Savile Row is a street in Mayfair, central London known principally for its traditional bespoke tailoring for men. Tailors, attracted by the affluent and influential nature of the residents of Savile Row, started to open businesses in the area in the late 18th century, first in Cork Street, about 1790, then by 1803 in Savile Row itself.
Though the reputation of tailoring on Savile Row is for bespoke suits, ready-to-wear clothes were introduced by Gieves & Hawkes, a company formed in 1974 by the merger of two separate businesses who both date from the late 19th century: Gieves, a Royal Navy tailor founded in Portsmouth; and Hawkes, a London-based cap-maker and tailor to the British Army.
Customers of the ‘golden mile of tailoring’ have included Lord Nelson, Napoleon III, Winston Churchill, Prince Charles, and Jude Law. It is sometimes reported that Ian Fleming and his character James Bond bought suits in Savile Row but it is not confirmed.
The London Man Blog visited Savile Row and presents you the best tailors:
Norton & Sons
Norton & Sons was established in 1821 by Walter Norton as tailors to the Gentlemen of the City of London. Originally located on the Strand, his business flourished and in 1859 then Guv'nor George James Norton was granted the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of his services to tailoring. In the 1860's Norton & Sons moved to Savile Row to join the ranks of tailors in what was to become the home of bespoke clothing.
For generations, the families of Poole and Cundey have maintained their presence in the tailoring world. James Poole made his way to London from Shropshire as a draper and his son Henry founded the most famous tailoring street in the world – Savile Row—in Mayfair, in the heart of the City of Westminster, London.
In 1865, the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII, known to his family and intimates as Bertie, asked his tailor and friend Henry Poole to cut a short celestial blue evening coat to be worn at informal dinners at Sandringham. No earlier reference to any similar garment has been found in the historic Henry Poole & Co ledgers, which date back to 1846—or the surviving ledgers of any other tailor or period illustration. This royal evening coat was the blueprint for what we now know in England as the dinner jacket.
Lee Alexander McQueen
Lee Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer and couturier. He worked as chief designer at Givenchy from 1996 to 2001, and founded his own Alexander McQueen label in 1992. His achievements in fashion earned him four British Designer of the Year awards (1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003), as well as the CFDA's International Designer of the Year award in 2003.
As the sixties drew to a close, Casablanca-born Joseph Ettedgui imagined a revolution in the way we buy fashion and so created a conceptual boutique to discover new ideas and new designers. Joseph brought Kenzo and Castelbajac to the world's attention, championed Azzedine Alaïa and Yohji Yamamoto, chose Norman Foster to design a store, and was the first in London to sell Prada.
Then in 1972 the JOSEPH in-house label was launched, placing importance on luxury essentials. Today, under the creative direction of Louise Trotter, JOSEPH has become a contemporary designer brand respected worldwide.
Bernard Weatherill began as a family business in 1910 in Sunninghill. Two years later it was established on Savile Row, and in 1920 it was awarded a Royal Warrant by His Majesty King George V as a riding clothes outfitter and livery tailors. The firm currently holds the same Royal Warrant for Her Majesty the Queen.
Sir Edwin Hardy Amies was an English fashion designer, founder of the Hardy Amies label and best known for his official title as dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II, from her accession to the throne 1952 until his retirement in 1989. He established the monarch's crisp, understated style of dress.
Although Savile Row is the home of English bespoke tailoring, the Hardy Amies brand became known for its classic and beautifully tailored clothes for both men and women. In 1959, Amies was one of the first European designers to venture into the ready-to-wear market when he teamed up with Hepworth & Son to design a range of menswear.
The Savile Row Company
The Savile Row Company is a global online retailer of fine luxury goods with a focus on menswear, but also spanning across accessories, footwear and womenswear. Each new season sees new growth and development of the range through the addition of more fine quality products. They remain the same family run business as when they started out and retain all of the principles that one would expect from such an enterprise.
Davies & Son
Davies & Son has the longest history of any independent Tailor on Savile Row. In over two centuries of bespoke tailoring they have made garments for 4 Kings, 7 Crown Princes, 18 Knights of the Realm and 2 US presidents. Now one of only three purely bespoke houses on Savile Row, and the only bespoke Tailor on the west side of the Row, Davies & Son is an approachable tailor with a modern outlook.
Gieves & Hawkes
Gieves & Hawkes is a bespoke men's tailor and menswear retailer located at 1 Savile Row, London, founded in 1771 and now owned by the Hong Kong conglomerate Trinity Ltd. Gieves and Hawkes is one of the oldest continual bespoke tailoring companies in the world.
The company provides ready-to-wear as well as bespoke and military tailoring. Warrants holders since 1809, Gieves & Hawkes has continuously enjoyed the patronage of British royalty, reinforcing its unparalleled pedigree and international status.
Dege & Skinner
Estb. 1865, Dege & Skinner is one of two family-run bespoke tailoring houses to remain in Savile Row and the only one to have a permanent shirt-cutting service based in the shop, where all our bespoke shirts are cut.
Renowned experts in civilian and sports clothing, as well as the tailoring of military uniforms, the Skinner family has been dressing royalty, businessmen, professionals, the military and discerning individuals for over a century and a half.
Producing only the highest-quality garments, Richard Anderson clients have come to expect excellence as a given. Richard Anderson’s clientele – many of whom are leaders in their own fields – are uncompromising in their demand for quality. The company is living up to the vision held by its founders: to draw on the tradition and craftsmanship of Savile Row to create suits of life-long quality for modern men and women.
Jeff Banks is a Welsh designer of men's and women's clothing, jewellery, and home furnishings. Born in Ebbw Vale, Wales, Banks co-founded the fashion chain Warehouse in the late 1970s. In 1975 he opened the first standalone Jeff Banks shop in London, as well as retail outlets in twenty-two department stores, including Harrods and Harvey Nichols. In 2009 Banks was appointed as a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
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