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One of Hollywood’s greats is the subject of exhibition in Savile Row this summer to celebrate the star and his style quality…

Huntsman mounted an exhibition last summer to celebrate the life of Hollywood legend, Gregory Peck. Peck was the favoured tailor of the stars, and for nearly 50 years the house made around 160 outfits for him, both for on-screen and off.

The exhibition in June, showed many of these pieces, along with other memorabilia of his life and activities, plus some screen footage and many photographs of him with other star names. It portrayed the spirit as well as style of an actor who was recognised as not only one of the greats but a great humanitarian as well.

Peck hit the big time in the 1940s and continued to be one of Hollywood’s most successful and popular stars right up until the 1990s. He received an Oscar for his role in ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ and had many other critically acclaimed roles to his credit. But apart from being a successful actor, he was recognised as one of Hollywood’s gentlemen, and was also named in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1983.

The exhibition has come about under direction of ‘new’ man, Roubi L’Roubi. Its hard to believe that he took over the Huntsman helm just a year ago. In that time, he has created two ready-to-wear collections, has two more in the pipeline, revamped the premises, planned this major exhibition, and had a whirlwind of trips to source new fabrics and accessory suppliers.

Lest these activities should suggest that he is not paying attention to Huntsman’s bespoke roots, nothing could be farther from the truth. He understands its importance, has put in place a monthly showcase of five new garments to inspire bespoke customers, and firmly believes the ready-to-wear selection complements the bespoke.


“We all like to pick things up,” he says. “So a bespoke customer may come in to order a new suit and then also see a blazer he likes in the ready-to-wear which he can pick up immediately. It may need minor adjustments or it may prompt a made-to-measure order. Of course, the reverse is also true – someone may come in to buy ready-to-wear and decide to trade up to bespoke. I’m happy with both.”

When he arrived in Savile Row early last year, he was generally known as a womenswear designer with perhaps little knowledge of tailoring. However, his early years in design saw him producing menswear collections and he is an experienced and talented cutter.

Huntsman, once the jewel in the crown of Savile Row, had had a somewhat chequered career for a few years when Roubi and his partner Pierre Lagrange took it on. It needed some TLC as well as determined reorganisation whilst retaining its core bespoke ethos.

“There’s been such pressure,” he admits, “but I’m enjoying it immensely. I have to oversee everything, from choice of fabrics and designs through planning presentations and photography, looking to expand our bespoke facilities, and ahead to when we can launch a wholesale operation for the ready-to-wear. Some days I’m just on another planet!” But his commitment to the company is solid. Recent rumours regarding Oriental possibilities are dismissed with an incredulous laugh. He is in it for the long term.

Some additions have already been made to the tailoring staff and he wants more young trainees to cope with demand. The showroom has been opened up to provide space for receptions and exhibitions. And the first exhibition to take place here will be the Gregory Peck event.

Articulated models will bring life to a display that will range over Peck as the Hollywood icon, the Oscar winner, political activist, humanitarian, anti-war and anti-racist campaigner, and family man. Some of his original garments have been reproduced, and an exclusive Huntsman tweed inspired by one Peck chose in the 1960s is now available to a new generation of customers.

And what will come across strongly is just how contemporary these designs look now. Like Gregory Peck, the Huntsman style, long, lean, single button and with high shape to the jacket, continues to exert a glamorous appeal. The two add up to star quality.

One of Hollywood’s greats is the subject

The Duke of Edinburgh has never been cast as a fashion figure, but he could well be seen as a pin-up. Prince Philip typifies the restrained, even wary approach to clothes of the typical English gentleman, which appeals to men – and women – around the globe. While much attention focuses upon the Royal women and what they wear, the Duke, like other male members of the Royal family, is now largely taken for granted but over the years has undoubtedly been a fine ambassador for Savile Row’s finest.

And just who is the finest so far as His Royal Highness is concerned? Well, John Kent has been his long-time tailor, a ball of energy, a tailor’s tailor, noted as a cheery chap with a fine line in old jokes. A few years back, he suffered a bout of illness and it was thought he would retire. But he bounced back and was re-appointed as the Duke’s tailor and Royal Warrant Holder. He is now based in Sackville Street, with his partner of many years, shirtmaker Stephen Lachter, and another tailor, Terry Haste, formerly with Huntsman, making up the Kent, Haste & Lachter company. “You have to be able to judge the moment,” he says, “as with all customers. If he has a lot on, an important meeting, then you act accordingly. But if he is relaxed and has time, he has a wonderful sense of humour.”

duke_coatStarting in the Row nearly half a century ago, Kent gives credit to training under some of the stars of the tailoring hierarchy – the Stanbury’s, especially Fred, and the Helman’s, Burt and Harry. Now, he has a wide cross section of customers and remains busy. “We charge the sort of prices that I would be prepared to pay,” he emphasises, “not some of those silly sums.” His main piece of advice to those ordering a suit is to go for a British cloth. “The French and Italian cloths are lovely but they go for a softer finish. British cloths are firmer and they hold their shape longer.”

