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By Marie Scott

The word Icon has become much over-used in modern parlance, rather like Hero. But it might well be attributed to the three tailors featured here, who have each retained considerable stature over the years. Interestingly, they are all based outside of Savile Row.

Edward Sexton came into the spotlight in the Swinging Sixties, as the technical wizard working alongside Tommy Nutter. During that decade and into the 1970s, he came to mix with a new younger clientele seeking bespoke clothing and unstuffy service. Like Tommy, he mixed with the showbiz crowd, with newly enriched sportsmen, and others keen to embrace more interesting, even flamboyant men’s styling.

And he has continued to attract such clients, not just as customers but as friends, both male and female. Now based in the bijou thoroughfare of Beauchamp Place in Knightsbridge, he remains passionate about tailoring, is something of a work-acoholic, and eager to get to work every day.“I love it,” he says. “I don’t think l have worked a day because I enjoy it so much. I certainly have no intention of stepping down.”

Like many tailors of his generation, he came into tailoring straight from school. His father had been a tailor, his mother a dressmaker, so even before leaving school he was helping in workshops in the school holidays and always wanted to be in the trade.“When I was 13, it was the time of the Teddy Boys, of drape suits and tapered trousers. I used to hide from my mother to taper mine.”

This early interest in style has stayed with him, evident in his own appearance and fed by his engagement with the new and with young trends. Early training at Kilgour, French & Stanbury, and Welsh & Jefferies, coupled with a healthy business in moonlighting, honed his early talent.“I was married, had a young family, and I kept busy. It all helped develop my own style, which I have retained over the years. It is based upon a riding hacking jacket, waisted, with a flared skirt, long.”

And this is the look he took with him into partnership with Tommy Nutter. Swinging London was at its height, rock stars, the artistic crowd, and other young men wanted to look good, and to have bespoke tailoring that embraced the new fashions of Carnaby Street and Kings Road. Cometh the hour, cometh Tommy and Edward.

“It was lots of fun,” he says now, with a grin. “We worked very long hours but were very successful. We got to know everyone on the scene.”

They developed a totally different look to the traditional Savile Row style – and became celebrities in their own right. Their shop on the Row set the trend by opening up their shop window and having window displays – hitherto unknown exposure here.

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“We changed Savile Row,” he maintains. “There started to be through traffic, we attracted passing trade. It broke down the old tradition of customers having to be recommended.”

As is the way of things, the partnership eventually split in the mid ‘70s. The on-going problem of leases in the Row finally saw Edward leave there and set up business in Beauchamp Place in 1990, an exclusive little road hard by Harrods, with couturiers, restaurants, and others catering to a well-heeled clientele.

And here he is today, still attracting a star-studded cast of customers, male and female. He has branched out into ready-to-wear and has an online presence, but bespoke remains his joy and his mainstay. His workroom is full of young apprentices, who he loves training – “its important to pass on knowledge”. And he engages with the young fashion scene and with street fashion.

“I went with my daughter into Primark recently and was really interested in some of the patterns, the ways they have of cutting there. I’m still learning!”

 

 

 

 

 

By Marie Scott The word Icon has become

By James Turner

Champagne is gushing all over the place as the London season builds up a head of bubbles. For many, many years, this annual summertime jamboree has been a frenetic combination of sporting events and formal do’s where mothers have tried to offload their daughters, all accompanied by a veritable tsunami of fizz.

A ‘London Season’ website, however, provides a somewhat more limited list of engagements. This is registered to the Al Tamimi Investments Company, a Dubai-based holdings company, which appears to be preoccupied with balls, etiquette, and more balls.

Modelled on the Queen Charlotte’s Ball, that once saw young debutantes ‘coming out’ and being presented to the Queen, similarly grand occasions have been taking place around the world, in Shanghai, Dubai, Morocco, Oman, Italy, and India, as well as in London, organised by the ‘London Season’ body. They are providing the opportunity for a new generation of international would-be ‘debs’ to strut their stuff. The Queen brought the London deb presentations to an end in 1958.

