Visit London Blog » savile row Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:31:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sewing in London: A Guide to Sewing Classes, Shops and Museums Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:48:45 +0000 Are you a fan of the BBC TV series The Great British Sewing Bee? Here are some ideas for sewing themed fun in London:

Geffrye Museum

The first series of The Great British Sewing Bee was filmed in Dalston; you can plan your next sewing project with tea and cake at The Other Café and Gallery where the contestants had lunch. From there it’s easy to hop on a bus down to the Geffrye Museum to see the vintage interiors, and then visit the area around Spitalfields market, where you’ll find a hive of independent designers/makers selling beautiful things.

Don’t miss the Sunday Upmarket near Brick Lane, which homes 140 stalls selling crafts, interiors and accessories. Cavernous fabric shop Crescent Trading in Shoreditch also merits exploration.

London Sewing Machine Museum

One episode of the second series included a short film made at the London Sewing Machine Museum. The Tooting-based museum is open on the first Sunday of the month and includes three rooms of gorgeous antique sewing machines and sewing memorabilia. It’s sited above a huge sewing machine shop where you can get your machine repaired or buy a reconditioned one. You’ll also find a big craft shop next door selling fabric, patterns and haberdashery.

One of the finest collection of fashion and textiles in the world can be found at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. As well as the fashion galleries, there are regular fashion exhibitions and you’ll discover beautiful textile items displayed throughout the museum.

If you were inspired by the patternless draping in the second series semi-finals, the V&A has some Vionnet dresses in its collection, but none are currently on display. If you want to see them, you might want to consider a visit to the Clothworkers Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles where you can make an appointment to study items from the national collection of textiles and fashion.

London’s amazing Fashion and Textile Museum has also been featured on the show and has a full schedule of classes and exhibitions devoted to sewing, design and creativity.

Savile Row

Find out more about London’s history of traditional tailoring at Savile Row. Dishy Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant is the creative director of Norton & Sons (established 1821) at Number 16 Savile Row.

You’ll find many sewing classes in London. Some of the best places to take a class include Liberty, Fabrications, Ray Stitch, Sew Over It and The Thrifty Stitcher (where you can take masterclasses run by the Great British Sewing Bee’s sewing producer!).

A shop in Southall

If the modification challenge is more your thing, head to Sew Good in Kilburn. Run by the charity Traid, you can learn to mend and upcycle your valued clothes. If vintage techniques inspire you, check out the classes at The School of Historical Dress. If you’re looking for amazing embroidered trims, have a hunt around the shops in Southall.

Learn how to decorate your projects with goldwork embroidery with a weekend class at Hand & Lock or The Royal School of Embroidery at Hampton Court Palace.

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London Video of the Week: Anatomy of a Suit Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:00:37 +0000

Museum of London‘s Fashion Curator Timothy Long dissects the technical genius of the humble suit in this fascinating video, which is featured as part of the museum’s Anatomy of a Suit exhibition.

If you’ve got a passion for menswear, don’t miss British GQ Editor Dylan Jones’ blog posts on London’s Best Menswear Shops and why Savile Row is the place to be for men’s fashion.

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GQ’s Dylan Jones on London Menswear: Savile Row Mon, 06 Jan 2014 14:00:06 +0000

Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ and chair of London Collections: Men is contributing a series of guest blogs to on why London is the place to be for men’s fashion. 

Savile Row: There is no street more important to the world of menswear than Savile Row. It is here that international menswear designers come when they want to understand the principles of the bespoke suit, here where the international traveller comes when they want to buy the very best tailoring that money can buy.

There is simply no other street like it, nowhere in the world that is so dedicated to men’s clothes. The Row is also more inclusive, more welcoming and more egalitarian than it has ever been. In previous times, the Row was where you went if you were entering “society”, if you were an English gentleman, a man of the cloth or a man of letters. The middle and working classes were only encouraged if they were tradesmen, cutters or chauffeurs. The English class system was one of the strictest in the civilised world, and its manifestation was obvious in Mayfair, not least in Savile Row.

These days, however, the street welcomes the world with beautifully turned pinstripe arms, enveloping a new domestic and international customer. Times have changed, the world has moved on, and Savile Row has finally woken up to the fact that collectively it is one of the most influential fashion hubs in the entire industry.

A decade ago, should you have wandered the Row in search of some retail therapy, and should you have entered the portals of one of the street’s legendary bespoke tailors, you may have been met by an octogenarian gatekeeper who would have sized you up the second you opened your mouth. The cutting rooms would have been quiet, and the process of choosing your suit (the cloth, the cut, the style etc) would have been fairly proscriptive.