While Kent is responsible for the Duke’s civilian dress, his military requirements are covered by Davies & Son, and his naval dress covered by Gieves & Hawkes. In addition, there are Warrant Holders for ceremonial robes, kilts, waterproofs, hats, shoes, knitwear, boots, buttons and hairdressing, et al. They all have to have chalked up five years service already to attain a Warrant, and by definition they have to represent quality and reliability.

Ede & Ravenscroft is the Duke’s robe maker, one of the oldest of companies holding a Royal Warrant, dating back to 1689. All the ranks of dukes and earls and lesser mortals at major royal events are wearing ermine-trimmed robes made by them. This would be a somewhat limited market to sustain a company, given that robes have little use and so last a long time, but the company is also big in the legal world, and the clergy, and also in bespoke civilian tailoring. Though their main base is in ancient premises in the City of London, they have a fine building looking up Savile Row.

duke_twoThe Duke may no longer wish to bare his knees very often in public but Kinloch Anderson remains his kilt supplier, and of Scottish and Highland dress generally. From their Edinburgh base, the firm has made uniforms for all the famous Scottish regiments, kilts and trews, and such is the on-going appeal of Highland dress that they also send off to would-be Scots around the world. There is a bespoke and ready-to-wear service and they will supply in any tartan, and provide all the traditional accessories.

John Lobb Ltd is the shoemaker responsible for shoeing the royal feet, both Prince Phillip’s and the Prince of Wales’. This family bespoke business in a lovely old building on St James’s is not to be confused with the John Lobb that now belongs to the Hermes Group, making ready-to-wear shoes. Lobb’s bespoke may be identified by looking for the Royal Warrant insignia, and by experiencing the handmade quality of their shoes and boots. The founding John Lobb started the royal connection by making shoes for Edward VII, and a long line of famous folk have followed in his footsteps.

Though Lobb’s handmade boots are well up to withstanding rough terrain, they are really too elegant for mucky country wear. That’s the preserve of Hunter Boots, the wellington boot of choice by the Duke, and which has come into the fashion spotlight in recent years since being seen on model Kate Moss at mud-soaked Glastonbury. From its basic rubber design, as worn by troops in WWI and II, and throughout the British countryside, it has now moved into town in a blaze of colour and new designs. But plain black and green wellies remain the country choice, guaranteed not to frighten the horses.

The ultimate country accessory is the gun and a Purdey gun at that. Purdey celebrates its bi-centenary this year, and is listed under the Warrant heading of ‘sports, hobbies and entertainment’. It began life as a gunsmith and has continued to make the finest guns over the years, decorated with exquisite silver engraving work. To mark their anniversary, the company has launched a commemorative trio, sure to become collectors’ items. This includes two shotguns and a double rifle, each handmade and inlaid with gold engravings. In addition to guns, there are new Purdey collections of country clothing and accessories.

The Duke of Edinburgh has never been

By Tom Corby

A touch of the peacock lurks in most men, even now in this time of down dressing, and the wearing of a well designed tie or cravat fulfils that sartorial must have, as it has done through the ages.

Despite attempts to loosen the tie’s grip on the civilised man’s throat, this strip of silk, ideally the fabric of choice, continues to hold on for dear life. As a fashion statement, it has had many incarnations, from broad to narrow, and back to broad.

Men’s neckwear has been around for a very long time, with the first recorded mention dating back to 210 BC in China. In Xian, the clay terracotta warriors guarding the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, can be seen to be wearing this fashion staple. The story goes that the Emperor commanded that his army should be adorned with ties as an indicator of the honour he accorded them by being recreated in clay to forever guard his earthly remains.

Italy’s obsession with fashion might also have its roots in history. In ancient Rome, the Emperor Trajan erected a column carved with replicas of his army; the soldiers are all wearing neck ties of varying kinds. Like the Chinese Emperor, this was Trajan’s way of signifying the respect he felt for the valour of his men, and at this period in history Roman orators wore neckerchiefs to protect their vocal chords during the cold winter months.

In the 17th century, Croatian mercenaries were recruited by Louis Xlll to fight on France’s side in the Thirty Years War. The King was intrigued by the scarves wrapped round their necks, and called their neckwear “La Cravate,” the French name for a neck tie to this day. This fashion fad quickly crossed the Channel, and King Charles ll is said to have spent £20 on a lace cravat, the equivalent of £1,800 in today’s money. The well dressed man of that era also wore cravats made of embroidered linen, cotton and plaids.

