Tuesday, March 29, 2011

English Dandies

In the world of men's fashion, Savile Row is the holy patch of land in London where tailoring is an art form. On that street, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, English tailors perfected their craft so that suiting cloth could be "molded" to the body, creating for a man big shoulders and a broad back and a small waist, even if he did not possess those things. Bespoke: The Men's Style of Savile Row authored by James Sherwood, with a foreword by Tom Ford, and published by Rizzoli, celebrates the past and present of this quintessentially English institution.

This luxuriously sumptuous book covers eighteen Savile Row tailoring firms including Anderson & Sheppard, Gieves & Hawks, Huntsman, and the very handsome Hardy Amies. Then interspersed throughout are chapters on subjects like royal dandies and Hollywood stars and gorgeously decorated military uniforms. Though they are not available for use here, the book features striking photographs including the young Duke of Windsor, who had a natural gift for style, King George IV pictured with his nearly identical cousin Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and the nine kings of Europe gathered at the funeral of England's King Edward VII in 1910. Elegant, I'll tell you that. In our casual world of jeans and cardigans and sneakers, this book makes one want to put on a spiffy blazer and some polished shoes. And though one may not shop on Savile Row, the tome is a reminder of the importance of a good tailor and clothes that have a proper fit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although I do not own a bespoke Saville Row suit, I wish that I did. Perhaps I am not yet worthy, however, as I was surprised at the book cover. The choice of the contemporary shirt and tie were not unexpected, but the wide peaked lapels and six double breasted buttons with only one fastened threw me off. But I am open to a stylish update.