I’m really looking forward to reading “The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury, and Obsession on The Trail of a $50,000 Coat” by Meg Lukens Noonan, which was just reviewed in The Wall Street Journal and other publications.
The $50,000 coat in question was commissioned by a wine company executive from John Cutler, a fourth generation master bespoke tailor in Sydney, Australia. Ms. Noonan thinks that the plain, boxy coat looks like nothing special to her untrained eye, so she sets out “to determine what makes this unassuming article so valuable” — from the vicuna sourced in the Peruvian Andes to the Florentine silk lining to the Buffalo-horn buttons from the English Midlands.
Echoing a theme in MEN OF THE CLOTH, the WSJ observes that “traditional textile artisans have bravely held their ground against the fast-fashion juggernaut.” But Ms. Noonan is apparently “distressed to learn that many of these crafts are destined for the ashbin of history — despite the current appetite for bespoke products — partly due to a lack of willing heirs and apprentices.” Indeed, Mr. Cutler’s own grown sons “have no interest in taking over” the family business.
The conclusion in the WSJ’s review is quite apt: “The Coat Route compels us to remember that behind every garment is a deep history and a pair of human hands….”