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Where's all the Savile Row stuff?

post #1 of 281
Thread Starter 
Perhaps my perception is off, but it recently occurred to me that the big Savile Row firms (A&S, Kilgour, Poole, Huntsman, etc.) are relatively unrepresented on the forum. At the very least, we almost never see pictures. Given that most of the big names make regular visits to multiple U.S. cities, I would think that more people would use them.

I find the Savile Row universe rather mystifying. I couldn't tell a Kilgour from a Huntsman for the life of me and would love to learn. I've probably made pejorative judgments in the past that I really had no right to make.

I'm interested in hearing others' thoughts on the matter. What made you go another route? Price, style, quality, accessibility?
post #2 of 281
Being poor made me go the Chan route. I would love a Savile Row suit. But being 25 and without a job is a bit of a problem. And school loans. On top of that, going back to school. There was that one guy on here a while back who had basted suit pics of his Mahon suit in the process up a while ago. He looked like he was 12.
post #3 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
I find the Savile Row universe rather mystifying. I couldn't tell a Kilgour from a Huntsman for the life of me and would love to learn.

I'm interested in hearing others' thoughts on the matter. What made you go another route? Price, style, quality, accessibility?

+1

I would love to learn, too.

I am relatively new to MTM, never had a bespoke thing. For me, it was to start job to have an income. Most of the people (my co-workers) wouldn't spent that much on clothes.

Now I have some MTM (all shirts and all suits) and as soon as I can afford it I will do some bespoke (when reading always laughing about 'limited budget' --> who has not???).

I would love to visit the Savile Row!
post #4 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
Perhaps my perception is off, but it recently occurred to me that the big Savile Row firms (A&S, Kilgour, Poole, Huntsman, etc.) are relatively unrepresented on the forum. At the very least, we almost never see pictures. Given that most of the big names make regular visits to multiple U.S. cities, I would think that more people would use them.
And here I am. Well, you don't need to look so pleased.
post #5 of 281
Perhaps the Internet nerd ratio might be a tad low with men who use SR firms.

Some of the most knowledgable and balanced posters here are SR clients, and of course, Manton often draws from a variety of SR firms in his WAYWRN posts.

I only just started posting photographs myself this week because of the amusing duplication of stripey coat ensembles with left coast Matty last weekend, and then the thought that photographs would allow people to put my comments in some more useful context, e.g. "That guy dresses like a doofus, so I will take his opinion lightly."

- B
post #6 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
And here I am. Well, you don't need to look so pleased.

After my RJManton Q&A I didn't want to ask any more questions, but since you offered now that the bespoke shoe order is placed I'm thinking of ordering a suit in the fall. Thinking of Poole, or Kilgour. Do you have experience with either? Also, while not Savile Row wondering about Camps or Charvet.

I know Poole and Kilgour come to NYC often, Camps said sometimes when I called and when I asked M. Colban last week he started talking about one client sending his private jet (I take that as a no ).
post #7 of 281
What went wrong in teh RJManton Q&A?

I've used Poole (Henri de la Piscine) and Savile Row Master Tailor Darren Beaman.

Charvet (Noiret) is making me a cashmere sportcoat. The cut is not as dashing as I like, perhaps because age has made me less dashing as well.

Poole is extremely dependable and quite committed to getting the right fit -- on all of the stuff they made for me, we had as many fittings as needed to make sure all the details were right and the fit right. They also were extremely customer service oriented -- when I first went to their shop to be measured, as a walk-in, and informed them that I'd be using their visiting service to Freedom for the most part, they made sure to have the cutter who visits Freedom meet me and take care of my order at the shop, and put together a baste for me for his visit to Paris two weeks later. They can be fairly flexible with the sort of cut one wants, as well.

I have no experience with Kilgour bespoke. My impression is that while it still exists they are pushing their China bespoke on people -- certainly it keeps going up in price.

Camps may visit the US, but it and other French tailors are fairly taciturn about their visits to the US, and between language and lack of a web presence/media coverage it's hard to get a sense for when, how often and where they visit. Cifonelli told me they go to the US. Camps supposedly does. But if it's once or twice a year, do you really want to wait two years for a suit? Charvet does not do bespoke shirt visits to the US (all the trunk show stuff at Saks and Bergdorf is stock specials), so I am not surprised they don't send their tailor to the US for suits.

There still are good tailors in NYC, if that's where you are, and the advantage is getting something relatively quickly and being able to visit in order to rectify any issues. Manton has experience with them, I don't. If I had to do it over again, I might have gone straight to Noiret and gotten stuff more quikcly and without paying couriering fees, rather than to Poole, although Poole had the advantage of letting me provide my own cloth and being anglophone.
post #8 of 281
I think Matt's point is:



- B
post #9 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
Savile Row Master Tailor Darren Beaman.

Remind me...does he tend toward narrow lapels?



- B
post #10 of 281
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
I think Matt's point is:



- B

Thank you, Bill.
post #11 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuro View Post
After my RJManton Q&A I didn't want to ask any more questions, but since you offered now that the bespoke shoe order is placed I'm thinking of ordering a suit in the fall. Thinking of Poole, or Kilgour. Do you have experience with either? Also, while not Savile Row wondering about Camps or Charvet.

I know Poole and Kilgour come to NYC often, Camps said sometimes when I called and when I asked M. Colban last week he started talking about one client sending his private jet (I take that as a no ).

