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Frederick Scholte (Savile Row)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by CrimsonSox, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    Frederick Scholte was the Duke of Windsor's (King Edward VIII's) tailor from 1919-1959. He trained the founders of Anderson & Sheppard, and was known for making the best shoulder on Savile Row, according to Richard Anderson. For those looking to study Scholte's work, there's an interesting opportunity. The Victoria and Albert Museum and Kensington Museum allowed the costume designers for a film to examine the construction of his suits. Perhaps JefferyD or one of the other tailors here could take advantage of this when they're in London and see Scholte's secrets.

    "We got to open the suits up at the Victoria & Albert or the Kensington museums to see the construction and the lining."

    Source: http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/entert...m-we-costume-designer-interview/viewgallery/4

    "Scholte had rigid standards concerning the perfect balance of proportions between shoulders and waist in the cut of a coat to clothe the masculine torso . . . . These peculiar proportions were Scholte’s secret formula." -- The Duke of Windsor

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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 28, 2014
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  2. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    The Duke, wearing traditional-width lapels and tie, stands next to a reporter in a 60s narrow suit. The classic in contrast with the fashionable.

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    I don't think I've ever seen such a flawlessly fit and beautifully cut double-breasted suit. The shoulders have just the right amount of slope and width. Scholte did have the reputation, as Richard Anderson said, of making the best shoulders on the Row. What was his secret?

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    The shoulders are also gorgeous on the Duke's morning coat, cut by Scholte:

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    The shoulders are natural looking, but as seen in this photo, they do have some structure.

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    No divots in the sleevehead though:

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    The Duke's sleevehead is not roped (unlike the Duchess'). The cloth looks similar to one that the current Prince of Wales has worn.

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    Here you see the high armhole on the Duke's suit, along with Scholte's use of drape. Note how the fuller, well-proportioned clothes conceal the Duke's short stature. (Credit also goes to the composition of the photograph.) If he had worn tight clothes, with a very trim shoulder and chest, as he did in military service, his below average height would have been more evident.

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    The Duke in fuller clothes looked taller, and it's not until you see the soldiers next to him that you realize that he was 5'5 at most (based on photographs of him standing next to David Lloyd George).

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    One of my favorite combinations is a plain navy suit with a solid shirt and shepherd's check wedding tie. The very definition of classic:

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    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
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  3. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Well-Known Member

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    I am pretty sure the uniforms were not Scholte's. Scholte was indeed the main tailor the Duke used, but he had to use also others, whoever held the Royal Warrant for Military Tailor at the time probably. He is said to have used Caraceni in Milan as well, and a tailor from the Italian north west riviera, allegedly for this suit for example [​IMG]
     
  4. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    True, I didn't want to imply that Scholte had cut the military uniforms (thus the contrast with the civilian clothes).

    This tailcoat, minus the trousers, was cut by Scholte, and is part of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

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  5. poorsod

    poorsod Well-Known Member

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    It's interesting that this version has a black vest. A white vest is usually worn with tails.
     
  6. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Well-Known Member

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    There are historical versions and plates with black vest, and I guess once was more common, however I have also some doubts on how the Duke wardarobe got mixed up before the Duchess death and the various Donations/auctions. For example, the infamous Lord of Isles tweed dinner suit was auctioned with a same fabric evening waistcoat and cummerbund but also in the same set, two highlands marcella evening waistcoats and a green corduroy u cut dinner waistcoat. I suspect that this last waistcoat was instead meant to be coupled with the also famous Green Corduroy shawl collar DB dinner jacket auctioned separately, so there is a possibility that the black (midnight blue) is part of a dinner suit in the same fabric (the Met has a couple of such dinner suits as well)
     
  7. jrd617

    jrd617 Well-Known Member

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    http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?47682-The-different-Italian-styles

    That said, traditionally:

    Naples: Scholte without the shoulder. The softest shoulder made anywhere. Either with traditional set-in sleeves and a little bit of wadding, or with shirt sleeves (the spalla camicia). Never any pad. Set-in sleeves might have a slight rope (rollino). Pleated sleevehead, resulting from the large upper sleeve and tiny armhole. Super high gorge. High notch, almost pointed upward. The bottom edge of the notch might jut out a little further than the top edge, enough so that you notice. Wide lapels, usually a little wider (by a few centimeters) than half the chest; typcially with substantial belly. Super soft chest, sometimes draped, sometimes not, but always quite full. Lots of drape over the blades. Nipped waist. High waist and button point. Front cut (sidebodies) rather than dart, to slim down the skirt. Open front quarters. Shorter coat than one would typically see in London. 3 button roll through preferred on SB. Patch pockets, if not preferred, then certainly quite common. The patches have a dramatic shape: very rounded, and much narrower at the top than the bottom. Deep side vents. Quarter lined is common. Also: lots of what can only be termed “ostentatious” hand stitching. Any seam that shows will almost certainly be done by hand; e.g., the outer straight seam on a trouser leg will be a hand-picked lapseam, as will the center backseam and shoulder and outer arm seams on a coat. The lapels often have edge-picking AND another quarter inch hand-stitch. Trousers: at the hip, with reverse pleats and tapered legs. Sometimes the cuffs can be quite dramatically wide, e.g. 2” on 5â€[​IMG]5” guy. I am reliably informed that most Italians hate suspenders, though there is a small Anglophile sub-culture in Milan and Naples that wears them. The most famous tailoring firm is Rubinacci (London House).

