It may appear strange that I lead off one of this week’s blog posts with mention of a man’s magazine, but there is a reason for this. Man’s World is one of the leading mens lifestyle magazines in India, and I was asked to submit some of my thoughts about the Savile Row tradition and how women fit into the scheme of things.
These are some of the questions and my responses.
What about suits for ladies on Savile Row? Most male tailors believe that female clients shift the goalpost much too often. Is that the case and if so, how do you tackle it? What do you think about doing suits for men?
The female form is far more complex than that of a man. The journey from shoulder to hip, and from hip to floor needs a wholly different approach in both measuring and the balancing of proportions. Also I question too whether the traditional fabrics used in the inner workings of the jacket are always best suited to the female form. Some of the new fabrics have interesting properties that I find quite intriguing and perhaps more suitable.
As for doing suits for men. I still occasionally make them and enjoy the experience, although the challenges are fewer because a man’s suit is something that has evolved over a long space of time and which fits into a well established pattern . The women’s suit, that is to say something created specifically for women, is still in a process of evolution. Although there are exceptions, generally speaking I find that women tend to get a man’s suit that has been cut for a women. Quite a different proposition.
Can you define bespoke?
What do you need, we will make it, and you will feel supremely confident in wearing it.
Can you define Savile Row?
Savile Row is the contemporary manifestation of a highly skilled tradition that stretches back more than 4oo years. Isn’t it interesting that the Japanese word for a Western business suit is… sebiru-ro… Savile Row!!
Is Savile Row fashionable?
An interesting question. If you look at any of the fashion magazines you will see constant reference to tailored garments and how fine tailoring can make a fashion house really stand out. Also you will find that tailors around the world want to align themselves with Savile Row whether they have any authentic connection or not. Savile Row has a unique position as a luxury brand without a single owner, and it is something that people aspire to be a part of whether they are makers or wearers. Asking whether or not it is fashionable is really forgetting that it is actually one of the few constants in a world which is beset by the whims of the fashion industry.
Is it elitist? What would be the most honest reaction of most SR addresses to a person walking in with trainers and torn jeans?
Sadly most tailors would fail to see the opportunity for educating a new client. Also people dress differently these days. The fact that someone wears jeans doesn’t necessarily reflect the true reality of the person wearing them. As research shows, we judge people first by the way they look, not by what they say. Maybe we need to reflect on this a little more.
Today, is Savile Row mere geography? What about Hong Kong, Thailand or even Hounslow?
Savile Row has two elements. a) The physical space in Mayfair and the community that is built around it, and b) its universal recognition as a benchmark of quality and service.
What is the biggest change you have seen in the world of men’s fashion? What is the biggest change in Savile Row?
Cheaply available suits that seduce people into believing that they are getting something that they not. See our post ‘The credit crunch, suits, and a pricing conundrum’.
So if you were in my shoes, how might you respond?
Photo: thanks to Man’s World, India