A man’s bond with his tailor is not something to be sniffed at. It may not be for everyone, but it’s something that should be experienced by all if only for the subtle education of the fundamentals of male dress.
Spend an hour at P.Johnson with Tom Riley, Patrick Johnson’s man on the ground at the new South Melbourne outpost, and you’ll understand what this education is all about. It’s learning that casual dress and dressing well aren’t mutually exclusive; that there are clever visual tricks your tailor can show you on your body that will help your stance, shape and height and ultimately your confidence and happiness.
Then there’s the next-level stuff, the aficionado stuff that’s hard to shake once experienced. Like Neapolitan tailoring details, combining the gentle and soft tailoring of the Italian south with the more structured tailoring of the north, plus the military precision and structure of a Savile Row house.
The goal of any great tailor is a good relationship with his customer. This isn’t just frippery, it’s a luxury; but more than this it is borderline patronage, it is the support of craft and a continuation of a legacy that need not die.
An hour with Tom will have you ordering the entire swatch book, from Lana Piana and Ariston, with shirts to match from the Thomas Mason bespoke range. But he strongly encourages the establishment of a wardrobe over time, preferring patience and process over potentially regrettable extravagant multiple suit purchases. Needless to say, he’ll provide all the help you need for extravagant multiple suit purchases.
In the formerly working class terrace-lined back streets of South Melbourne provide the double storey, southern home to P.Johnson. It’s all white floors with grey borders and circular mustard rugs – woven for the space – that lend a light but art-heavy feeling. It’s cool but welcoming. It is, crucially, manly but not mens-y, and as Tom notes it will develop in time, through evolution not contrivance.
These new digs are the perfect way to acquaint yourself with Patrick Johnson’s brand, his work and his identity. It is by appointment only, but you wouldn’t want it any other way.