Now, though, these rooms are alive with activity, with a new generation of tailor, a new generation of customer, and a sense that far from being part of London’s long established heritage industry, Savile Row is – dare we say it? – hip.

Raise the roof.

London Collections: Men is on 6-8 January 2014

Take a look at our London Menswear Map to explore the evolution of men’s fashion in London during the past 300 years.


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GQ’s Dylan Jones on London Menswear: The Three-Piece Suit Thu, 02 Jan 2014 14:00:21 +0000 A modern interpretation of a 3-piece suit

Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ and chair of London Collections: Men is contributing a series of guest blogs to on why London is the place to be for men’s fashion.

Even more so than the double-breasted suit, the three-piece suit is the most intimidating form of formal daywear. And it was invented in Britain, first adopted by Charles II and then described by Samuel Pepys as “a long Cassocke close to the body, of black cloth, and pinked with white silk under it, and a coat over it, and the legs ruffled with black riband like a pigeon’s leg”.

The three-piece was a business staple during the Eighties, when it was sported by a generation of young bankers who wanted to dress as well as act the part. Most wore boxy off-the-peg numbers, although those who really knew what they were doing had theirs made, sometimes by a Savile Row tailor, but often by “a little man I know in the East End“.

One of the fundamental mistakes that men make when buying a three-piece-suit is not making sure that the waistcoat fully covers the top of the trousers.

Modern practitioners of the suit include Giorgio Armani, Zegna, Tom Ford and Richard James, although all Savile Row tailors have noticed a return to the three piece. For years the suit gave way to the two-piece, as customers opted for a more casual type of dressing, but recently, as an antidote to the effect of Dress Down Friday, those who care about such things have been wearing more and more three-pieces.

As the Wall Street Journal said recently: “The three-piece suit has been asserting itself with increasing frequency on designer runways, as well in the collections of traditionalists. They’re now a fixture of men’s fashion magazine spreads. And they’re popping up more in pop culture, on celebs including Bradley Cooper and Usher, and on TV characters such as Roger Sterling (played by John Slattery) of Mad Men and Patrick Jane (played by Simon Baker) on The Mentalist. They’re even showing up on gangsters in HBO’s period show Boardwalk Empire.

And no one does it better than a Savile Row tailor.

London Collections: Men is on 6-8 January 2014

Take a look at our London Menswear Map to explore the evolution of men’s fashion in London during the past 300 years.


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GQ’s Dylan Jones Looks Forward to January’s London Collections: Men’s Fashion Shows Mon, 30 Dec 2013 14:00:18 +0000 Dylan Jones at GQ's Men of the Year Awards. Photo: Richard Young/ Rex Features

Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ and chair of London Collections: Men is contributing a series of guest blogs to on why London is the place to be for men’s fashion. 

Menswear in London has never been more exciting or more comprehensive, and there has never been so much of it. Men expect great clothes at every price level, be that high street, mid-market, designer, luxury or bespoke. They expect quality at any price – and this is something that London delivers. Whether you are shopping in Bond Street or Shoreditch, whether you are taking your credit card down Lamb’s Conduit Street or to Mount Street, or flitting between Jermyn Street, Regent Street and the Kings Road, there is something for every man.

London is the home of menswear. We invented the suit, and in Savile Row we have the most important men’s shopping street in the world. While the Row has always appealed to the establishment, in the last two decades it has opened itself so much, that it now attracts customers from all four corners. From Gieves & Hawkes at one end, to Richard James at the other, from Anderson & Sheppard round the corner, to Patrick Grant’s Norton & Sons, these days the Row offers not just the best in traditional suiting, it offers the very best in contemporary formal wear.

Then there is Matches menswear in Notting Hill Gate, Hunter Gather in Wigmore Street, Hostem in Shoreditch, and so many more places to get the very best menswear there is. There are more lifestyle choices for men than ever before, more places to buy clothes, and more places to wear them.

Jump in!

London Collections: Men is on 6-8 January 2014

Take a look at our London Menswear Map to explore the evolution of men’s fashion in London during the past 300 years.

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How to Shop on London’s Savile Row Fri, 06 Sep 2013 12:00:46 +0000 Savile Row

Nowhere on earth is more synonymous with male fashion than London’s Savile Row. For two centuries, it’s served as shorthand for the suit,

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and the measuring books of the tailors that line both sides of this short Mayfair street contain the intimate details of figures ranging from Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill to Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, and even the King of Bahrain.

