Kiton, the renowned Italian tailor, crafts suits that are unabashedly exclusive. But that’s exactly the point.
For one thing, the cost is at the very least a consideration, perhaps even prohibitive—and that isn’t a description we bandy about lightly. Kiton’s top-of-theline K-50 comes in at around $50,000. That’s the kind of price tag usually reserved for things made of precious metals or encrusted with rare gems.
But this isn’t just a suit.
As with all the deceptively simple wonders that populate this particular ultra-exclusive corner of the luxury market, whether it be $20,000 bottles of Scotch or million-dollar automobiles, a Kiton suit can really only be appreciated by a true connoisseur—someone who has owned his share of bespoke Milanese and Savile Row suits, but longs for something even more unique and refined.
Antonio Paone, president of Kiton, says as much as his hands dramatically flutter over a blue suit resplendently displayed at V Hazelton in Toronto—thousands of miles from Napoli, where his suits are crafted. Your first car, he says, is not a Lamborghini, after all.
All suits made by Kiton are luxurious, but they aren’t all this exclusive. In fact, it speaks to the K-50’s exclusivity that to understand why it’s worth so much requires a brief primer on textiles. Though it’s no longer universally accepted, most wool is measured by the S-scale, which rates the fineness and lightness of the wool. It’s a system based on the 18th century worsted system that measured how much wool could be spun from a bale of yarn. The finer the wool yarn, the farther it would go, the better the cloth. Back then, the top of the line was 100s. Now, thanks to technological advances, the best suits can have an S number of nearly double that. The wool on the S system is measured in microns (or, one millionth of a metre). Topof- the-line suits, super 150s and sometimes higher, have diameters of 13 microns. To put that into perspective, a human hair is around 40 to 120 microns thick.
It’s this wool, incredibly fine and light — nearly 11 microns in diameter — that is used to make the K-50. This means a suit that feels like it is hardly there. Imagine the story The Emperor’s New Clothes, but with tailors who weren’t frauds.
While all Kiton suits are stitched from the best materials by specially trained tailors taught specifically to make Kiton suits in a company-owned college, not unlike a suitmaking monastery, not every suit is given the attention of the K-50. The average (and “average” hardly seems an appropriate word in this context) Kiton suit is handled by several of the company’s 330 suitmakers over the course of the 20 hours it takes to reach its final form.
Only one tailor—Enzo D’Oris—handles the K-50. He can travel to wherever you are to measure and fit you.
The result is a suit that is as fluid and perfectly tailored as a second skin. But make no mistake: the suit isn’t perfect.Yes, each master tailor is meticulous, and the process is both ancient and refined, but what joy would there be if each suit, once created, were literally flawless? Uniformity like that could come from a machine, using staid, bland materials. Wool this fine is unforgiving and temperamental. These suits are handcrafted by real people, and like a child, the value of each one is found in its quirks.
That is why a Kiton suit isn’t for everyone. Anyone could feel how comfortable the suit is: it’s impossible not to. But it takes a keen eye and a trained hand to not only see these tiny imperfections, but to know their value.