Just in case some may feel their social skills are not quite up to the mark for these new presentations, the website also offers a ‘London Season Academy’, to provide tutorage in etiquette, under the expert guidance of a clutch of minor royals.

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Happily, it doesn’t all add up to just a load of balls but benefits a number of charities, and, as in the mission statement on the site, is destined to ‘carry on British traditions and promote etiquette’.

Rather more rumbustious fare may be found at The Derby, a Season fixture on June 7, traditionally seen as a Londoner’s day out. Charabancs set off from London at an early hour for the Epsom racecourse, and trains are packed with more punters, intent upon having a Jolly Good Time, and occasionally looking at the horses.

Henley Royal Regatta, along the Thames on July 2 – 6, is rather more refined. It provides the setting for messing about in boats and sees gentlemen resplendent in boaters and blazers, with a variety of parties where the champers flows.

Royal Ascot, June 17-21, is a favourite with tailors, as new punters each year order morning suits for the occasion. They are required attire for the Royal Enclosure, as part of strict code of dress rules. Alas, many young ladies attending the event now look more appropriately dressed for a disco than Ascot, but it remains a wonderful occasion for both sexes to show off and consume much champagne.

seasonhuntsmanBy contrast, the Chelsea Flower Show, May 20-24, attracts those more prone to Barbours and wellies, though ladies may go for the Laura Ashley look. Glorious Goodwood, July 29 – Aug 2, is said to be the world’s most beautiful racecourse and is noted for its relaxed elegance. Panama hats and linen suits or jackets are the preferred style for men, with Pimms an alternative to champagne.
Wimbledon, June 23 – July 6, calls for cotton slacks and straw hats if fine, or all-encompassing macs and umbrellas if wet. By virtue of its Royal enthusiasts, the Guards Cartier Queen’s Cup polo at Windsor Great Park, May 20 – June 15, is particularly glamorous in casual dress.

The arts are covered by Glyndebourne Opera Festival, usually black tie, and stretching from mid-May to August 24, and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, June 8 – August 17, which encompasses a variety of styles to take in perceived arty tastes.

All of these and a host of other events in and around London over the Season have accompanying parties and gala evenings. And then, the whole shebang traditionally came to an end on the Glorious 12th of August, which marks the start of the shooting season. In the old days, the gentry returned to their country estates for shooting parties. Plainly, the gentry is not what it was, and though a new breed of shoot enthusiasts has emerged, the 12th no longer means everyone decamps to the country. The Season continues to swing well into autumn.

By James Turner Champagne is gushing all over

“The great thing about a bespoke suit or coat is that you can choose the fabric, say what you want – and then it lasts and lasts – and the tailor will refurbish it for you over the years,” Christopher Maytum enthused, in explaining what has clearly been something of a love affair with Savile Row over many years.

In coats alone, he has had nine made, three of car coat length and six full length. In addition to a wardrobe of suits, he has also had numerous jackets and trousers and jeans made for him , as well as a white jacket for cruise wear, a velvet smoking jacket and a burgundy velvet dressing gown that is the ultimate in seduction habit.

“Yes, I’ve always liked clothes,” he admits, “but they don’t make the man! I started with James & James in 1974 and then transferred to Alan Bennett at Davies & Son when he took over that company.”

Now retired after being something big in the City, he goes for jackets and slacks rather than more suits – although he is having a suit made at present in a thorn proof cloth. “It’s a warm cloth and does well in the country.”

He likes to specify certain details. “I no longer have cuff buttons on jackets. They originated from when cuffs used to be turned back when fighting a duel. Well, if I’m fighting a duel, I want to be able to turn them right back, without buttons.” He is non-committal about when a duel might be taking place.

He also likes skin tight trousers, and has been known to bring fabric back from Mexico to be used for belt loops. “I did wonder whether I might have a Persian lamb collar on a coat at one time but Alan didn’t seem keen. He brought out a nice silk velvet that he had been saving and told me that would look good. And I of course agreed.”