For a long time Savile Row’s association with British aristocracy and the political classes made heading into its slightly fusty tailors – with their mock fireplaces and walls covered with taxidermy – an intimidating prospect. But since the 90s, the Row has undergone a transformation, originally with tailors like Richard James and Ozwald Boateng, and more recently the likes of Nick Tentis and Spencer Hart, bringing fashion to traditional suitmaking. Cast an eye over any of the midnight blue suits walking up the red carpet at the Oscars or Golden Globes, and chances are they were made by Spencer Hart.

Savile Row is reaping the benefits of a movement spearheaded by designers like Tom Ford and Alexander McQueen – both of whom launched bespoke tailoring arms in London this year – which has seen the suit shake off its stuffy associations to become hugely fashionable. And while a bespoke suit is undoubtedly expensive – a two-piece Savile Row suit will set you back upwards of £3,000, depending on its complexity and construction – unless you opt for something particularly outré, it will stay in style for years.

Those who don’t bow to the winds of fashion, and who simply want something beautifully made that flatters their shape, are catered for by Savile Row tailors like Gieves and Hawkes and Huntsman, whose traditions and craftsmanship stretch back more than a century. But the real beauty of Savile Row is that you can commission someone to make whatever you like, whether that’s a simple single-breasted business suit or a diamante tuxedo with crocodile skin pockets. If the latter takes your fancy, then head to Stowers, whose tailors pride themselves on meeting any request, no matter how radical.

The Bespoke Process

1. Commission
The first visit to a bespoke tailor is where you’ll discuss exactly what kind of suit you’re looking for, and for what purpose. This is when you’ll be taken through cloth options, linings, different styles and you’ll meet with your cutter – the person who takes your measurements, and cuts your suit to fit.

2. Construction
The cutter creates a paper pattern, which is passed to a master tailor to handmake a draft of the suit – known as the “baste” stage – which gives a loosely stitched version without pockets or finished details.

3. First fitting
The baste version is adjusted on the client’s body to ensure a perfect fit. At this point, you can still choose to change details like lapel width, buttonhole height or even shoulder length.

4. Second fitting
A more complete version of the suit is measured against the client’s body, and any minor adjustments are marked and sent back to the tailor for changes.

5. Final fitting
The suit is finished and, barring any last minute adjustments that need making, is ready to be taken home.

Tom BanhamTom Banham is a freelance journalist who’s written for GQ, Wired, and the Guardian. He divides his time between Hackney’s warehouse clubs and Kentish Town’s ale pubs.

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London Shopping News: House of Holland, Harrod’s Christmas Shop, Godiva, Harvey Nichols Wed, 31 Jul 2013 12:48:24 +0000 From the opening of Harrods Christmas shop to designer fashion being flogged from the back of an ice-cream van, London has some fabulous shopping treats in store for you this week!

Christmas Arrives Early at Harrods

Christmas may be five months away, but Harrods has already opened its festive shop. The Christmas World department opened in the luxury store last week as shoppers have been soaking up blissfully tropical temperatures in the capital. Sited on the third floor of the Knightsbridge department store, the 2000-square foot space oozes wow-factor with a snow-globe village, a life-size alpine ski chalet and a replica of the Tower of London. It’s also heaving with Christmas cards, stocking fillers and decorations. Plush crackers can be snapped up from £14.99 to an eye-popping £1,299. If you have cash to splash, there’s a 6ft Santa Claus that could be yours for a cool £3,999. Also available are vintage-style festive decorations created by New York designer Eliot Raffit.

Henry Holland Tours London in an Ice-cream Van!

Roll up, roll up for Henry Holland’s Ice Cream van! Forget frozen treats, the fashion designer is touring the capital in a Mr Quiffy van – named after Holland’s voluminous hairstyle – with his ice-cream-inspired summer collection in the boot. Kicking off in Covent Garden, the roving pop-up will sell a House of Holland limited edition collection that includes everything from iPhone covers to signature slogan t-shirts, all priced from £15 to £150. There’s even a mirror at the back of the van for people who want to try clothes on. The mobile boutique will be in the Covent Garden Piazza on 2-3 August; Carnaby Street on 8-10 August; Monmouth Street, Seven Dials from 15-17 August and Spitalfields from 29-30 August.

