When James Sherwood's brilliant book on bespoke
tailoring called The London Cut
came out in 2007, to accompany a Savile Row
exhibition at Palazzo Pitti in Florence
, we regretted only that it was in softcover and such a small format. Now Rizzoli
has rectified that with a suitably statuesque volume by Sherwood expanding on the subject, lavishly illustrated and encyclopedic in scope. Bespoke: The Men's Style of Savile Row
begins with the opening of Henry Poole & Co.
in 1806 and follows the illustrious history of London
's custom tailoring tradition. Famous adherents of 'The Row' through the years from Fred Astaire, Cary Grant
, the Duke of Windsor
and Winston Churchill
to latter-day dandies like Prince Charles
, Mick Jagger
and David Beckham
are also discussed.
From its rather humble beginnings Sherwood discusses Savile Row's role in tailoring
for the sporting set, the military and Royalty
, the phenomenal influence the houses have had in the sartorial style of the silver screen - where else would James Bond
get his threads? - the Row's evolution as "bespoke" was challenged by the mod rock & roll fashion revolution, and its embrace of fashion-forward newcomers like Tommy Nutter, Richard James and Ozwald Boateng
, leading a revival of an art form that looked at one time to be doomed to obsolescence, now flourishing in its 200th year.
The style of each of the street's premier tailors is presented in detail along with the immeasurable impact Savile Row style has had on the work of international designers like Ralph Lauren
, Giorgio Armani
, and Tom Ford
, who contributed a foreword to the book. "English gentlemen's tailoring, and in particular the tailoring of Savile Row, really set the standard for the way the stylish 20th-century man dressed," Ford writes. "This English style, in fact, became the international style for well-dressed men all over the world, and this influence has not waned even in today's more casual world. I suppose that when it comes to men's clothes I am an Anglophile and if I did not design my own men's collection, I would have virtually my entire wardrobe made on Savile Row."