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The Model 99: An International Classic Bespoke Style

Co-founder Mark Cho discusses the creation of The Model 99 bespoke house style at The Armoury New York, made in collaboration with Yamamoto-San of Tailor CAID.

Co-founder Mark Cho wears his collaborate design, The Model 99, in a monochromatic wool donegal.

Bringing Yamamoto-San of Tailor CAID to The Armoury

I met Yamamoto-san about six years ago through the owner of the Japanese clothing company Fairfax, Michihiko Kei, who was always well dressed in a quirky American style. Having known Kei-san for a while, I asked him where he got his clothes from, to which he replied: Tailor CAID made them.

At the time, there was an old Japanese photo book from the 60s called "Take Ivy," about the style of students at Ivy League universities of that era. It was the source of inspiration for a lot of classic style fans, and on its way to becoming a mainstream fashion reference. I already had my own copy and found the contents interesting, but a little hard to relate to. It was after I met Yamamoto-san, and had some garments made by him, that I truly gained an appreciation of the significance of the style both aesthetically and culturally.

Yamamoto-san of Tailor CAID, looking rather sharp.

On the surface, Yamamoto-san lived and breathed American style, but as I got to know him, I realized that he was one of the most versatile tailors I had ever worked with. He settled into American style for reasons deeper than appearance. The heart of American style is easy, subtle and pragmatic. It does not have the sometimes stuffy gravitas of British style, or the occasionally overt beauty of Italian style. Thus, American style and Yamamoto-san's personality were a perfect match for each other.

I mention Yamamoto-san's versatility because,despite his preference for American style, he can cut virtually anything. In the years we've had trunk shows together, I have seen him cut Neapolitan jackets that would not look out of place in a line-up of pieces from the greats of that city. He has reinterpreted garments from old photos into complete garments that surpass their inspiration.

Yamamoto-san's beautiful craftsmanship and traditional Ivy Style.

Introducing: The Model 99

Having been deeply involved in tailoring for a significant period of time, The Armoury and Tailor CAID wanted to introduce something new to the world of tailoring. The Model 99 is unique and without precedent; we simply attempted to create something new without referring too much to the old.

The theme of the Model 99 is President Roosevelt's famous phrase: "Tread softly and carry a big stick." We wanted to make a suit that a man could wear and look his best in many different situations. The garment would be subtle but flattering, with a sense of elegance but not flash. We developed our own style of drape in the chest of the jacket, with a little bit of structure and a touch of extra space, but not the stiff, military look that tailoring can sometimes evoke.

The Model 99 Suit with a slight drape in the chest and subtle structure.

We cut the jacket to have some shape in the waist, but with ample room for comfort. It is close in the hips and a little longer than modern jackets, for a lean look. The shoulders are not constructed with "nothing there.” Instead, we purposely added some construction to even out any undulations in the shoulder line and extend it slightly, giving the look a quiet confidence.

We are happy to establish the Model 99 as a house style at The Armoury. The Model 99 is available for bespoke commissions during our Tailor CAID trunk shows at The Armoury New York.

Close-up of the Model 99 courtesy of shop manager Jim Parker (if the scruff doesn't give our model away).
Note the subtlety in the structure of the shoulder.

Bespoke Recommendations

Depending on the fabric, the Model 99 could be the favored workhorse for any office, the reliable sport coat for the weekend, or the rakish look for a night out. One garment featured here is a monochromatic wool donegal, made of just shades of grey. It works for some work environments, but is best in informal occasions. The soft, textured cloth adds visual interest and allows it to even work as a standalone jacket paired with odd trousers.

For a comfortable, summer suit for the office, we would recommend a lightweight wool/mohair blend. For year-round use, we favour Drapers' wool 4 Ply, which is hardy, easy to travel with, and comfortable even in warm temperatures. For something more informal and fun, we love linen, cotton and seersucker, available in a wide variety of colours and styles.

Yamamoto-san visits The Armoury twice a year to take orders for the Model 99, in addition to his classic American style garments. Garments typically require one fitting after the initial appointment, and are then completed. Delivery time is approximately ten months, and the price for a bespoke two piece suit starts at $4,800 USD.

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