Savile Row is synonymous with luxury, but is the prestigious world of bespoke tailoring keeping up with the times?
Text: Sarah-Jane Lampe
Savile Row was first developed in 1695, on land owned by the Earl of Burlington. Savile Street was named after the Earl’s wife, Dorothy Savile. The street was built up on one side with a row of terraced houses, with their gardens on the opposite side. Many of the original occupants were military families but over time, a number of local tailors took up residence and by 1810, the Savile Row suit was born.
The street was made famous by Beau Brummel, a well know, and extremely smart member of the gentry, who was also a great friend of the then Prince of Wales. Over the course of the next 40 years, Savile Row tailoring became world famous and attracted an illustrious clientele.
During the First and Second World Wars, the tailors were largely occupied making uniforms for serving officers. In between the wars, Savile Row’s fame accelerated, partially due to its famous clientele – Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, and many of the film directors and studio owners from the burgeoning movie industry.
Bands such as the Beatles in the 1960’s attracted further attention to the area, and fashion developments indicated that Savile Row had moved with the times and was a leader of the fashion explosion.
‘That continues today with the introduction of companies like Richard James and Richard Anderson, who carry the banner forward. Richard Anderson caters for the likes of Kiefer Sutherland, Benicio Del Tor, Bryan Ferry and Simon Cowell amongst many others,’ says Brian Lishak of Richard Anderson.
Today the founding fathers of Savile Row are united by the Savile Row Bespoke Association, with the new establishment tailors to protect and develop a craft practiced in this elite quarter of Mayfair for two centuries.
Savile Row is synonymous with the artistry and craftsmanship of Great British bespoke tailoring. It is the haute couture of men’s style, and Savile Row has dressed every icon of male elegance from Nelson and Valentino to Sinatra and Jude Law, not to mention crowned heads, statesmen and captains of industry.
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