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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Gieves & Hawkes 1 Savile Row (44-171-434-2001)
Housed in a Georgian building at the head of the Row, G&H's home was, throughout much of the nineteenth century, the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society, frequented by most of the great Victorian explorers. It was here, in the first-floor main room, that the body of David Livingstone lay in state before burial in Westminster Abbey.
Thomas Hawkes had been a military tailor, James Watson Gieves a naval outfitter (between them they dressed both Wellington and Nelson). A mere quarter century ago the two firms merged, combining a total of 210 years tailoring experience, and today, Gieves & Hawkes arguably boasts the most beautiful men's store in London. The firm's custom-made suits (they also do semi-custom and ready-wear) have a moderately shaped silhouette with a nipped waist, a somewhat filled shoulder and a slightly longer jacket. Three-piece suits from £1,900 ($2,850), sports jackets £950 ($1,425), trousers £450 ($675), three-piece tuxedos at £2,000 ($3,000).
Douglas Hayward Ltd. 95 Mount Street (44-171-499-5574)
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).
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