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The latest exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum celebrates the work of Tommy Nutter (1943-1992), Savile Row’s rebel tailor.
During the swinging 60s, the understated traditional suits of Savile Row were considered boring and the fashionable flocked to menswear boutiques on Carnaby Street for brightly coloured suits and shirts. When Nutters of Savile Row opened in 1969, the two worlds collided. Rock stars, artists and the stylish embraced Nutter’s bespoke suits because they were fashionable as well as beautifully crafted.
The exhibition includes suits, jackets, sketches and a couple of pieces of knitwear. Some of the suits are very much of their time, made from velvet or satin, with flares and flouncy trim. They are the sort of outfits worn by celebs on those old episodes of Morecombe and Wise. But the Fashion & Textile Museum understands the zeitgeist and these suits feel unexpectedly fresh and exciting.
As well as fans of fashion, tailoring and style, this exhibition is also perfect for music fans as suits have been loaned by stars like Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Cilla Black and Elton John. Nutter made astonishing jumpsuits for Elton’s 80s tours, as well as a coral flared jumpsuit for Neil Sedaka which is amusingly 70s. It says a lot about Nutter’s star-attracting style that one of The Beatles turned up at the exhibition’s private view last night. (Ringo! Very exciting.)
Tommy Nutter is on at the Fashion and Textile Museum from 20 May to 22 October 2011. Adult £8, concessions £5. www.ftmlondon.org