“Alright, let’s turn the coat around,” says Henry Torrence as he’s fitting a client.
This isn’t Cole Halpern’s first trip to visit Torrence at his Magazine Street shop, but this one is especially important. Torrence is fitting Halpern for a bespoke made suit for his upcoming wedding!
Torrence has been suit-making longer than he’s willing to admit. The classically trained bespoke tailor fits a niche market in New Orleans: men and women who want to look like a million bucks and are willing to pay for it. His suits range from $2,800 to $180,000!
Torrence creates an image for each client, custom tailoring everything from fabric, to sleeve length, to pockets, to the incline or “balance” of a coat.
“People are gonna look at him across the table at a dinner party and they’re just gonna think in their mind that’s the best fitting suit that I’ve ever since, you look good. And that’s the balance of the coat,” Torrence says.
You may expect the high price of these suits to come from the gorgeous fabrics, which can be rather expensive, but it actually stems from the custom tailoring. When you have tailors as qualified as those who work for Torrence, you’ll pay a pretty penny for those custom fittings.
“My tailors make about $300 an hour so they’re very, very well paid and you’ll put 30 hours into a coat alone, so it starts to add up.”
However, it only begins with the suit. Torrence also makes custom shirts and is bringing in a shoemaker this fall.
“I don’t like to leave any part of the wardrobe unattended. We don’t make boxer shorts, but if we did, I’d recommend them!”
Creating a unique image for New Orleans elite, actors and even presidents…one fit, one fabric and one stitch at a time!