Worlds Leading Tailoring Destination Savile Row Became

The Japanese take their word for a suit, “sabburu”, from its name. Savile Row is considered the epicenter of world-class tailoring. Other places can cut a good suit: Hong Kong and Shanghai if you need speed, New York if you need bragging rights. In fact, tailoring is not typically British – it probably comes from medieval France, “tailor” derives from “tailoring”, which means cutting. But no other place is so closely connected with the craft of Cutting, molding and sewing. A small strip of West London – a side road that you can see from end to end and which is named after Lady Dorothy Savile, the wife of Earl Burlington, the former owner of the area -has become the home of the suit.

It is a Robert Baker – The man who created Piccadilly, himself derived from Pickadil, the name of Elizabethan shirt collar-who came to the region in the after 1500s to launch his first sewing business, which was so successful that he was appointed costume designer at the Court of James 1. looking around now, he might feel a little dismayed. It is becoming more and more difficult to encourage young people, ideally in their teens, to train for years every hour and a miserable salary for a profession that brings them a decent but not liberal income and a life in a lighted basement. The brilliant appeal of design, fame and flashes at Flash parties seem to be a much more attractive path for the fashion industry.

The Tailor & Cutter, The old Bible of The industry, experienced such a decline that it had to be closed in the 1970s. And the sewing contests, popular since a Gentleman (1811) won 1,000 Guineas by turning the wool of two sheep into a suit at sunset, went with it. The bottom line is that it is impractical today to have a street full of tailors – in no Italian city, for example, everyone gathers. But Savile Row is an Institution with a village atmosphere. The tailors of Savile Row are an elite, both because there are so few of them and because they are so good.

Moreover, the story of Savile Row was a story of adaptation in order to survive. Even when the area was laid out in its current form and the street received its current name – the first recorded use of “Savile Row” was in the Daily Post of March 12, 1733 – it was still not a place for tailors. In fact, while it became a popular place of residence for nobles and high-ranking military personnel (who were better able to take advantage of after opening hours), it was more likely to be the forerunner of Harley Street, where the leading doctors of the time gathered there to cut and sew their own kind.

The tailors of the area were usually located a block away, on Cork Street. It was the dandy and pioneer of modern men’s clothing Beau Brummell who brought his money – and that of the Beautiful World he influenced so much – to Cork Street, who pushed Schneider to give free rein to his imagination, encouraged others in the area (especially in Bond, Conduit, Princes, Hanover and Maddox streets) and in 1806, the demand among the social elite of London was so strong that the first tailor was created in Savile Row.

Meanwhile, the Prince Regent’s building on Regent Street (as a more convenient route for his journey from Carlton House to his Villa) created an artificial but all too real separation between the tailors of Soho and those of The Row. The latter established it as a point of contact – the center of crafts, masters and their seven years of apprenticeship – while the former was considered a place of so–called Slop-and-Show shops, “where gentlemen buy their inexpensive and nasty clothes,” as one critic put it. Even today, a first-class suit costs half of a mass-produced suit, even if it is made by the same tailors.

In 1838, it would have been difficult to make a pin between all the tailors who had gathered in Savile Row. The names have come and some have since left: Adeney & Boutroy, John Levick, Brummel’s own tailors, Meyer and Schweitzer and Davidson. The houses, usually named after their founders, began to develop different brand styles, as they still do today. Their employees would move away to develop more styles and new techniques, but always to maintain credibility, they settled on the spot.

And the credibility of the quarrel has certainly been for a long time. Henry Poole & Co, founded in 1822 by Henry Poole and became a tailor for the rest of the century, at one time counted more than 50 European heads of state or monarchs among its clients. Several houses on Savile Row, with an honorable and old-fashioned gentleman, remained very reserved for their prominent clientele and did not publish the names of their famous clients until long after their passed away – Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra among them. Gieves & Hawkes occupied the Duke of Wellington, Lord Nelson and Captain Bligh.

Fred Astaire bought from Anderson: “It was difficult not to order one of all the fabrics that were shown to me, especially the Vikunjas,” he recalls. “They have never worn out. I’ve outgrown most of them.”Indeed, Astaire, something like a twentieth-century brumaire, notoriously dictated that looking too new is one of the worst sins a well-dressed man can commit, would have his Chauffeur jump on his fresh suits before wearing them. The Duke of Windsor would have had his suits made by Scholte, a pioneer tailor. Or at least the jackets. Scholte flatly refused to make the new Oxford pocket trousers for his Royal boss, considering it hostile. But when he was pushed to do so, Scholte sold him the fabric so that he could have it made in New York, a procedure that he followed until his passed away.

Times have not been easy for The Row, even if circumstances – be it Fashion, property or the economy – have always pushed Savile Row into evolution. The gradual decline of Savile Row may have begun in the 1950s, when the high-quality and accessible clothing brought to the market by Burton’s became a serious competitor for custom manufacturing. Then there were hundreds of companies operating near Savile Row. In 1980, there were 50 of them. now there are maybe 20 of them. But New Blood has always provided a counterpart and reminded tailors that suits, regardless of their manufacture, must match the era.

In the 1960s, it was provided by the likes of Tommy Nutter, trained by Kilgour – a man who knew how to create an eye-catching Look, wide lapels and even wider shoulders From 1930s Hollywood – and Douglas Hayward, a man whose roots in the East End may have avoided him a little by the best brass of the series, but whose fresh approach led the faces that defined the era – Terence Stamp, David Bailey and Michael Caine – to his door. In fact, Hayward did the costumes for Caine in The Italian Job.

It was a pattern that would repeat itself in the 1990s: Richard James and Oswald Boateng (with people like Timothy Everest and Charlie Allen who operated outside the line) brought a much-needed injection of adrenaline into a profession threatened both by the inevitable extinction of its Hardcore clientele and the status appeal of major lifestyle brands like Gucci and Prada.

Fortunately, thanks to this regular injection of new blood (as well as the willingness of the old Guard to adapt), the tailor-made Savile Row suit is as beautiful as ever. While Savile Row will soon no longer be a place for making suits – a large part of the production is relocated to other parts of London, if not further away – its legacy, as a place where men are endowed with prestige, taste and several thousand pounds, continues to live, and this in an era of more casual clothes and excellent ready-to-wear clothes.

But excellence remains its quintessence. Fortunately, this now comes in a less militant form than that of Louis Stanbury, one of the founders of Kilgour, known for marking on the jackets of his employees to express his disapproval about the poor workmanship. “Uh, yes,” said an impressive customer, “but what about my watch? It’s in the pocket…”

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