They told me I could find the tailorâ€™s cabin out in the forest of Isola Gavia.Â I was at first a bit taken abackâ€”this would be no easy trek of a day or two and, as I would not be able to bring my horse across the channel, I would be on foot on the island.Â I was given further pause when I learned that my guns would not be welcome.Â What manner of place was this?Â I was assured that my safety would be in no way compromised.Â This tailor, Masa by name, was reputed to be among the very best, and I was, after all, in great and dire need of one or more new suits of clothing.Â So saddled up and I undertook the journey with high hopes and, truth be told, some small apprehension.
The traveling directions I had been given were clear and accurate, and I was met at the channel crossing by a man of quiet demeanor and serious but not dour expression.Â We negotiated payment for the crossing and return.Â â€œWill you be staying the night, sir?Â There are accommodations to be found, and entertainments to be enjoyed.â€Â I felt certain that I could not sleep the night without my guns nearby, and told the man I would meet him to return an hour before sundown.Â He nodded, and then he helped me to stable my horse and silently took my guns when I offered them.Â I found myself feeling not just vulnerable but somehow unclothed without them.
The channel was calm and smooth.Â We made the crossing without incident, and I bade goodbye to my pilot at the small dock.Â â€œI shall see you this evening, sir, an hour before sundown.Â If for some reason you decide to remain overnight,â€ and then he smiled for the first time, â€œI shall return tomorrow at midday.â€Â He gave me general directions to the tailorâ€™s cabinâ€”they sounded simple enoughâ€”and I set out to find it.
My short trek through the woods was uneventful, even peaceful, although I did start once or twice at sudden noises and reached for my guns, which of course were not there.Â In that sense, despite my calm green surroundings, it was deeply disconcerting to me.Â However, I soon found the tailorâ€™s cabin, as promised, nestled in a clearing at the base of steep hills of red stone.Â It was a place of pervasive quiet and beauty, and in spite of my inner apprehensions I found myself relaxing.
I called out, but no one answered.Â The cabin door was open, as if in welcome, and when I looked inside I saw suits and other clothing items hung upon the walls, as if on display.Â I could not resist the temptation to examine their workmanship more closely, and I went inside.Â Golden light spilled through the windows, washing over the wooden walls and floors and the hanging garments with equal radiance.Â I saw that there were several different suits, as well as some vests and hats, and a few fine ladiesâ€™ frocks.
Deep in admiration of the lustrous fabric and elegant cut of the suits, I was unaware of the tailorâ€™s entrance until he spoke, introducing himself and welcoming me to his establishment.Â This lack of awareness and caution was far out of character for me, and he must have seen this concern written on my face.Â â€œNo, you mustnâ€™t worry,â€ he said.Â â€œThis place has that effect on almost everyone, and those who are immune to its charms never stay long.â€Â While I wondered at that, he went on.Â â€œHow can I help you?Â You look like a gentleman who appreciates a fine suit.â€Â He took out his tape measure.Â â€œLet us begin.â€
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Itâ€™s thanks to a tip from reader Draconis Neurocam that I found myself at the â€œtailorâ€™s cabinâ€ that is Masa Plymptonâ€™s Deadwool.Â Like my alter ego above, I was immediately impressed with the look, feel and cut of the suits I saw.Â Which to try first?Â How to decide?Â It seemed an impossible task.
I decided to try first the simply, accurately named Brown SuitÂ (L$300).Â The construction here is classic: shirt, pants, and jacket-layer coat with tails on the skirt layer.Â As I hope is clear in the accompanying pictures, the fabric texture workÂ and overall suit design are really quite impressive.Â The shirt and jacket layers work together to present white shirt, dark tie and suit jacket with integrated vest.Â Artwork on the vest includes a double row of shiny brass buttons and watch chain.Â Unfortunately, the suit cannot be worn without the jacket layer as this leaves the collar area incomplete.
The only prim components are â€œstarchedâ€ and â€œstiffâ€ collars.Â These are quite honestly very simply made, and not at the same level of sophistication as the fabric textures and garment design.Â Iâ€™m wearing the stiff collarÂ here, which works well enough when sized so itâ€™s only just visible, but the starched collar didnâ€™t work for me at all.Â As can be seen in the vendor artwork, a few other suits also use these collars, so keep this in mind as you consider your purchase.Â These are Masaâ€™s earliest suit designs, and he mentioned in IM that heâ€™s giving some thought to redesigning these collars, so this may well change.Â In the meantime, if you also buy one of the more recent suits, that will give you another collar you can try.
