Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Savile Rogue

Dressed smart like a London bloke.
Before he speak his suit bespoke.

When I heard Kanye sing these words to American Boy I nearly lost it. Then I saw him sporting this tweed bespoke suit. Love!

Borrowing the words of Thomas Mahon of English Cut:

'Bespoke' is actually a term which dates from the 17th century, when tailors held the full lengths of cloth in their premises. When a customer chose a length of material, it was said to have “been spoken for”. Hence a tailor who makes your clothes individually, to your specific personal requirements, is called "bespoke". This is unlike “made-to-measure”, which simply uses a basic, pre-existing template pattern, which is then adjusted to roughly your individual measurements.
Let's tour some of London's most respected bespoke tailors. Shall we?

We'll begin with a legend. Anderson and Sheppard opened its doors in 1906. Clients include - take a deep breath - Fred Astaire, Marlene Dietrich, Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Duke Ellington, Sir Laurence Olivier, Ralph Fiennes, Prince Charles & Gary Cooper (pictured below).

At one point, Ralph Lauren tried to buy the company for $5 million. When he was turned down, he launched his Purple Label line. Below is an impeccable A&S suit and the tailors at work.

Let's change gears a bit to visit cutting edge bespoke tailor Sir Tom Baker. He's based in Soho and his clients include Mick Jagger, Robert Plant & Depeche Mode.
Sir Baker does “the London Cut”: narrow shoulders, narrow sleeve, high armhole, long vents and quite a long skirt to the jacket.
Now for the rockstar look. Same standards, different details.

Sir Baker describes his style as “a combination of Dickens and rock’n’roll. I like to fit a suit right to the bone…but pull the cake out of the oven just before it burns." Yeow!

Let's move to Savile Row, the famous street in London where bespoke is said to have originated. Kilgour outfitted Cary Grant in the film, North By Northwest. Grant is considered one of the most stylish leading men of the silver screen and this suit is his most famous.

To quote Todd McEwen:
“North By Northwest isn’t a film about what happens to Cary Grant, it’s about what happens to his suit.”
Daniel Craig & Jude Law are modern-day clients of Kilgour.

Bespoke suits are a serious investment, easily costing thousands of dollars because of the time and work involved. I just love learning about the details, since I'm obsessed with them. To me, three pieces of info below would sell me in a heartbeat.

1. A bespoke suit always allows for three inches of adjustment to the main seams, in case your weight fluctuates.

2. The devil is in the details. (check how the fabric lines up)
left: good
right: bad
3. A bespoke tailor understands the human body contains no angles, all curves.


Lucinda said...

LOVE this post! And love the song too.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I wish that I could clone you!!

Horry said...

Admiral Cod would love this post! :)

suzannemarques said...

lucinda, me too! estelle has some rocking style as well.
anon - me too. ha! j/k
horry he probably turned away once he saw kanye. most of those guys hate hollywood/celebs/etc :)

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Wonderful post. Who or what is 'kanye'?

suzannemarques said...

Ah ha ha ha!
xo LBT


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