Blog post

Tonik with a twist

Posted on by Elliot Rowland

Tonik with a twist

If you’ve never heard of Dormeuil before, chances are, if you have ever worn a suit, you will most certainly have felt the innovative effects of this luxury fabric house.

The company was founded in France back in 1842 by 22 year old Jules Dormeuil. By 1927 Pierre Dormeuil invented the first ever sportswear cloth Sportex – a durable and crease resistant cloth that was inherently more breathable than the tweeds that were typically being worn at the time for gentleman’s outdoor pursuits such as riding, shooting and golf. Nicknamed “the cloth of champions” what really made this fabric a godsend to tailors of the day was the fact that it was the first ever to use a woven selvedge, meaning the edges would not fray when cutting long stretches of cloth.

Dormeuil was the first ever cloth to use a woven selvedge

Fast forward to 1957 when the company introduced yet another innovative creation that would go on to become an icon for various generations of subcultures.

Created by fourth generation Dormeuil – Xavier, the infamous Tonik was made with a blend of wool and Mohair. The fibres are combed during spinning to remove the airspaces and more twist is applied, creating a fine, smooth, durable yarn. Instantly recognisable by its distinct shine (as a result of the Mohair) other distinguishing attributes to this cloth included a more solid, slightly stiffer texture than even the heaviest pure wool cloths. This rigidity, made the fabric less prone to wrinkles, affording it a beautiful drape. This made Dormeuil Tonik suits ideal for traveling in as the wearer could arrive at their destination sharp, crisp and free of wrinkles.

The fabric quickly caught on with mods, skinheads and suedeheads, and there is still some dispute amongst the mod and tailoring communities as to how ‘Tonik’ is actually spelt. Tonik is in fact the trademark for the cloth first woven by Dormeuil in 1957. True Mods claim it was always called Tonic and you may well see that printed in other locations. But common and professional opinion alike agree that the real deal is Dormeuil Tonik, worn by Frank Sinatra and heavily showcased in the Mod cult classic Quadrophenia. The word Tonik suit is now used to describe any suit with a sheen, but Dormeuil is the originator of the term.

Today, the family still own the Dormeuil company, based in Paris, but the cloth itself is woven right here on British shores in Huddersfield. Stores are located in Paris, Neuilly sur Seine, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Minato-ku, Tokyo.

Redwood and Feller are now proudly offering clients a sensational selection of Dormeuil fabrics

With the scope of this heritage power house reaching far and wide across the globe, you may find it no surprise that Redwood and Feller are now proudly offering clients a sensational selection of Dormeuil fabrics – a beautiful addition to the Pimlico shop’s ever growing range of luxury cloths.

With a variation of wonderful patterns, Dormeuil is great to work with and perfect for bespoke styling in any office or social occasion that might call for added Tonik with a twist.