SIR Tailor’s Phillip Doan and Triet Vo are two of the dapperest gentlemen in town. Following their social feeds, you’d suspect they have a different suit for every day of the year. And not just any suits – their style mixes Italian and British tailoring traditions with more than a hint of Indochine chic. Somehow the combination comes out classic but unconventional.
Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt
“We are unconventional and not the serious guys in suits we’re sometimes mistaken for,” one half of the duo, Triet Vo, laughs. “I’d describe our style as contemporary business. Modern colours. New patterns. Understated luxury…” Philip Doan adds.
Think light, breathable garments that are made to last. And they’re currently available in Saigon, Hanoi, Bangkok and Berlin. Different climates, cultures, and customers. Triet Vo takes a moment to think before explaining their approach to these diverse markets: “we have to consider the fabric choice, weight and weave, the garment’s construction…”
“And,” Phillip pitches in, “I think colour-wise Hanoi is the most conservative and least open to unconventional options. Bangkok is the opposite. And Saigon…is somewhere between the two. Then there’s Berlin. Customers there veer between extremes: conservative, classic selections and some surprisingly unconventional choices.”
If achieving international cult status, like their personal style, seems effortless, they’re quick to disavow us of the notion. “We’ve invested a great deal of effort demonstrating our unique spirit through our brand activities,” Phillip explains. “Discovery and development are in our DNA…”
Understandably, they’re rarely in Saigon. Even though they both call it home. When they are here, Triet Vo is the one scouring the city for cool bars and stylish restaurants, Phillip is the one keeping a low profile and planning and scheming the brand’s next move.
Which city is the style capital of the world?
Phillip Doan: It’s hard to say. Italy as a whole is definitely the most stylish country for menswear. In the industry, we say “do as the Italians do.” And I guess Britain is the originator of lots of this…
Triet Vo: I’m choosing Tokyo, for its diversity.
Who are your personal fashion icons and influences?
Phillip Doan: I like the style of Mararo from Italy. By Mr. Moraro. He has cleverly adapted his menswear to casual activities. But once he needs to step up and achieve a formal look, he delivers too. Lots of people wear suits, but it’s harder to exude natural confidence while wearing a suit. Mararo show you can control your suits and not let your suits control you.
Triet Vo: Personally, if we’re talking suits, then my choice is executive editor of Manolo Sweden, Andreas Weinas.
How would you describe Saigon in a sentence or two?
Phillip Doan: Dynamic. Adaptive. But very much itself.
Triet Vo: It’s a city that can come across as cold at first. But give it some love, and it will give even more love in return.
And where will we find the best dressed people in Saigon?
Phillip Doan: That would be at SIR Tailor, naturally! But take a stroll down Nguyen Hue, particularly the corner of Nguyen Thiep Street which is a hot spot where people take photos heading straight to Instagram.
Triet Vo: For a nostalgic photoshoot, I’d suggest heading across to Chợ Cũ, the last wet market in District 1, along Ton That Dam.
Which are your favourite shops and stores in Saigon and beyond?
Phillip Doan: I’m choosing Annam Gourmet. It has a broad range of international products. It’s my go-to when I’m back in Vietnam and missing European cuisine like salami and cheeses. With their large renovated store in Thao Dien, and ones in Estella, Saigon Centre, Hai Ba Trung, and even Phu My Hung their products are becoming more accessible too.
Where are your favourite places to escape the intensity of the city when you’re back in Vietnam?
Phillip Doan: I love the cool Highland air of Dalat. We have business partners who have become friends that are based there so it’s a great time to catch up too.
Triet Vo: My hometown, Ba Ria. Great local food. Peace and quiet. And lots of pagodas and walks.
Where do you take guests visiting Saigon from out of town?
Phillip Doan: I suggest trying Yugen, Dat Nguyen’s new bar that does the classics impeccably well.
Triet Vo: For sightseeing, it would be Dinh Độc Lập, the Independence Palace, and then we’d walk along Hàn Thuyên Street beside the shaded 30/4 Park up to Notre Dame Cathedral.
For cocktails, I agree with Phillip. Try newly opened Yugen which is classic…and classy. Then there’s Rabbit Hole and Baron Bar. In this chaotic world when you have no luxury of time, you shouldn’t risk having an underwhelming night out. Find and then follow your favourite bartenders or you’ll end up regretting sipping on a bad gimlet.
Where’s the best place for a date in Saigon?
Phillip Doan: Mama Sens serves up a very cultivated Mediterranean vibe. And they offer some refined cold cuts and well-chosen wine.
Triet Vo: District 2 and Thao Dien. There’s a diverse choice of places and lots are quietly understated. Specific date spots? Come on, I can’t reveal those…
Where can we find the best coffee in Saigon?
Phillip Doan: Fortunately, it’s not far from our SIR Tailor store: Bosgaurus Coffee in the Saigon Pearl villa area, a stone’s throw from the river. Their noble quest is to serve the perfect cup of coffee. And they’re very close to achieving it.
Triet Vo: If Bosgarus Coffee is too out of the way, then try Themes Cafe (175 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street) for a more indie atmosphere.
Tell us about a secret place in Saigon you don’t usually tell anyone about?
Triet Vo: Here’s the deal. Go out with me three times, and then I’ll consider telling you. But here’s a hint – it’s the best Northern style phở you’ll ever have. And yes, I’m 100% southerner…
Finally, where would we find you on a Friday night?
Triet Vo: If we’re still drinking after the cocktail bars I mentioned earlier, we’d head to Commas or maybe Qui Lounge. You should too. Otherwise, probably some ramen spot in Japan Town in the alleys off Le Thanh Ton – chicken ramen at Mutahiro, spicy pork ramen from Ryushin…
Phillip Doan: At home!
Photos by Nam Tran Duy and Khooa Nguyen.