Fast forward to the early 19th century and we have that arbiter of masculine elegance, Beau Brummel, who introduced a stiffer, more formal version. He always liked to have the morning ‘well aired’ before he got up, and spent several hours each day preparing to preside over the world of men’s fashion. His dictum was: “No perfumes, but fine linen, plenty of it, and country washing.” If his cravat did not correspond to his sense of perfection in its first tying it was cast aside, and his valet was seen one morning leaving his dressing room with an armful of creased cravats, solemnly referring to them as “our failures.”


His patron and friend was the Prince Regent, later George lV, but Brummel openly antagonised the increasingly corpulent Prince. The crunch came when he asked a fellow guest at a reception, “Whose your fat friend?” and on another occasion ordered the Prince to “Shut the door, Wales.” This act of impertinence was the beginning of the end for the royal favourite, and in 1816 he fled to France to escape his creditors. He died penniless and insane from syphilis in a French asylum in 1840.

So much for the fortunes of high fashion, but his contribution to the revolution in men’s clothes and the introduction of understated, but perfectly fitted and tailored bespoke garments, of which today’s classic suits are the legatees, was commemorated in 2002 by the placing of his statue in Jermyn Street.

Later in the 19th century the Brummel look was adopted by Oscar Wilde and other members of the aesthetic movement. It mutated into different forms, notably the Ascot tie worn with morning dress, but in the 20th century, the day cravat, a silk scarf worn under an open necked shirt was taken up by film stars such as Cary Grant, David Niven, Michael Caine, and Roger Moore. The choice of the stars was copied by thousands of young men who hoped that some of the glamour of these film icons would rub off on them. Fashion pundits are now predicting that the cravat is due for a comeback.

The long tie as we know it today did not emerge until the late 19th century but since then has undergone many – often subtle – changes. It is all about modern man’s expression of his own style.

Not to be ignored, of course, is the celebrated Windsor Knot, believed to have been made popular by the Duke of Windsor, although there is a school of thought that it was named after his father King George V. The Duke preferred a wide knot and had his ties specially made to produce a wider knot when tied with the conventional four-in-hand knot. From James Bond to John F Kennedy, the Windsor Knot is still today regarded by many as the sign of a true gentleman. It is particularly suited for a spread or cutaway collar, and needs a tie that is about four centimetres or 1.6 inches longer than a conventional tie.

Still flourishing are ties that mean something to the wearer, an identification, an affinity to a group. Some years ago ‘The Book of Ties,’ now out of print, published a listing of 749 special ties, old school ties, graduates, the armed forces, the Inns of Court, any number of sporting clubs, the London Livery Companies, Guilds, the jokey ‘One Holer’ for golfers who have shot a hole in one, and so on.

Regimental and old school ties have gone on to inspire many similar designs, and of course there are those who wear the authentic article who are not entitled to. Con men, in particular, have adopted this trick as a means of suggesting a gentlemanly, trustworthy character. Not surprisingly, those with bona fide credentials for wearing the tie of their regiment or their old school take great exception to their tie being usurped.

A walk through the City of London on a Friday, during working hours, shows many younger men not wearing ties. This was unheard of not so very long ago, although you can be sure that they have one tucked in a pocket or a desk drawer ready for a quick switch if summoned to the board room or some other higher authority.

Ties say something about the wearer, from the more muted designs to the flashy, and are one of the few ways left that 21st century men can express their sartorial personality. They are here to stay.

By Tom Corby A touch of the peacock

By Robin Dutt

Few items in the male wardrobe describe the exactitude and elegance of choice, like the stick pin. Although often considered under general descriptions of tie pins and somewhat erroneously, tie clips, the sartorial stickler regards a stick pin as something far more rarefied and important.

First popularised in the early 19th century as decorative and functional devices to hold a cravat in perfect place, they still have more than a home on the gentleman’s dresser – even in the 21st century. Although it must be said that most may regard them as the finishing touch for a formal occasion such as a wedding or Ascot for example, to see a gentleman sporting one with divine insouciance as he saunters to and fro his clubs is a genuine delight.

Fortunately (although not made in the profusion of yesteryear) it is relatively easy to track them down in antique markets – Covent Garden on a Monday, the bijou square in front of the Wren church on Piccadilly on a Tuesday, of the many rambling stalls on Portobello Road on a Saturday. And certainly no hunt for a stick pin can be complete without a leisurely amble down Burlington Arcade or Gray’s Antique Market off Oxford Street. Julie Robinson once described stick pins as “tiny works of art” and indeed some of them can be veritable, wearable sculptures – intricate and composed of several elements.

