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Esteemed clothing company Pringle of Scotland is pleased to announce an on-going collaboration with artists, writes Robin Dutt. Desiring a unique experience for their customers, it will feature works by established and London-based creators who are not represented by a gallery. An altruistic endeavour indeed, Pringle will also not take commission on any sales.
Their featured artist currently is Caroline Banks, pictured right,  who is well known for her hypnotic, concentric forms – often swirls of energy or dappled with intent to look like elements of space or the magnetism of an almost vocal void. There is movement and energy here, forms which really do suggest the “Music of the Spheres”.  Her palette features calming tones of Prussian blues, earthy browns and ivory-creams – ironic calm maelstroms.
Pringle spokesman Ashwin is delighted to host at his store this artist’s thought-provoking and magnetic work. “I really love the simplicity and peacefulness of Caroline’s work,” he says.  “The colours she uses and circle shapes are almost mesmerising.”
Pringle’s plan is to showcase artists for a 4-6 week residency, offering a platform on one of London’s chicest and historic luxury brand locales.
 The show runs until October 11. Caroline’s work can also be seen at The Other Art Fair, The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1 until October 17.

Esteemed clothing company Pringle of Scotland is

Tribute by Robin Dutt

When Charlie Watts died in August at the age of 80, a music journalist expressed what surely all had thought for a long time. Not so much that the Rolling Stones would never be the same again (which is self-evident) but more importantly, did we ever imagine that it would be the “quiet one” of the group who would sail forth first? Many writers and observers have identified the fact that Watts, with his innate calm and cool, made all the others in the band look like they might not have to be quite so “out there”.  The contrast was striking.

Too Cool for School? Mr Watts would have probably disagreed. Every drummer in every group suffers, perhaps, from the same fate. His equipment, whilst being the essential blood-beat, acts also as partial barrier and fortress whereas the others can leap about to their hearts’ content with their stringed axes or saxes. And they are always standing, dancing or rushing about, whereas the drummer must, for the most part, occupy a disc of a seat, trammelling meaning through sticks and skins but for the main part, hidden by the paraphernalia. But there was a time (brief as it was) that the whole band (like The Beatles) did indeed wear practically matching suits and a Cuban-heeled boot was also not far away. Early 60s television stills will bear this out. But it was Watts who unwaveringly sported a suit – then and throughout his near 60-year tenure in what has been described as the greatest rock band in the world.

When it came to his sense of dress, it is not difficult to understand why he has been lauded for his exquisite sense of sartorial style. For example, Savile Row’s William Dege recalls encountering this dandified figure as a boy of 12 and noticing how transfixed Watts was about material and how much he enjoyed and engaged with the identity of a tailoring establishment. At the time, the cutter was making a replica of an Army Flying Corp service dress coat. It is a given in sartorial circles that garments with a military or equestrian past are more than referential to the lore of Savile Row and tailors of note the world over. Whilst Mick Jagger’s suits were really, on most occasions, glam showstoppers – some even reminiscent of the gloss and deliberate femininity of Marc Bolan’s satins and velvets – Charlie Watts’ threads were slicingly traditional and purposefully plain. But plain need not mean dull and in Watts’ case they never were. The double-breasted coat became synonymous with his style – neat, encased, formal and ready for all occasions. However smart a single-breasted example might be, the double has the edge and with a slightly wider lapel – not comically cut, of course, nor experimentally, this gives a new and well-found gravitas to a classic in the wardrobe and a garment to rely upon. It is almost impossible to look slovenly in a well-fitted, buttoned up double-breasted coat with minimal float.

