Take part in a one-of-a-kind tailoring experience with DAVIGNON suits and tuxedos in Toronto.
The tradition of fine Italian tailoring and the precision of French couture ateliers inspire DAVIGNON Custom Suits to deliver the utmost bespoke tailoring experience in Toronto. With 12 years of education and experience under his belt (pun intended), Matthew Davignon is constantly experimenting with silhouettes and proportions to create that incomparable fit you’re looking for in a suit. Here, we discuss what got him into the industry, what drives his style and how groom-to-be can get involved in the sartorial process.
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Q: How did you get inspired to become a designer?
A: For over 20 years I’ve worked alongside luxury brands such as Brioni, Kiton, Zegna, Tom Ford and I was subconsciously developing and gathering all the various components that I enjoyed from each. Always wanting to combine the best of each to make it my own, I fantasized and talked about having my own atelier one day where I could design what would be the DAVIGNON aesthetic. I left the luxury retail world to pursue even further my design knowledge and entered tailoring school where my sewing skills, pattern-making and craftmanship would eventually assist in finding my design voice. I have seen the industry shift to clients now looking to go back to having their clothes custom made. They want to feel special and be engaged in the process. They are consciously choosing to have a new experience and relationship for themselves. The DAVIGNON atelier was created in 2017 to re-introduce to both men and, recently launched, women how incredible it feels to have custom-tailored garments and how accessible it has become.
Q: What is the process of customizing a suit for a groom?
A: I typically take the first conversations outside of the atelier in a more neutral setting. It’s important to me that I discover, through conversations, who he is as person, his values, family, the experiences that might have shaped his life. This process is immensely important in establishing the relationship, but also to get a better idea of his vision. I bring fabrics, look books, design ideas so I can begin to sketch and draw what will be the final design. Our second meeting is at the atelier, this is where we discuss fits, details, construction, posture, proportions, body ratio and shape. All these greatly influence how the garment will be measured and tailored. I take close to 50 measurements that will become his final pattern. After 5-6 weeks of hand-made construction, the garment is presented for the first fitting where we determine together some of the final details. I shape of all my client’s garments by hand through a labour-intensive, hand-pressing and steaming process that gives life to the final garment and transforms it into an extraordinary tuxedo.
Q: What period of time inspires you when you create a tailored collection?
A: The 1920s and 1930s eras have always been an immense source of inspiration. People used to dress impeccably and take pride in the tailoring of their garments. However, the 1970s is always my main source of inspiration. The oversized lapels, beautifully suppressed waistlines and garment details…there is something that I find consistently inspiring. I spend a tremendous amount of time reading and researching for my label and these two periods in time are sartorially incredible to me. Taking the essence of what they are exploring and reinterpreting the proportions and the detailing in a more modern setting is what I am constantly working on.
Q: You’ve worked alongside notable luxury brands such as Tom Ford, Brioni, Kiton and Ermenegildo Zegna. Tell us about your experiences with such brands.
A: These brands are deeply rooted in sartorial craftsmanship and tradition. They are uncompromising in their quality and their vision for their clients. When you work day in and day out with the very best clothing and cloths in the world, you subconsciously dissect all the details, analyze their pattern-making and how each has a unique silhouette and elegance to them. When I started my brand, I wanted to achieve that same uncompromising quality that I expected the atelier to produce. I am extremely happy to say that I have achieved what I had set out to do for myself and my clients. I believe my aesthetic pays strong tribute to those brands and how they have influenced me as a designer and a business owner.
Q: In 2008, you were commissioned by acclaimed stylist Annie Horth to create tuxedo jackets for Celine Dion’s dancers on her worldwide “Taking Chances” tour. Tell us about this project.
A: I was approached by Annie Horth to create dinner jackets for Celine Dion’s dancers on her “Taking Chances” world tour. I had to design and measure for four separate dancers who were in rehearsal in London. I was told I would not have the opportunity to see them. How do you custom-make garments without seeing the clients? I had to rely on photographs to assist me define the proportions. As you can imagine, calculating and measuring the garments was the most difficult experience I’ve ever had. It certainly challenged my tailoring skills like never before. In the end, 12 garments were made and perfectly fitted and have been seen by thousands of fans all over the world.
Q: What words of advice would you give to future grooms when it comes to customizing their suit?
A: I would start by telling them to begin their preparation long in advance as this process takes quite a bit of time. There are specific markers that are designated for business attire that should never be repeated in your wedding formal wear. Formal wear has details that need to be explained to you and revealed. In the end you want your pictures to be as timeless and sophisticated as your day was, so this requires expertise. Entrusting someone with the responsibility and delivering on your vision should not be taken lightly. Since not all custom-made garments are created equal and not all ateliers have the expertise and knowledge to meet your expectations, you the client, need to be vigilant and ask about their education and tailoring skills. Who did they apprentice under? How long have they been practicing this profession? Are the garments hand-made or machine made? Do you have access to the best fabrics? Do you have multiple fittings? Ask to be shown some examples of their work. These should help guide your decision with who you want to trust for the big day. As I always say in my consultations to the brides and grooms, regardless if we do business together, I am always there to support you and answer questions you might have. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for my expertise, because in the end it’s about enabling you to realize the wedding of your dreams.