I have no experience with either Kilgour or Poole. Kilgour is probably more "fashion"-oriented and does also MTM and intro-bespoke (not sure of the terminology). Poole, I think, are more traditional and only bespoke, as far as I know (in London, at least -- there may be licensing arrangements elsewhere).
My advice would be to not limit yourself to just two names. Many SR firms also travel to the US, and other countries/continents, as well. If it is SR that you want, get a copy of the Savile Row Story, a book by Richard Walker. It is about twenty years old but has a lot of background and gives you most of the info you need on the firms; you just ignore the now-defunct ones, or trace them into the still extant ones. Use the book to populate the SR universe before you begin the selection process
1) Try to define what sort of style you prefer: firm/strict/"military" at one end of the spectrum (Hunstman, Kilgour, Dege, Jones Chalk & Dawson --Meyer & Mortimer --, Welsh & Jefferies, etc...) or soft (Anderson & Sheppard, others, no doubt, but I never researched them as this is not what I wanted -- not sure where Davies would fall; they have "military" component firms, I think). Poole is reputed to fall in the middle; other firms exist, I am sure, that do the same.
2) Check the fora for references/personal experience by the posters. Post questions as you go, if you do not understand everything that is being discussed. Use your own judgement: what I like to wear may be something you would not want to be seen dead in!. Some firms are overrepresented in the fora. Take everything with a grain of salt.
3) Be mindful of prices (unless you can afford not to care but, even then, you probably want your money's worth): they do not automatically translate into quality (within limits, of course): they depend upon overheads, and the same outworkers may be working for several different firms. Within those limits, there is a low end and an expensive end in the SR universe.
4) If you want to build a long-term relationship with a tailoring firm, check its relative size, its age. If the principal is old, is someone younger ready to take over? Are they completely, or overly, dependent on the US trade; that could be dangerous, given the US$'s fall. The home market (GBP) is probably safest, but small(er).
5) Travel: many, if not all, firms now travel (incl. to the US), even if they may not often appear in the US-dominated fora.
6) Narrow your list based on the above information (price, size, style, travel, do they use fusing or not, etc...). Then make phone calls to your shortlist. Ask the same questions again (things may have changed since the info you use was first reported). Some people may gasp in horror at the idea of receiving a call from someone they have not been properly introduced to! Once they realize you do mean business and are not wasting their time, they will become more approachable.
7) After weeding out all but two or three of your shortlist, go visit them (best, but you may not have the time to go to London) or meet them on a US trip. Choose the one who gives you the most confidence, with the best comfort level. It is a two-way (for all they know, you may be pathologically indecisive, a bully, or a deadbeat) human relationship: mutual trust is paramount!!!

I apologize for going on like this for ever

Good luck!

Frog in Suit
PS: I did most of the above, about a year ago, to select my current tailors. The time spent was worth it, because I gained information on the way, and I found what I was looking for. Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in The Savile Row Story book, nor in my tailors Jones, Chalk & Dawson (aka Meyer & Mortimer).
post #12 of 281
I've used Ede & Ravenscroft bespoke a few times, though technically they're not defined as Savile Row under the somewhat, um, arcane by-laws of the self-appointed Savile Row Bespoke Association. And I use my local branch of them anyway.

Part of the difficulty talking about the SR houses is that most people only have experience of one (or two at most) - it's quite tricky to compare between people's experiences.
post #13 of 281
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post
I've used Ede & Ravenscroft bespoke a few times, though technically they're not defined as Savile Row under the somewhat, um, arcane by-laws of the self-appointed Savile Row Bespoke Association. And I use my local branch of them anyway.

Part of the difficulty talking about the SR houses is that most people only have experience of one (or two at most) - it's quite tricky to compare between people's experiences.

Hmm, but it's pretty common for any bespoke client to stick to a small number of tailors. Have you posted pictures of yourself in your commissions from Ede? I think the more and more pictures we see of work from different tailors, the better the sense we can get of how they differ.
post #14 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
Hmm, but it's pretty common for any bespoke client to stick to a small number of tailors. Have you posted pictures of yourself in your commissions from Ede? I think the more and more pictures we see of work from different tailors, the better the sense we can get of how they differ.

Yes, I post in the WAYWN thread regularly, and that includes stuff from Ede sometimes.

I don't know though - you can compare silhouettes and fits I guess, but that misses out a big chunk of the process. You know what I mean - the personal side of it; how you get on with staff, how you work together, etc, etc. To be honest, most of the SR houses are going to be fairly similar in terms of quality; yes there are differences but what determines how you get on with them and whether you go back is the personal interaction and that's more difficult to compare between people.

But I do agree that looking at pics can be fun.
post #15 of 281
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
Hmm, but it's pretty common for any bespoke client to stick to a small number of tailors. Have you posted pictures of yourself in your commissions from Ede? I think the more and more pictures we see of work from different tailors, the better the sense we can get of how they differ.

I agree as to the usefulness of pictures , but only up to a point: We all have different body shapes and a good tailor will succeed only in making us look as good as possible within the constraints of our shape, weight, bulk, height, beer belly, etc...

When I see pictures posted by forum participants, whether here or somewhere else, my usual reaction is negative. Not, I hasten to add, because of the intrinsic quality of the garment (which I am not capable of judging, especially from a photograph on a computer screen), but because it does not correspond to my taste, or, perhaps, the image I have of myself and wish to present to the world; I cannot "see myself" in it. I would suggest that the only valid comparison would be between different garments, by different makers, on the same person.

Perhaps several forumists, each with a "typical", but differing, physique, could commission a similar set of garments from the same list of tailors ......But would that not negate the individuality of bespoke?

I think this goes back to the old comparison beween one's family doctor and one's tailor. It is all purely personal.

Forgive this meandering post. I shall post photos at some point, but it is a question of finding the time (and my wife's time...) to take them.

Best regards,

Frog in Suit
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