Godiva in Covent Garden

Luxury chocolatier Godiva has opened a brand new store in Covent Garden’s Market Building. As well as stocking Godiva’s signature gold gift box collection, you can also indulge in chocolate bars, ice-cream and delicious strawberries dipped in chocolate. Yum!

Savile Row Tailor in Harvey Nichols

Calling all stylish men! Savile Row tailor Chester Barrie is to open a concession in Harvey Nichols’ flagship store in Knightsbridge tomorrow (August 1). Founded in 1935, the company offers ready-to-wear clothes, as well as bespoke tailoring.


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How London Became the Menswear Capital of the World Thu, 27 Jun 2013 09:00:14 +0000  

Ancient and modern gentlemen, 1829 Teddy Boys, 1956 Punks gathering in the park, 1976c


Tim Long, Curator of Fashion & Decorative Arts at the Museum of London offers a brief history of men’s fashion in London.

Walk around London today and you’d be hard pressed not to find a man in a suit. But men’s fashion here is not only about business and suits. Scratch the surface and you’ll find over 2,000 years of fashionable history in London, right under your feet.

London’s been a centre of trade and commerce since the days of Londinium - when the mighty Roman Empire reached this far north. We can trace the origins of the lucrative trade of fashion back to those early days in the form of jewellery, leather goods and woven textiles, which are continuously discovered in archaeological digs in and around the city.

By the 16th century, we begin to see a unified industry when King Henry VIII grants a Royal Charter to a group of businesses involved in making and selling fashionable clothing and accessories. Piccadilly Circus is itself named after one such business. A tailor named Robert Baker worked in this area creating “piccadills”, the stiffened understructure that supported fashionable Elizabethan neck ruffs. Due the trend’s success, he became a rich man and built a house called Piccadilly Hall. The house has long disappeared, but the name remains.

It was during King Charles II’s reign in the 17th century when some fashionable trends that are still well in use today start to emerge. On 7 October 1666, and right here in London, Charles introduced a new fashion to men’s wardrobes: the waistcoat. While a form of the jacket and trousers can be traced back much earlier, Charles’s introduction of the waistcoat meant that the three-piece suit was born on this day.

Throughout the 18th century, the UK became increasingly interested in the uniforms of the military. The jacket, trousers and waistcoat served as the core for many uniforms forcing tailors to experiment with new and various designs that aided fit, but also provided a visual difference between ranks. By the early 19th century, many of these tailors turned their attention, and their skills, to the production of fashionable clothing for men in Mayfair on and around the area of Savile Street, now, of course, known as Savile Row.

Key to this transition was Londoner Beau Brummell. After serving in the military, he returned to his tailor and pushed the boundaries of fashionable dress and helped usher in the dandy! Always impeccably dressed, but with an air of elegant restraint, the dandy relied on and respected British tailoring traditions and craftsmanship.

The Industrial Revolution led to many advances in production, allowing for the invention of items such as the bowler hat and waterproof material for the trench coat. Even tartan and tweed fabrics, which have a much older history, became far more widely available. Since the end of World War II, subcultures in England, like the Teddy Boys, Mods and Punks have changed and subverted the meaning and codes of the modern suit.

Combine this rich heritage with the unrivalled talent and success of the city’s menswear industry it’s not hard to understand why London is the menswear capital of the world.

Follow the history and heritage of 300 years of London men’s fashion on this London Menswear Map

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An English Gentleman’s London Wed, 19 Jun 2013 09:00:21 +0000

The days of top hats and butlers may be long gone, but the English gentleman lives on in London. The male equivalent to London Fashion Week, London Collections: Men, opened on Sunday. And on 13 July, the hilarious Chap Olympiad returns for its ninth year, with more Umbrella Jousting and Tug of Moustache. But where should a gentleman be seen in London? Here are some suggestions that would tempt even the Earl of Grantham away from Downton Abbey.

A barber-shop shave at Geo F Trumper
For the authentic English gentleman, stubble just doesn’t cut the mustard. Luckily Geo F Trumper has been doing a fine line in traditional wet-shaves and moustache trims since it was established in 1875. Step inside its original Mayfair store and you’ll find yourself transported back in time by its amazing displays of grooming products and beautiful mahogany-panelled private cubicles. Remember to book in advance.

Dress the part on Savile Row
Clothes maketh the man, so the saying goes. And when it comes to bespoke British tailoring in London, Savile Row is the place to visit. This famous road, parallel to Regent’s Street, has long been home to top menswear brands such as Richard James and Gieves & Hawkes. Looking for something a little more edgy? Head to Hostem in Shoreditch, a hip menswear/lifestyle store that runs a sideline in bespoke suits, shoes, suitcases and accessories.

