The history of motoring and Savile Row clothes to partner glamorous driving is well known, writes Robin Dutt. Driving suits, driving coats and also car interiors have often had their origins in the Row, demonstrating that sartoria is not simply a matter of essential elegance but performance too. In the same way that tailors here are not strangers to sports clothes and the demands they make (riding, golf, yachting and so on) the hallmarks of driving garb are no different here.
This exhibition is really a concentration on all the varied crafts which combine to create a harmonic whole, each component playing its carefully considered and executed part. This show asks the viewer to consider just how many diverse talents are required in the pursuit of the single entity be it a garment or a component. And then of course, the years of training that have gone into this. It also highlights the converging and divergent marques of each tailor who can write very singular and yet ultimately linked autobiographies. For each tailor is unique but united by the single entity of Savile Row itself. The phrase ‘history of tradition’ is not out of place on this internationally renowned street.
In association with Hot House Media which specialises in automotive and luxury lifestyle, the exhibition features a selection of tailors displaying previous collaborations with car manufacturers – showing the link between them, with the emphasis on performance and individuality. Cad & the Dandy, Dege & Skinner, Huntsman, Henry Poole and Norton & Sons are the names involved which Julian Stocks, property director of the Pollen Estate feels will give, ‘an insight into the significant relationship between Savile Row tailors and luxury car manufacturers.’ And Geoff Love, the managing director and co-founder of Hot House Media, says that this display, ‘reveals the meticulous work behind the bespoke experience that consumers receive on Savile Row.’ For those used to being fitted for their suits will know, one simply appreciates the efficacy of every thread and its placing – a craft which turns the customer into an enthusiast from the first fitting. The same might be said of the ‘garb’ for a motor vehicle – slick leather panels, or perfectly fitted compartments.
Cad & the Dandy X Bahrain McLaren for example, displays a driving jacket made from a wool and cashmere blend and Henry Poole & Co X Range Rover (with 50 years of Range Rover in mind) shows the sleek quality of a smart grey-black dog’s tooth and Tuscan blue window check lambswool. Also included will be a range of mediums – art, prints, posters and photography.
This exhibition is an introduction to the Concours on the Row in June 2022. Visitors can view the exhibition at The Service, 32 Savile Row, W1 between 8.30am and 4.30pm daily, until 15 December.