But even Bolan started off as a Mod and the Mods were known for their take on English tailoring – ultra fitted and with spareness of cut being the central feature – much like the minet youth movement of France – the closest equivalent. And Watts, who was introduced to tailoring by his father in the form of a visit to a traditional, Jewish East End tailor, never forgot the language and power of a well cut and appointed suit. And this simple idea can look even more radical when pitched against floaty silk blouses and velvet loons, or tumbledown denim with rips and tie-dye ethnic-inspired tunics – worn in all seriousness – by men. Charlie Watts always said that he did not fit in with the rest of the Stones on the dress issue and, although there are indeed images of him at the drums in precise, minimal T-shirts, when younger, he did drum in a suit. Watts owned over 200 suits and bought lavishly but with good taste from tailors such as Tommy Nutter and Chittleborough & Morgan and whilst eschewing the soft ‘shoe’ shuffle of his bandmates love of casual footwear (he loathed trainers) patronised the internationally feted George Cleverley. Now, in this latter case, anyone who has beheld a Cleverley masterpiece will understand its seduction. I once bought a pair of vintage Cleverley’s with the original trees, which were not my size. But, as sculpture for the book shelf, they were a constant reminder of elegance and the craftsmanship of a seasoned artisan.

Each tailor, each shoemaker of any worth surely has his hallmark and the discerning customer is very quick to understand this and to also comprehend what suits him. Perhaps Watts in the annals of rock and roll is nothing new when it comes to choosing suits. Think of what suits have done (after they put away the glitz and glitter) for David Bowie or Bryan Ferry or Robert Palmer come to that (for whom there was no glitz and glitter period).  The direct contrast Watts made with Mick, Ronnie and “Keef” – and, for a time, Bill was more than palpable. It was perhaps predictable that Mick would embrace suiting at some stage and his memorable wedding suit (echoed by bride, Bianca) somehow still looked more costume celebratory than pared-down calm.

At heart, and everyone says it, Watts was a jazz musician and his love of a well-cut suit stemmed from the influences of musicians such as Gene Krupa, Art Blakey and Buddy Rich. Perhaps Nelson Riddle and Frank Sinatra can also be included in the canon of stars who meant something through their precision of presentation. But, then, they came from an age which understood the stage and the need to convey a strident look which was aspired to by countless men who bought expensively – if they could, or on a budget for those who never would be able to. Still, chosen with care, suiting can simply suit most people. Watts believed his taste to be “old fashioned” but this comes with a proviso. Whilst mutton and lamb should not necessarily spring to mind, Watts was aware that a middle-aged man (or older) does not put on the clothes of a twenty-something year old – and be taken seriously. This is helped, of course, if one’s original choice was never loud or brash in the first place. Sir Hardy Amies was a keen advocate, trumpeting about never being too tight or too fashionable and favoured the wearing of “appropriate clothes”. Watts would surely have understood this stance. Joe Morgan (of Chittleborough & Morgan) refers to Watts’ innate style of glamour – which is not only appropriate when describing female, visual charm alone.

“Mr Watts always knew what he wanted. He liked a structured look with a masculine chest, crisp shoulder line and a narrow waist. He enjoyed his clothes and chose to wear suits to represent himself in the best possible way.” And, crucially, Morgan finishes with – “He was the epitome of tailored elegance.”

And, as ever when it comes to bespoke tailoring, where one “bespeaks (or speaks for) the cloth”, it is the subtle, personal details which count. The customer, of course can have anything that is cuttable and sew-able but if he is a sensible and sentient man, he will never ignore the advice of his tailor – which is given because of years of training and a bank of knowledge. It is not simply a matter of fit but personality too and, at the very base, the functionality of a garment that counts the most.

With his love of a well-constructed suit, it may be surprising to know that Watts never wore excellent bespoke second-hand vintage suits – even if they fitted him and were in pristine condition. And it has nothing to do with a stigma or indeed the fact that they may come with some family curse or other. We still, after all, use the term, “dead men’s shoes” to describe vintage or even charity finds which seem to cast a clinging, superstitious shadow. Watts’ point was that the wearer had to make the garment his – from the first. But, of course, one can (and should) be inspired by the past. It’s a rich country where indeed, things were done differently when it comes to the world of tailoring of the first order.

Alexis Petridis, writing in The Guardian very soon after Watts’ death, refers to this ultimate drummer as possessing “unshowy brilliance”.

No-one would – or could – disagree.