    Rome: high, pitched shoulder, usually roped to some degree. Built up but not out; no extension, typically. Everything lean and clean, no fullness or drape in front, and as little as they can get away with in back. Slightly lower gorge and significantly narrower lapels. No vents or shortish side vents. A shorter and narrower coat than the Neapolitan. More true-3-button coats. Flapped or besom pockets, typically no ticket pocket. Everything is also “small.” By which I mean, SR firms have proportional formulas for how wide (say) a breast welt pocket should be on (say) a 42 coat. The Romans trim that down by 10 or 20%. The trousers are slimmer, straighter, and more likely to be flat front. This is basically the silhouette that Brioni popularized in the 1950s.

    Milan: the top bespoke tailors are more typically “English” than those in the other cities. Not so much Scholte or A&S English, but the rest of SR without the armor. Sloped shoulder, but padded (lightly). Soft but clean sleevehead. Full chest, but no drape in front, or maybe a touch. More subtle waist. Lots of 2-button coats with deep side vents for suits, 3-button roll-throughs more common for odd jackets. Higher rise to the trousers; not quite suspender rise, but above the hips. Fuller leg, and more likely to have forward pleats. Overall, a more “rounded” silhouette than the Roman, which can be bit angular and somewhat severe. A. Caraceni is the best. The Rome Caraceni makes this too, or something like it, but more often three button, with a shorter coat, and lower rise, slimmer trousers.
     
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  8. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    The British are coming . . . to Boston in 1943. The Duke's shoulders, sleevehead, and collar on his jacket are perfect (Scholte tailored the Duke's jackets from 1919-1959). Note the high, small armhole and the besom pockets.

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    Wearing an overcoat in Boston:

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    California King. The Duke visits San Diego:

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    The Duke of Windsor in Venice, 1936. Natty in the summer:

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    Outside of the Ritz in 1948:
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    Two pictures from later in life. Few combinations are as classy and versatile as a grey tie with a grey suit.

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    The skill of the tailor can distinguish our virtues and disguise our vices. The Duke would have looked much more diminutive, and closer to his natural figure, if his clothes had been excessively tight:

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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  9. RDiaz

    RDiaz Well-Known Member

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    And who cut those trousers? I'd kill for something like that.
     
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  10. uniesse

    uniesse Well-Known Member

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    H. Harris of New York?

    Pretty sure.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  11. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  12. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    Grey can take on such a different personality depending on the colors that are mixed into it. In the first two outfits below, the Duke is wearing grey, but one is cool and blue, and the other warm and closer to brown. In both cases, he coordinates the shade of the tie to make it more blue-grey or a more silvery-brown grey, harmonizing with the color of the suit or overcoat.

    Here's a small but significant detail you very rarely see in public today. Most people would wear a blue or stark white shirt with these suits and ties. At first, the Duke's shirts seem to be pure white. But if you look closely, the white has just a faint hint of blue in the first photo (unlike the plain white shirts of the men in the background), and the barest touch of grey in the second photo. It softens the white, fading it and making it contrast less with the tie. I've included below a third photo where the color of the very light grey shirt is more evident.

    Many people when they think of the Duke imagine strong plaids and suede shoes. Those can be attractive, but another aspect of his design sense that's less noticeable but equally brilliant was the use of detail: the shade of the dress shirt or the precise fit of Scholte's suit shoulders. As another great dresser, Cary Grant, said, "it takes 500 small details to add up to one favorable impression."

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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  13. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    The key with the pale grey shirt is how faint and near white it is. Compare President Hollande's dark grey shirt. Here's a thought provoking exercise that can deepen one's design sense: why does the Duke's outfit in the photos above work, and Hollande's does not, even though both are wearing grey shirts with grey suits? And why do the Duke's ties coordinate better?

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  14. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    How much did it cost to get a suit made by Scholte, one of the best tailors in London, in 1931? Only 16 pounds, or roughly $1700 in today's dollars.


    London Tailor Sues Scarsdale Client

    NEW YORK. Mar. 12—A London tailor, F. P. Sholte, Ltd.. who reached across the Atlantic to bring suit against John W. Elwood of the Scarsdale Apartments, Scarsdale, was awarded $319.82 in New York Supreme Court yesterday.

    The English firm alleged that Elwood purchased two suits and an overcoat at 16 pounds and a few shillings each, as well as a pair of white flannels at five pounds and a few shillings in April, 1931, and that even an English firm accustomed to the deferred accounts of royalty were entitled to payment after six years. Elwood, failing to appear in court, lost the suit by default.

