Withstanding Real Estate Developers and Faddish Fashion, London's Legendary Street of Tailors Survives with Its Traditional Stylings Intact
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Hayward's tastefully appointed shop is a few steps across Berkeley Square from the Row itself, just down the street from the Connaught Hotel. An affable manner, a meticulous eye, technical expertise and a rare ability to interpret a customer's sartorial wishes undoubtedly account for his success. Left to his own stylistic insights, he would prefer a soft-shouldered coat with discriminating shaping. Douglas Hayward is a traditionalist with a sense of flair. Suits from £1,400 ($2,100), sports jackets £1,250 ($1,875), dinner suits £1,600 ($2,400).
H. Huntsman & Sons Ltd. 11 Savile Row (44-171-734-7441)
H. Huntsman is an advocate of the "long elegant line," which means the firm attempts to make its customers just a bit taller and thinner: Single-button fronts on single-breasted coats are popular here, with higher gorge and armhole, a smallish shoulder, subtle waist suppression and flair in the skirt. A slightly longer coat length adds to the line. Two-piece suits from £1,800 ($2,700), tweed sports jackets £1,300 ($1,950), cashmere blazers at £2,000 ($3,000).
Kilgour, French & Stanbury 8 Savile Row (44-171-734-6905)
Kilgour, French & Stanbury offers a silhouette somewhat between Anderson & Sheppard and H. Huntsman: modest shaping at the waistline, medium shoulder and perhaps just a hint of skirting. The sort of clothes that Cary Grant might have worn--and did! The firm also incorporates the renowned equestrian/hunting tailor Bernard Weatherill, whose hacking jackets for informal riding at £950 ($1,425) in classic British tweeds are veritable poems of the genre.
Henry Poole and Co. 15 Savile Row (44-171-734-5985)
The original Henry Poole set up shop on the Row in 1846, and the firm has been cutting clothes for Americans since 1851 (J. Pierpont Morgan was a loyal customer). In the nineteenth century, the firm had such a prestigious clientele, including the future King Edward VII (then Prince of Wales), Prince Louis Napoléon, Disraeli, Lord Cardigan, the Czar of Russia and Baron Nathan Meyer Rothschild, that its motto was said to be, "We are Poole's, the rest are merely puddles."
Today, the illustrious tradition of classical moderation in cut continues: a decidedly diplomatic international silhouette, slimming and subtle, as much at home on Bond or Wall Street as on the Ginza. Elegant and understated town suits from £1,286 ($1,929), topcoats £987 ($1,481) in worsted and £1,672 ($2,508) in cashmere, and tuxedo dining suits £1,558 ($2,337) in a perfect 10-ounce mohair-barathea cloth.
G. Bruce Boyer is the author of Eminently Suitable (W.W.Norton, 1990).