Tribute by Robin Dutt When Charlie Watts died

By Robin Dutt

I think that I have really had only two hats in my life. I mean professionally. Others simply didn’t fit – or if they did, only for a limited time and I grew out of them – or they of me.

As readers of this magazine might know, I have dedicated much of my life to sartorial expression and conveying the works of tailors, writers, painters and the like who have contributed so much to Savile Row and its perception. The other ‘hat’ is my life as a curator. One might divine that in many ways, both are aspects of artistic expression.

Some time ago, I was approached to create an exhibition celebrating colour, to honour the artistic contribution of an internationally renowned and loved painter/gallerist, Halima Nalecz, pictured above, in whose memory The Church Commissioners are pleased to dedicate a plaque in recognition of her tireless work over decades, encouraging, especially young artists and in many cases giving them their first shows. The site of her gallery was Porchester Place, W2 and this celebration of her work, by happy chance, is taking place opposite this.

But there is another aspect to this story. I had known Halima when the Drian (named after the experimental painter, Mondrian) her famous gallery, was a central London feature, something that emerged in the initial planning conversations.

I remember that first meeting with her very well. I was somehow drawn (the reason is easy enough to understand, given the brilliance of the work) to a painting by John Bellany in the window as I sauntered by one sueded evening.

For a moment, mesmerised by the painter’s colours and subject matter, I did not see an elegant figure in the doorway, about to shut up shop. And then, in an unmistakable drawl which some might say was reminiscent of Zaza Gabor (or so I seem to recall) ‘You really should buy zat painting’. It was Halima Nalecz, as I would later come to know.

There was life and spirit, expression, and intent in the use of bright, energetic colour – no matter the subject chosen

And I really should have. But with a number – and three noughts after it on the accompanying sticker, that wasn’t going to happen. But this well-dressed lady was persuasive and said quite directly that it was an important work which I would never regret buying.

 It is and I do.

After that, I attended many of Halima’s private views – swirling occasions where the well-heeled and the artistically not so, mingled for a very Polish-style vernissage with wine flowing (very important) and a table groaning with Continental-style goodies. The works on show were always interesting and featured now very significant and respected names in the art world such as, Michael Sandle RA, John Pelling, William Crozier and indeed, John Bellany amongst so many more. Household names, one might say – in certain households of appreciation, that is. ‘I believe in the medicine of colours’ she once said in an interview about why she painted herself (bold, beautiful blooms) and also sought out the brightly-hued creations of others.

There was life and spirit, expression, and intent in the use of bright, energetic colour – no matter the subject chosen, whether a portrait or an explosion of flowers, a landscape or an architecturally abstract work. She was one of the most dedicated gallery owners of her and any time. And of course, passion was the root of it all.

And so, ‘Kaleidoscope – A Celebration of Colour’, brings together a huge talent base of young and well-established artists whom I called upon in the grey days of various Covid Lock Downs and relaxations of, to consider being part of this show.

Some 30 or so are included, such as Andrew Flint Shipman, famed for his almost neon-coloured flowers and motifs, David Begbie who has on display, wire mesh, optic nudes in bright hues, Annie Sherburne, celebrated for her textile works, Raphael Klein who stuns with his almost laval, metallic scenes and Lennie Lee who is known for his gargantuan, boldly coloured portraits.  Andrew Gadd always delights with his soulful portraits in atmospheric, shadowy tones.

Others in the show, feature, Antonio Pacitti, Carl le Blond, Graham Hunter, Andrew Prior, Kate Plumb, Theo Platt, Tommy Seaward, Sarah Morgan and the late Howard Morgan, one of the finest portrait painters and landscape artists of recent times.

The emphasis is on the dance, the joy of colour – however interpreted.

 I am delighted to have brought, through all this talent, vibrant rainbows of diverse, surprising, and most enjoyable intent.

