The Coat Route

A $50,000 bespoke vicuna overcoat, made by J. H. Cutler for a client of ours who lives in Canada, is the subject of a fascinating book that has been published around the world. It’s title, The Coat Route.

The story started in 2006 when bespoke tailor John Cutler, the Business Principal of J. H. Cutler, was commissioned by one of his overseas clients to make him an overcoat of the best quality possible. John sourced the finest materials available from around the world, and then he and his team in his workroom in Sydney made the coat entirely by hand. At the time John commented, “Using only the very finest of materials, the highest level of workmanship and with every stage completed entirely by hand, my team of world class craftsmen and I created a garment that I am confident cannot be bettered anywhere in Australia or overseas”. The client was so delighted with the end result that he later had a second overcoat made by J. H. Cutler, again using luxurious vicuna fabric, but in a different colour.

In America the journalist and author Meg Lukens Noonan heard about this project and decided to write a book about the making of the original coat. In doing so, she traced the story of all the materials that went into producing the coat, spoke to the artisans involved and met the proud owner, visiting Australia, Peru, Canada, France, Italy and the UK in the process.

The result is a book entitled The Coat Route – Craft, Luxury and Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 Coat. The book has now been published in Australia, the United States, the UK, Germany and Taiwan. The Coat Route is available from all good bookshops and on-line.

Praise for The Coat Route

“A fabulous story, brilliantly told . . . I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.”—Bill Bryson

“As captivating as any mystery or thriller, The Coat Route demystifies the rarefied universe of bespoke tailoring and provides a lens into the culture that covets it. It educates and inspires. I couldn’t put it down!”—Tim Gunn

“If there’s anything as unlikely—or as unnecessary—as a $50,000 overcoat, I’m not aware of it. But if there’s anything more interesting than a book about the worldwide network of vicuña ranchers, button makers, silkworm breeders, gold engravers, pattern weavers, and master tailors who make such a coat possible, I hope someone as talented and as companionable as Meg Lukens Noonan writes it. For me, The Coat Route was a delightful journey.”—Daniel Okrent

“lively journey . . . Traditions of bespoke tailoring (and other related crafts) are skirting the edge of extinction. Noonan’s delightful story makes us hope they endure.”—Publishers Weekly

“An informative joy from start to finish.”—Richard Anderson, author of Bespoke: Savile Row Ripped and Smoothed