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea at Reform Social & Grill
Forget frilly tablecloths and flowery icing, afternoon tea at the Reform Social & Grill (located inside The Mandeville Hotel) is an undisputedly masculine affair. Think sweet rum & raisin pots, steak & snail sandwiches and meaty beef burgers, washed down with tea and a Bellini cocktail. It’s so good the idea has caught on, with Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea popping up at other London venues such as Sanctum Soho.

Steak dinner at Hawksmoor
With its Art Deco style, plush leather seating and dark wooden décor, Hawksmoor Air Street near Piccadilly Circus looks like a modern gentleman’s private members club – and has the menu to match. Tuck into Britain’s finest “dictionary-thick steaks cooked over real charcoal” or alternatively go for the fresh seafood. Other Hawksmoor branches can be found in Guildhall, Spitalfields and Seven Dials.

A night cap at Albannach
According to 19th century etiquette, the men would remain at the table after dinner to drink and talk while the women retired to the drawing room. Today, it’s all about the post-dinner drinking haunt. Places like The Vaults bar at Albannach restaurant near Trafalgar Square, with its private booths and ‘cigars and whisky’ matching menu, or the vintage Whiskey Bar at No 5 Cavendish Square.

Chauffeur services
At the end of a long night, an English gentleman need only say two words: “Home, James”. Ensure your driver is ready and waiting to whisk you back to your hotel by making a booking with one of London’s top chauffeur firms, such as iChauffeur, Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services or Central Chauffeur Services.

Stay at Sanderson London or Hazlitt’s
Hang up your bowler hat for the night at Sanderson or Hazlitt’s. Sanderson is a five-star, design-led hotel with everything a modern gentleman needs, including an in-house spa, Billiard Room and 24-hour gym. While Hazlitt’s, also in London’s West End, goes for the more traditional style. Located in a group of historic Georgian houses, it offers old-fashioned hospitality and style – think heavy frames, antique four-poster beds and period features.

More menswear in London

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London Shopping News: Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Movember and the Harrods Christmas Parade Tue, 30 Oct 2012 17:43:35 +0000 This week’s top shopping news stories:

Burberry and McQueen Open Menswear Stores in London
There are two exciting new openings for the stylish men about town this week. Today, Burberry has opened its long-awaited standalone menswear boutique in Knightsbridge. You’ll remember reading about all the techie additions in the label’s Regent Street Store: the Brompton Road offering is no different with more than 100 screens and 50 speakers creating the audio-visual wow factor in store. As well as the technology, this shop stocks Burberry’s largest selection of tailoring in the UK. And if you’re after something really special, you can indulge in their fantastic new tailoring service. There’s a choice of three fits (slim, modern and classic) and more than 40 seasonal fabrics: make your choice and a suit can be measured, tailored and delivered in just 48 hours. The Burberry Menswear store follows hot on the heels of the new Alexander McQueen menswear store on Savile Row. For the first time in the label’s history, this shop stocks the full menswear collection in one place, from ready-to-wear suiting to accessories. Look out for the funky design features – skulls, claws and military chic in the shop – and don’t miss the bespoke area downstairs when it opens next year. London lads now have no excuse for looking anything less than super-smart.

The Best A Mo Can Get, 1-30 Nov
Just in time for Movember, The Best a Mo Can Get Barbers is opening at 10 Newburgh Street in Carnaby this week. The barber will be open seven days a week throughout the month of Movember, offering free ‘tache touch-ups for chaps taking part in the charity moustache-growing month. The pop-up shop is styled on a 1940s club, with a traditional barber upstairs, and a bar decked out with leather seating, poker, backgammon, dominoes and chess sets, plus ping pong and pool downstairs. There’s live entertainment planned throughout the month, including gigs, DJ sets, whiskey tastings and cocktail nights. Visit for the latest updates.

Harrods Christmas Parade, 3 Nov
Finally for this week, are you ready for Christmas in London? Harrods certainly is, with its famous annual Christmas parade taking place this Saturday. The streets of Knightsbridge will be filled with Father Christmas and his amazing helpers; this year’s theme is Disney, so look out for your favourite Disney Friends plus giant teddy bears, street dancers, and real reindeer taking part. The parade starts at 8am, and will weave down Brompton Road before culminating in the opening of the famous Harrods store at 9am. Don’t miss it!

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