Connect with:

Standard Blog Whole Post

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,

By Robin Dutt

A mutual passion for motorcars is what brought Ben Cussons and Henry Poole together. He is a racing driver and Chairman of the RAC Motoring Committee, and both Angus and his son Simon Cundey of Poole are, to say the least, keen on cars.

“I’ve known Simon for some time, “ said Cussons. “Poole has a close relationship with Goodwood, as does the RAC, and Simon comes to the Goodwood meetings. This Spring, RAC members were invited to join in the prestigious 72nd Members’ Meeting of the Goodwood Road Racing Club, and for such an occasion, Simon suggested a new suit was warranted.”

And so Cussons joined David Gandy in being kitted out in a driving suit that should never see an oily rag near it. Made in the sort of sturdy, warm cloth that makes driving an open-top in British weather comfortable, Cussons is so delighted with his new three-piece suit that he has been won over to the joys of bespoke.

“My father had his suits made in Savile Row but I’ve not really felt the need for bespoke – until now. This is just so fantastic to wear, that I’m definitely going to order another.”

Based upon the styling used for a driving outfit Poole made for King Edward Vll, it has been suitably updated, with the addition of a mobile phone pocket. Made in a Glen Royal 14oz check from the Harrisons of Edinburgh range, it shows its country influence with the shooting pleats at the back, and its lovat and lilac colouring. Such colours are traditionally favoured for shooting clothes, to blend in with the countryside and so the game can’t see the hunter.

Cussons arrived at Poole’s in his splendid C-type Jag, the sports motor that he races, and which had passers-by stopping to photograph it. A well known and committed racer, he took part in the Collins Trophy race at Goodwood members’ meeting, up against Aston Martin, Ferrari and Maserati legends, finishing a creditable near third.

By Robin Dutt A mutual passion for motorcars

By Robin Dutt

Girls the world over would undoubtedly say that Mr David Gandy is a very nice man, and indeed he is. As the male celebrity of the moment, feted and photographed wherever he goes, seen at all the best parties and in all the gossip pages, it might be expected that he had become just a touch removed, a little precious, but not a bit of it.

He managed to cause no little excitement in Savile Row recently, when being fitted for his latest suit at Henry Poole. Posing outside the tailor’s beside a rather special 1952 C-type Jaguar sports car, he even had some other tailors, noted for being singularly unimpressed by celebrities, coming out to catch a snap of him – though admittedly, the Jag might have been the main attraction for some male passers-by.

He is that rarity – a hit with the ladies and yet very much a man’s man, a good bloke. And even rarer in the modelling world, he has the sort of physique usually associated with a boxer, broad shouldered and narrow hipped, a muscular figure that makes the stick insect shapes of other young male models look as hapless as their female counterparts.

The Poole suit, still at the fitting stage, showed this off to advantage. The bespoke cut fits the shoulders naturally, then the jacket whittles to his enviably trim waistline, with a Norfolk pleat back giving freedom of movement for his muscular top. Ready-to-wear would never do such justice.

It was being fitted in time to be worn at the Goodwood members’ meeting this Spring, which he was attending with Simon Cundey of Poole, both passionate about cars.

“I have lots of Savile Row suits,” Gandy volunteered. “I just love the feel of them and the way they look. I am very supportive of British craftsmanship and believe it deserves more honour in its own country. Rather than letting foreign investors take over our top British firms, there should be more investment here. It makes economic sense.”

In one of his many sidelines, he has written fulsomely on this theme, most recently in a Daily Telegraph article that attracted a high response. He also makes the point that British consumers can do their bit.

“Not just in clothes but in other areas, consumers can help British businesses and support traditional crafts like Savile Row simply by buying British.”

He has been a customer at Henry Poole for two and half years, and likes a certain fairly traditional style. For this latest outfit, he chose a cloth from the new Hardy Minnis range, in the Worsted Alsport collection, designed especially for town and country wear.

Since winning a modelling competition on TV in 2001, Gandy has modelled for all kinds of top international brands. But he sent a million female hearts aflutter when he appeared in the memorable Dolce & Gabbana campaign in 2007, modelling underwear, and since then has chalked up a raft of industry awards, magazine covers, fashion projects and writing assignments, and managed to find time to support various good causes.

One of these is as patron and foster carer for the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. “I’d love to have a dog but it just hasn’t been right up till now, with all the travelling I’ve been doing. But I’ve now got a nice old Victorian house with a garden, and the dog I’m fostering at present is so special, the time may just be right…”

David Gandy’s suit is in a brown herringbone with a double brown window check, a 12 oz weight, with the jacket showing Norfolk-style shooting pleats at the back to allow him ease of movement when driving.

By Robin Dutt Girls the world over would

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