The Victorian gentleman and even the counter jumping masher or swell would not be considered dressed, let alone well-dressed, without this final touch, and popular motifs included flowers, cameo portraits, insects (particularly butterflies and spiders), shields, stars, animal heads and sporting emblems such as horseshoes and horns all worked out as plainly or elaborately as the buyer’s wallet allowed. Most of the examples which hail from the 19th century are made out of nine or fifteen carat gold, often festooned with rose cut diamonds or semi-precious stones. And for some lesser gents, a panoply of base metal examples with glass instead of jewels are readily available too. But those unfortunates won’t be reading this!

The functionality of stick pins echoes that of other types of jewellery. Relatively rare memento mori examples featuring carved Whitby jet or often amethyst surrounded by pearls (to symbolise tears) and indeed, strands of the departed’s hair arranged in delicate shapes, locked in rock crystal can be unearthed but command high prices – especially the mid to late 18th century pieces. There are many examples which draw their inspiration from the hunt – horses, fox heads, running hares and the like. And just like the majority of jewellery they are relatively easy to date, echoing as they do, the stylistic details and changing fashions of the times from high Victorian through leafy-languid Art Nouveau to snappy Deco-jazz minimalism.

Recognising not only the demand for stick pins but a fascination with the unusual, many manufacturers began offering strikingly unusual forms – in many cases resolutely novelty pieces – which performed on the expanse of a cravat as a talking point.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has in its jewellery section a most compelling example of a skull stick pin, circa 1880s, not in itself a novel idea as skulls were very popular motifs as they are today if we consider the creations of contemporary designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Jeffrey-West. The difference with this skull pin is that it was connected to a battery worn on the inside which caused the jaw to open and close and the diamond eyes to dance.

Some pins concealed small lead pencils or tiny reservoirs for Poirot-style fresh blooms. Yet another model introduced in 1919 had a star motif disk-like head concealing a small drop of radioactive material. But of course for the gentleman who eschewed such novelty-fuss, a single discreet diamond, or Baroque or perfect pearl is stunning in its costly simplicity.

Then, if not so much today, wearing more than modicum of ‘essential’ jewellery was frowned upon. A pocket watch and chain, a signet or wedding ring were acceptable but multiple or stacking rings, heavy chains and brooches would have you down as a Brummagem, especially if they were composed of base materials masquerading as the real deal. This is alluded to in ‘The Gentleman’s Art of Dressing with Economy,’ published in 1876 by the enigmatically anonymous, ‘A Lounger at the Clubs’. He states somewhat sensoriously, “I should always mistrust the man who in cold blood goes in for mock jewellery,” before adding somewhat bizarrely, “nothing short of half rations or impending starvation would induce me to stretch my legs beneath his mahogany.“ Quite.

Several antique homemade examples have a discreet charm, many made from old coins whose dates celebrate some event, or fugitive Georgian orb Regency buttons in cut and polished steel rivets, paste or enamel surrounded by spangles. Indeed there is a panoply of materials which have been made into stick pins such as shell, crystal, horn, vegetable ivory, coral, mosaic, wood, tombac (turned zinc) and slices of bevelled mirror.

But do beware. If there isn’t a word to expressly describe the addiction to collecting stick pins there certainly should be. This writer knows only too well their pin point charm.


By Robin Dutt Few items in the male

Some might baulk at paying more for a pair of shoes than a suit but there’s a body of men around the world only too happy to belong to what is, admittedly, a pretty exclusive ‘club’

G.J.Cleverley is the maker of handmade shoes that counts these men as its customers – though managing director George Glasgow maintains that most of them are friends. From Fred Astaire’s twinkling toes to Charlie Watts drumbeat feet, Cleverley has shod the rich and the famous over the years, and continues to do so, using the same hand crafted methods as when George Cleverley first set up shop in 1958.

Since then, a steady stream of illustrious customers have stood in their stockings on a ledger while a line is hand drawn around each foot, and its vital proportions/peculiarities noted. This record forms the basis of what is a long and laborious process that can take up to a year before the final, exquisite, deliciously seductive pair of shoes is ready to be worn. “Do any of our customers actually need another pair of shoes?” asks George. “Of course not. But they can’t resist them.”

An affable, hail-fellow-well-met sort of chap, known to all as George, he is passionate about shoes and shoemaking. He was trained by George Cleverley, to whom he refers as the Don of Shoemakers, and is dedicated to maintaining the standards the Don set. So there are no short cuts, no scrimping on materials, no hurrying of craftsmen. Some may take a week to complete a particular task, which others may do in 2 or 3 days, but the individual decides how long it takes.

