, but if he does not have enough business to keep going, everyone loses out.

How do you feel about bow ties?

If you like them, wear them.  They do not suit me, but I have many clients who wear them so well that I am often tempted.  We make them regularly for our clients from all sorts of fabrics.  I always think that a bow tie shows that a person has thought about his appearance and not just thrown something on.  It shows you care about your appearance.

The bow ties in use for formal wear in a peaked dinner jacket by Leonard Logsdail

Father and son - Leonard Snr and Leonard Jnr Logsdail

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