    Source:


    http://fultonhistory.com/newspaper ...NY Herald Statesman 1937 Grayscale - 1013.pdf
     
  15. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Well-Known Member

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    I was at the V&A museum this morning for an appointment booked over two months ago. I was mainly interested in "study" an early " Hawes & Curtis" backless waistcoat and related bow ties , but as you could view up to 8 items, I also asked to view the Only suit they have from the Duke http://www.vam.ac.uk/users/node/5680 most probably by Scholte. This must be the same suit mentioned in the OP, however I doubt they actually opened it as you are not even allowed to touch any item but a senior supervisor is with you at all the time and able to handle, measure and for me even trace on tracing papers what is possible. The suit did not have any front dart as common for Scholte, but only a short under harm dart and the side dart that connect with the back panel. Unfortunately I cannot share the pictures taken as they made me sign an agreement not to do so. Interestingly the suit had a label inside from Trimingham, London-Bermuda, apparently a retailer, but I suspect the tweed fabric was from them, rather then the finished suit. Edit: the actual V&A museum catalog has the suit maker being Trimingham, but having looked at the details, it was definitely a bespoke garment, made following a Scholte template at the bare minimum.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
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  16. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    Good call -- I was puzzled by that too, especially since the Duke wore a white vest in the photographs I've seen of him in a tailcoat.

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  17. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    What an extraordinary experience. How were the measurements on the jacket? The Duke remarked that one of the keys to Scholte's tailoring was the "the perfect balance of proportions between shoulders and waist in the cut of a coat." How was the level of handwork, compared to bespoke of today?

    Hawes and Curtis was the Duke's shirt-maker and haberdasher. It's very different now, without the bespoke offerings, but in the 1920s and 30s it was regarded above Turnbull and Asser. I'll have to post a review of various London tailors and shirtmakers from a book published in 1930 when I have the chance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  18. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Well-Known Member

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    It was the second suit I have seen in person of the Duke. I guess it was an equivalent of a 34 UK or smaller. I was there primarily to take a pattern of the evening waistcoat (with fix yoke rather then the rental adjustable) and a one ended bow tie. I have only really took the width of lapel measure which was surprisingly the same that the ones my tailor cut for me ~11cm. It was a visible shaped jacket but did not have a massive drop or a lot of chest build up.
     
  19. andreyb2

    andreyb2 Well-Known Member

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    Please do -- that would be very interesting.

    Andrey
     
  20. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Well-Known Member

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    London is a Man's Town by Helen Josephy and Mary Margaret McBride was published in 1930 as a guide to shops in the city. It's one of those secret treasures in Widener Library -- it's been borrowed only three times before, in 1999, 1965, and 1956. The section on tailors is quite interesting:

    Quote: Scholte has created a style of his own -- one with a very full chest, broad shoulders and narrow hips. He never tried to sell a man a suit of clothes in his life, and if an employee tries to do so, he gets the sack at once. You step in, supposedly needing a certain suit or suits, see materials, decide on a suit, pay for it when it is finished and that's the end of it. You could go there for fifteen years and he would never ask you if you wouldn't like another suit in addition to the one you've just ordered.

    Another tailor who holds royal warrants to the King and Prince of Wales as well as the late King Edward is Davies and Son, 19 and 20 Hanover Street. This firm was established in 1804 by the late Thomas Davies.

    Anderson and Sheppard, 30 Savile Row, are especially good for young men and all dress clothes, as are Kilgour and French, Ltd., 33A Dover Street, W.I. The former has made clothes for the Prince of Wales. Customers have a different cutter for coat and trousers.

    Gieves, Ltd., Royal Naval Outfitters, 21 Old Bond Street, with a back door opening on the Burlington Arcade, made uniforms for officers who fought against America in the War of 1812. Customers' names recall stirring actions at sea. The gallant Captain Broke of Shannon and Chesapeake fame, and such great naval heroes as Rodney, Howe, Collingwood, Barham and Hood were on the books. The firm had the honor of providing the outfit of King George V when he first joined the Royal Navy and so holds a personal royal warrant to the King, also one to the Prince of Wales.

    A naval commander told us that if a British naval officer in China or Chile suddenly needed a dress uniform or a warm overcoat he could cable Gieves who has his measurements and in no time at all the uniform would arrive, a perfect fit. Gieves sells all kinds of civilian clothes and outfittings, too.

    Hawkes and Company, Ltd., 1 Savile Row, are military tailors.

    If you fancy a tailor with a romantic address there are two in particular --- Carr, Son and Woor, Ltd., 14 Savile Row, where the playwright Sheridan once lived; and Harrison and Martin, LTd., 17 South Molton Street, where William Blake, the poet and painter, lived.

    The great authorities on overcoats in London are Simpson and London, 79 Grosvenor Street, W.I.

    For riding breeches, Tautz and Company, 12 Grafton Street, is excellent; and H. Huntsman and Sons, 11 Savile Row, furnishes good hunting clothes.

    For beautiful evening clothes, Johns and Bonham, Ltd., 38 Albemarle Street, is popular with smart men-about-town.

    In the review, the King is George V, the Prince of Wales is the future Duke of Windsor, and the Duke of York is the future George VI, who was the subject of The King's Speech.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013

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