The exhibition takes place at 14 Porchester Place, WC2 from Thursday September 9 – Sunday, October 10, from 10am-6pm. More detail here

Picture: © Estate of Bob Collins / National Portrait Gallery, London

By Robin Dutt I think that I have

Report by Daniel Evans

It was, by any standards, a remarkable achievement. The chances of holding a successful Golden Shears 2021 – often called the Oscars of the tailoring industry – looked pretty remote at the beginning of the year. Where would they be held? When would the judging be done? How would the entries be put together?

But it was a challenge taken on with gusto by Golden Shears chairman Simon Cundey. “February would have been the Golden Shears but we had to think a little bit outside the box this time round,” he says. “We are talking about the most prestigious award in craft tailoring and we wanted it to be the best it could be.”

Simon went on: “It’s been a very unusual year – in fact it’s been a very unusual two years. I can safely say that in my lifetime, the last year has been the toughest Savile Row has been through. For the Golden Shears, we filmed the judging taking place and streamed the announcement of the winners live online. All the winners impressed me. They showed a diversity of colour, a diversity of style and had some great characters who can go on to do great things for the companies they’re with or even a chance to do something themselves.”

Top of the pile this year was Richard Anderson’s Tom Carr. “I was in the pub watching the stream on a laptop with six of my mates from the trade,” he recalls. “It was great. I was elated. It was a genuine moment of shock and it was lovely to share that with friends who I have worked with and known since I started seven years ago.”

Tom’s entry was inspired by his grandfather who used to work in the engine rooms of cargo ships. “I entered a siren suit – a one-piece overall garment, popularised in the Second World War when people would hastily go to bunkers. It is something you put on quickly but look smart in as well. I added a despatch rider-inspired overcoat as my second garment. Because the siren suit had a military theme, I wanted my second garment to complement that. The overcoat doesn’t look like a replica piece – it is inspired by some key distinct features, but I gave it a bit more modern pizzazz with the cut and cloth choice.”

Tom decided to work in tailoring after looking into becoming an architect. “I did some work experience in architecture, realised it wasn’t for me so I asked myself: ‘What do I want? OK, I want nice suits, so do I either get a job and buy them in time or do learn how to make them?’

“Learning how to make them seemed more direct so I did my first work experience when I was 16. I would fall behind on my A level coursework but decided this is what I want to do. I was offered a month’s trial at Richard Anderson in September 2014 and I have been here ever since. In fact, in my first months, I actually appeared on Savile Row Style Magazine, posing in front of a Morgan car. I’ve now had my own book of customers for three years. I want to keep making more garments and build up a personal style. I want to make more clothes that I like to wear. I have zero reservations about coming into this industry. I adore it. You don’t realise before you get into the trade how wonderful it is.”

Runner-up and winner of the Silver Shears was Maurice Sedwell’s Judith Ekblom Jarrold whose entry was a male ensemble reimagined for women. “I made a female version of a morning suit – the traditional striped trousers, dove-grey waistcoat and then the morning coat but made for a woman,” she explains. “I made the waistcoat trousers as a jumpsuit so all-in-one and slightly changed some of the style details of the jacket to make it a bit more modern. I don’t see any reason why a woman can’t wear the same things as a man and for it to be flattering and something they enjoy wearing.”

Judith is now general manager at Maurice Sedwell which she joined via the Savile Row Academy. “I enjoy the variety of my job, being able to make stuff that people really want but can’t buy on the high street. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I’d like to be a part of changes that are going to happen on Savile Row – bringing more women in (customers as well as tailors) and bringing the industry into the 21st century. We love the traditions of Savile Row and we mustn’t lose them but we should also start to try and modernise and change the way that we work to suit the world we live in now. My silver medal is proof that people do like to see the traditional stuff reimagined.”

John Pickering, a trainee at Dege & Skinner, was delighted to be chosen as Rising Star in the awards. “I was watching at home with some friends and couldn’t really believe it when my name was read out,” he says. “I made trousers, a coat and a cape in tartan. It used a lot of material. There was lots of cloth and I wanted it to look dramatic when it came out on the runway. It’s definitely a winter outfit.”