The Midday Suit (L$350) is a more recent design.Â It demonstrates the same attention to detail in fabric textures and overall design, but it represents a significant step up in terms of garment construction and wear flexibility.Â Here again the suit is made up of shirt, pants and jacket-layer coatÂ with skirt-layer tails.Â The fabric looks deep and richâ€”perhaps uncharacteristically so for the era?Â I couldnâ€™t sayâ€”and is embellished with subtle but clear chalk stripes.Â The only prim item is a collar with string bowtie. This collar/tie is more ambitious and accomplished in construction than those provided with the Brown Suit, and it looks great and integrates well.Â Wear options are more flexible as wellâ€”the suit can be worn without the jacket, although not without the vest.
With this suit Iâ€™m wearing the Everett Hat (L$99), a beautiful hat with gracefully sculpted lines.Â Subtle variegations in the surface texture suggested heavy felted wool.Â The wide brim is dramatic and bound to contribute significantly to your very impressive entrance.Â The hat can be worn with or without chin laces.Â I like the charcoal-dark color shown here, but a few other colors are also available.
If you want a little more variety than a matching three-piece suit offers, you may want to browse through Masaâ€™s selection of individually available vests (L$100 each in a variety of colors).Â Each vest includes shirt-layer short and jacket-layer long versions, plus a flexi black knotted string tie.Â Once again, the hand-painted textures are beautifully impressiveâ€”detailing includes notched lapels with realistic drop shadows, a single row of shiny buttons, and watch chain.Â The lightly striped white shirtÂ is integrated; the vest cannot be worn without the shirt or layered with other shirts you own.Â Because itâ€™s on the shirt layer, the short vest really only works wellÂ with full-height pants.Â It works less wellÂ with, for example, the Midday Suit pants, which stop short of full height and include detailing of braces clipped to the waistband.
If the Midday Suit was a step up, then Masaâ€™s newest suit, the Otto Sculpted Suit (L$699), is a giant leap forward.Â As with the other suits, Otto starts with shirt, pants and jacket-layer coat, but there the resemblance ends.Â Instead of skirt-layer coat tails and simple prim shirt collar, Otto includes an extensive array of sculpted pieces that define and refine the suitâ€™s lines and details.Â The sheer number of attachments and the prospect of fitting them all might seem daunting at first, but I found it all easy to put together.Â (Personally, I like to add attachments one or two at a time and fit them before adding more.Â This seems to minimize difficulty and therefore frustration.Â Or maybe it just reduces the psychological pressure.)Â I found the coat collar-and-lapels and the shirt collar-with-tieÂ immediately impressive in how they fit togetherÂ so naturally and elegantly.Â The coat tailsÂ with integrated flap pockets are gracefully shaped and have a slight, entirely natural asymmetry.Â Look closely and youâ€™ll see that the coatâ€™s sculpted cuffs include just a hint of shirt cuffÂ peeking out; separate cuffs are included for the shirt when worn without the coat.Â The pants cuffs are naturally rumpled, not tailored with a perfect break.Â A detailed prim watch chainÂ is an eye-catching accent, and as if all this werenâ€™t enough, the set also includes a matching bowler hat.
But Otto isnâ€™t entirely and only about the sculpties.Â Fabric textures here are once again beautifully detailed, with realistic rumples (no crisp, fresh ironing here) and subtle but noticeable sheen.Â Shadow shading has been judiciously used to add the illusion of depth to the layered garments.Â I canâ€™t say enough about how beautiful this suit isâ€”Iâ€™ve had more compliments on it than anything else in recent memory.Â It has to be seen to be believed.Â Not inexpensive, but worth every penny.Â That said, I do offer one caveat:Â on the neck, above the collar line, you will notice some slight “smudging,” apparently some residual shading in the transparent alpha-channel area.Â The shirt contributes an almost neglible amount, the jacket a bit more, and taken together (which is, after all, how you’ll most likely wear them)Â the effectÂ for meÂ is noticeable.Â Depending on how you adjust the shirt and coat collars, and the tone of your skin, this may be more or less visible for you.
Although not available at the Deadwool shop, Masaâ€™s medieval clothing designs can be found on XstreetSL.Â Masa mentioned that plans for upcoming Western clothing designs include a duster coat and sculpted boots.Â I canâ€™t wait!
Visit Deadwool at Isola Gavia 43, 129, 23.