Tailoring with the Godfather: Harry Helman
I have on my desk a composite reminder from my first days in London almost twenty years ago; a photograph, business card and sketch of an evening tail suit. They came from my first meeting with Harry Helman, the gold medal winner some would call the Godfather of Savile Row.
He was responsible for the training of many of the top craftsmen you find in the trade today and this meeting was arranged by one of his protégées, Malcolm Plews (Welsh & Jefferies).
On our first meeting he asked me what project was foremost in my mind….I said how to make a top notch set of evening tails, and he jumped into action with a piece of paper to start to lay out the basic elements of this complex item.
He had time for anyone who had a passion for the trade and dispensed wisdom, humour and Guinness in equal measure from a chair which carried his name next to the bar in the corner of the Windmill pub. With his brother Burt, Harry ran a business from Bruton Street, Mayfair, with Harry looking after the men’s side of the business and Burt the ladies. When he passed away in 1990 he had been working in the trade for more than 60 years. To Harry, everyone was a ‘good boy’……..even the girls!
photos: Jason Plews