This is a long overdue review but here goes.
In June of 2009, my plans to commission a nice high end 6th Doctor frock coat crashed to a halt thanks to the untimely withdrawal of one of the better custom tailors to work on Dr. Who costumes (and really the only game in town if you wanted a quality Colin Baker coat). As a consequence, my attentions then turned back to the Davison coat. My plan was to have it ready for the '09 Comic Con so I duly ordered one with a 3 week rush turnaround from a well known online provider of custom clothing.
What I got back was severely disappointing. The fit was wrong. It had no flare in the skirt and draped rather like a shapeless box. This might work for an overcoat maybe, a frock coat - no. The lapels were too narrow and rounded, the front buttons too high set, strange vertical seams were present below the waistline that simply shouldn't have been there and finally, the fabric was too dark of a beige. Now I'll take the blame for the last part as I chose the fabric locally and it looked great in the store. As Steve has previously posted about, color is quite tricky especially when it comes to the all important lighting conditions. It was an expensive lesson learned. I was told by the online tailor in question it could be fixed for a nominal fee. I sensed if it was this far off the mark to being with, then they would never get it right so I passed. Soon after, I re-sold this coat and recouped what little I could from this misstep. I never even took it with me to Comic Con. The deadline was no longer an issue, but no decent coat to show for it. Now what?
Finally I did what I should have done from day one- which was turn to Steve Ricks, king of the impossible. I'd long admired Steve's work on his 10th Doctor coats and thought he would be a natural choice to re-commission a new 5th Doctor frock. Not only does he have the skills but he is, most importantly, a fellow Who fan who cares about the details just as much as you do. It turned out by happy coincidence that he was a fan of the 5th Doctor and had wanted to have a go at making the coat anyway. So we determined a payment schedule, I made my deposit in August of 2009 and we were off the races.
In the meantime, we went through the process of picking materials. Steve is very well organized and had sent me 2 or 3 well laid out selections of swatches for wools and acetate/satin linings, buttons and trims. We quickly decided on the buttons and the red-orange trim. I had narrowed down my choice of lining to two options depending on the wool.
Finally in February of 2010 - I saw the finished coat and I was beyond pleased. I was going to own a top quality replica of the 5th Doctor's coat at last! The last hitch: due to logictics of travelling to the UK the following month and my desire to have 5 Doctor costumes for the Time Quest event, I had to ask Steve to hang on to the frock coat and trousers so I could collect them in person. It was a hard choice, but necessary. On the plus side, when I did arrive in England and Steve presented me with my coat on the first Day of Time Quest (for my photo with Peter Davison!) I was really blown away by the finished piece. I couldn't help but thank Steve profusely as he'd brought into existance one of my top costuming dreams. Once the entire costume was all together I felt like I was wearing Peter Davison's real costume for a moment. It doens't get much better than that.
What else can be said about Steve's work on this Peter Davison coat? It's absolutely smashing. It's a stop and look twice kind of coat. The quality of the tailoring is really top notch. When wearing this, it *feels* like a nice coat you'd see at the department store. I've gotten several compliemnts on it form my American friends when they've seen it. It's a labor of love and a beautiful coat.
I'm often asked by my less costume-inclined friends "Was all the months of waiting, all the resoucres spent, all the stress of going beige colorblind worth it for this coat?" You Bet. No Question!