“Most of our team have been with us for years. They know what they are doing. This is concentrated hand work and there are not many who want to do the years of training and labour over a shoe all day. The tailors might not agree, but our bespoke task is more difficult than making a suit,” he says with a grin.

“As Mr Cleverley used to say, if your feet are not right, your head’s not right. A suit can’t hurt you, but shoes can.”

Not Cleverley shoes of course, made to fit to perfection, to be comfortable immediately, and to last if not for ever then certainly to provide many years of wear.

shoemaker_twoThe working environment for the Cleverley team is, to say the least, somewhat compact. Above a tiny shop in Old Bond Street’s Royal Arcade, a small room sees wooden lasts being honed, patterns made, skins cut, uppers formed, bottoms stitched, heels layered and finished shoes ‘resting’. Five craftsmen manage not to get in one another’s way, most of the time. Up another floor on the spiral stairway, George presides, but the major space here is taken by a treasure trove of lasts, the wooden shapes of each individual’s foot dimensions, which go back to the days when Hollywood stars came to Cleverley.

“We keep the famous ones, but in general, if we don’t hear from a customer in 10 years, we have to assume he may not be coming back or perhaps is having his shoes made upstairs!”

Styling is entirely up to the customer, who can dictate whatever odd embellishments he may desire. A signature detail of the Cleverley shoe is what its creator, George Cleverley, called “a suspiciously square toe,” a softly chiselled line that continues to be popular. In Mr Cleverley’s day, any customer who asked for a different toe shape was politely advised to go elsewhere, but “it’s a different world now,” says the present M.D.

He travels a lot visiting customers in Japan, Korea, Australia, Europe and America – “God bless the Americans, they really appreciate quality” – where his son, George Jnr, now runs an outpost in Beverley Hills. A new development is a small ready-made collection for Anderson & Sheppard, with whom he shares a lot of customers.

Outside of working hours, he says he goes to the gym, but don’t we all. He lives in Chelsea, hard by the Thames, and is a life long supporter of Chelsea Football Club, and may enjoy a session in the pub after a game.

But really his heart is in shoemaking. “I get here early, have a coffee and a little mooch around the workroom to see what’s on, what’s in process. And I’m the happiest man in the world!”

Looking at the passing cavalcade of male footwear on the average British High Street it might be easy to believe that we have become a nation of sporting enthusiasts. So ubiquitous has the dreaded trainer become that it is all too easy to see why so much of Britain’s once vaunted shoemaking industry has disappeared.

Yet there are still those dedicated to making fine shoes, both handmade bespoke and bench made. And new additions to their ranks indicate a continuing and even renewed appreciation of the importance of the bottom line. After all, traditionally, one could tell a man by his shoes.

shoeNew arrival upon Savile Row is the shoe shop of Gaziano & Girling, which opened in April. Tony Gaziano and Dean Girling, both bespoke shoemakers, established the company just eight years ago. It has rapidly become known for high quality shoes both in the classical mould and also for fresh designs, and the launch of the Row shop emphasises its bespoke credentials. There are also benchmade designs.

Newer is the collection from Justin FitzPatrick, launched at tailor Timothy Everest’s shop in Shoreditch earlier this year. This comes after his training around bespoke makers and combines traditional designs with some quirky details. He is responsible for the styles and then the shoes are benchmade in Spain.

Only available online at

Peerless bespoke shoe and boot maker is John Lobb Ltd. The company has been making them for around 150 years, over which time the great and the good have made their way to the fine, oak-panelled old building in St James’s that is its only shop. It is still run by the Lobb family. The John Lobb on Jermyn Street is a separate company.

Carreducker has a workshop on-site at Gieves & Hawkes, so that customers can go straight from ordering a new suit to ordering shoes to complement. The company doesn’t just make its own bespoke shoes and boots, but also helps others make theirs, running courses and offering supplies and consultancy on every aspect of shoe making.

Cheaney is a fine old English shoe brand, one of the few remaining in Northampton. By a quirk of fate, it is now again owned by the Church family, to which it was first sold nearly 50 years ago. Church, once great rivals of Cheaney, was subsequently acquired by Prada, and then the Church brothers, Jonathan and William, bought out Cheaney. They remain committed to handcrafted benchmade shoes in the factory where Cheaney has been based since 1886.

The latest shoe brand entry is Duggers, concentrating upon an online service at Founded by a father and son team, the collection offers traditional British designs with quality benchmade production in Portugal, and at a reasonable price level.

Some might baulk at paying more for