Simon Cundey was clearly a relieved man when the awards were presented at a special event held at The Service on Savile Row one evening in the middle of August but felt some of the enforced changes this year could be incorporated in the future. “Covid taught us a few things about doing the event at a bigger scale,” he said. “We put together a film which we could send out and show people what was going on. And streaming the event live is something we could continue. Individual colleges could have a party on the night and stream the event so the next generation can see what Golden Shears is about. Having this moment when we had to think out of the box to make this event a success, we have opened up a few new avenues which we can explore and add into the next production.

“Going forward, we’d hope to return to hosting the event at The Merchant Taylors’ Hall in Threadneedle Street. We would have the parents, the entrants and the trade all in one place and have the excitement of having the rapport of the crowd. Just like any sport, it is a driven event where you need impact. When your trade entrant is going down the walkway, you want that roar of applause and when the winner is announced, you want their supporters to go crazy – you want the mother to go crazy and the father to be so proud and that’s what the moment is – that’s something we’ve really missed this year.”

Simon, who is managing director at Henry Poole & Co, was full of praise for the work and effort put in by the judges. There are ten – five on the technical side and five who look at the style of the entries. This year, the technical judges were Joe Morgan from Chittleborough & Morgan, Brigitte Steppputtis from Vivienne Westwood, Jonathan Becker from Couch & Hoskin, Leon Powell from Anderson & Sheppard and Davide Taub from Gieves & Hawkes. The style judges were Daisy Knatchbull, founder of The Deck, journalist and creative strategist Aleks Cvetkovic, presenter and illustrator Lilah Parsons, TV presenter Dave Berry and Tom Chamberlin, editor-in-chief of The Rake magazine.

Simon explained: “We take the garments to the five technical judges. First, they evaluate the sketching and the style, second, they look at the pattern so what you see on paper in terms of design is formatted into the pattern and, finally, they look at how the pattern has arrived in the final garment. That adds up to 50 per cent of the marks. The other 50 per cent comes from the style judges who look at the garments from a fashion point of view.”

And Simon was quick to thank the partners and supporters of the Golden Shears – The Pollen Estate, owner of the majority of buildings on Savile Row, The Merchant Taylors’ Company and The Drapers’ Company, CAPITB Trust and The Textile Institute. “Without their invaluable support, we would not be able to hold the event,” said Simon. “We depend on their backing.”

Simon has seen the awards develop since they began back in 1974. He says: “Golden Shears has become a lot more creative with brighter, bolder colours. You can’t just turn up with a two-piece suit – there has to be a little twist to it. A lot of it is taking something from the past and tweaking it for the future. When Golden Shears was started by Robert Bright, it was all about the classic, fitted look but now you have the avant-garde-ness that really generates it but it’s done with taste. Everything is styled and crafted to the highest quality.”

To celebrate the awards at The Service, the drinks were sponsored by Savile Row Gin whose MD Stewart Lee said: “We are delighted to support this event and congratulations to the winners. On behalf of the company, we would like to present each of the winners with a bottle of Savile Row Gin.”

Report by Daniel Evans It was, by any

OenoHouse, the London flagship commercial space for the fine wine investment company OenoGroup, has launched as an elegant fine wine boutique with tasting room and outside alfresco terrace.

Branded as an intimate space in the heart of the city, OenoHouse will be a top fine wine shop where wine lovers can sample and buy rare and iconic wines from all over the world.

Led by a team of international wine experts, it will welcome a rotation of pop-up appearances from some of their favourite brands such as Penfolds, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, and Liber Pater which will attract fine wine collectors and consumers alike.

Wines served at the launch included Château Haut-Brion, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Latour and Château Margaux.

OenoHouse is run by an all-female team. Newly appointed General Manager Luisa Martinello, former Manager of Harrod’s wine shop, is joined by Assistant General Manager Katerin D’Alfonso who was former head sommelier at Browns Hotel.

And lest you were wondering, Oeno (pronounced “Oh-Way-No”) is named after oenology (the study of wine or “oinos” from Ancient Greek).

OenoHouse, the London flagship commercial space for