Withstanding Real Estate Developers and Faddish Fashion, London's Legendary Street of Tailors Survives with Its Traditional Stylings Intact
G. Bruce Boyer
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96
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Anderson & Sheppard Ltd. 30 Savile Row (44-171-734-1420)
Customers included everyone from Rudolph Valentino and Fred Astaire to the current Prince of Wales. A&S does the softest tailoring on the Row, with a somewhat easy silhouette: a high armhole, natural shoulder, soft chest and ample blade. Its suits are the epitome of the drape style as it was invented by the almost mythic Dutch tailor Frederick Scholte in the 1930s. Too much padding and stiffness in a jacket would be considered deplorable, so these suits have a feeling of airy weightlessness. The firm's ideal is shape with comfort. Excellent for single-breasted and double-breasted town suits and sports jackets (of which the firm has a wonderful range of exclusive tweeds at £900--roughly $1,350). An absolutely-proper-in-every-detail camel hair polo coat can be had for £1,730 ($2,600).
Benson & Clegg Ltd. 9 Piccadilly Arcade (44-171-409-2053)
Started in 1937, the firm was a favorite of King George VI. The silhouette is cosmopolitan, neither rigidly structured nor loose; just that bit of subtle shaping for ease and definition. Two-piece suits from £1,000 ($1,500), cashmere sports jackets from £1,500 ($2,250). B&C is particularly good for evening wear, including the most formal white tie and tails (barathea tailcoat and evening trousers, white pique waistcoat), £1,600 ($2,400), which is something of a specialty.
Dege 10 Savile Row (44-171-287-2941
Dege started as a military and equestrian tailor, and the house style partakes of that tradition: a fitted coat with real shape, defined shoulders, suppressed waist and flared skirt. Dege tailoring is expert in country clothes (for men and women), specializing in three-piece shooting suits in traditional British tweeds, £1,600 ($2,400), and riding suits from £1,250 ($1,875). Town suits, with perceptible hacking style, at £1,315 ($1,975), blazers from £940 ($1,410).
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