It took a bit of convincing to get Neil Perry into a suit. But since discovering the Hong Kong-based Apsley Bespoke Tailors – on the recommendation of his friend and former Jetstar Airways chief executive Bruce Buchanan – he’s now a convert.
“There’s an initial three-day fitting and each suit is made to measure perfectly,” says Perry, Qantas Airways’ consultant for food since 1997, and now also for wine.
Perry first visited Apsley six years ago on one of his twice-yearly trips to Hong Kong. “So I went and got a couple of suits,” Perry explains. “Then I picked up another suit a year or two later, then another couple.”
Apsley also makes regular trips to Australia with swatches so its clients can select fabric. In Perry’s case, it’s usually Italian wool for his favourite “classic, three-button, slim-fitting” suit.
Tucked away off Kowloon’s busy Nathan Road, Apsley has been discovered by other notable Australians: photos of former Labor prime minister Julia Gillard in her famous white suit and Sydney Roosters players adorn the tailor’s walls.
Perry sticks with navy and black suits, which he teams with a crisp white shirt. He wears them when he visits Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurants such as Lung King Heen, or when he’s shifting between kitchen and dining room in one of his restaurants. But although he’s happy to suit up, Perry swears he’ll never succumb to a tie.