“The great thing about a bespoke suit

With mad hair standing on end, like a darker version of comedian Ken Dodd’s, and a gravelly Mancunian voice that is as arresting as Richard Burton’s, John Cooper Clarke is the quintessential figure of an eccentric English poet but one that has inspired some of Britain’s more outrageous bands, including The Sex Pistols.

He has been a performing poet since the 1970s, appearing alongside such as the Fall, Souxsie and the Banshees, Elvis Costelloe and the Sex Pistols, released albums, published a book, been in films and videos, and had his poems featured by the Arctic Monkeys.

Despite, or perhaps because of, frequenting such company, Clarke turns out to be a thoroughly down-to-earth guy, funny, sharp and stylish.

“I’ve always loved clothes,” he said, “but had trouble finding any that coped with my long thin body and long thin legs. And then in the ‘80s, I used to see this fella. Tom, in Manchester, who had a similar figure, with the long thin legs. And he used to wear these great styles and I asked him where he got them. And he told me he made them himself.”

Fast forward a few years and both tailor and poet were by then in London, bumping into one another at various gigs. And it came to pass that Clarke became a customer of the tailor’s burgeoning business, Sir Tom Baker in Soho.

“I love his stuff,” says Clarke. “I can’t always afford it but I’ve got some great jackets and overcoats he’s made.” And he very much supports the bespoke ethos and the craftsmanship that goes into it.

“Some people look upon Savile Row and its bespoke standards as elitist, that bespoke is just for rich people. But it is a craft and the people making the clothes are not rich, but workers who deserve to be well paid for their talent.”

He goes for lean, fitted jackets, as here in velvet, and skinny trousers, with exuberant shirts for his on-stage appearances. He performs gigs around the country, and there are plans in the pipeline for one in London, and perhaps one at Tom Baker’s shop.

With mad hair standing on end, like

By Diana Butler

“I dare,” said Arnuad Bamberger, executive chairman of Cartier. “Not too much but a little.”

He was talking about his personal take on styling at his office above the shop in London’s Bond Street, and revealing that although he goes very much for a classic, sober look in suits there is usually a little quirk or detail that adds a spark.
“I like unusual linings, for example. For the suits I am just having made, I have chosen some really unusual linings. One is patterned with diamonds – it goes well with Cartier, doesn’t it? Of course, it is hidden, no one else sees it, but I know.”

He came to London over 20 years ago to become M.D. of Cartier UK, and has seen turnover here triple under his stewardship. He was appointed executive chairman in 2010.

In that time, he has been a loyal customer of tailor John Kent, and though he tried a number of others during the period a few years back when Kent was not well, he returned to him as soon as the tailor was back at work. “I am loyal,” he says. “And John knows me, he knows what I like. All my shirts are made by his partner, Stephen Lachter, and monogrammed, and I know I can always get advice from Terry (Haste, the third partner in Kent, Haste & Lachter) if John is not there.”

Bamberger admits to being a bit of a shopaholic – “I buy too much” – and likes the Anderson & Sheppard accessories shop, particularly for sweaters, and the Ralph Lauren emporium that is opposite Cartier.

But bespoke is his preference. “I like the classicism, the attention to detail that tailors give, the cuff buttons that open, the pocket linings that I can specify. I like a long jacket, I don’t like short. I go for peaked lapels but with a single breasted style. I like double vents.

“I only wear a white pocket handkerchief. I’ve got thousands of coloured silks but I don’t wear them anymore. I just think white is more chic.”

Reluctant to admit to just how many bespoke suits he has in his wardrobe, he volunteers that he has three or four made a year, “with perhaps a couple of extra items.” There are tweed suits for the country, and of course dress wear. “There are lots of black tie occasions in this country, so I have a lot of dinner jackets. Sometimes I go for quite risque ones, as a coloured silk style, but never too much. And I love frogging fastening.”

A tall, elegant man with impeccable Gallic charm, he is surrounded in his office by photographs that are a testament to his crowded social life, taken at all the best parties and events, with all kinds of notables, and most particularly the Queen. Not many who work above the shop will have had the privilege of riding with Her Majesty in her carriage along the fairway at Royal Ascot.

By Diana Butler “I dare,” said Arnuad Bamberger,