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Savile Row
Savile Row ( , both vowels short with accent on the first syllable) is a shopping street in Mayfairmarker, central Londonmarker, famous for its traditional men's bespoke tailoring. The term "bespoke" is understood to have originated in Savile Row when cloth for a suit was said to "be spoken for" by individual customers. The short street is termed the "golden mile of tailoring", where customers have included Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson, and Napoleon III.

Savile Row runs parallel to Regent Streetmarker between Conduit Street at the northern end and Vigo Street at the southern. Linking roads include Burlington Place, Clifford Street and Burlington Gardens.


Savile Row was built between 1731 and 1735 as part of the development of the Burlington Estatemarker, and is named after Lady Dorothy Savile, wife of the 3rd Earl of Burlington. It originally ran from Burlington Gardens (then Vigo Lane) to Boyle Street, with houses only on the east side, but in 1937–8 it extended to Conduit Street, and in the 19th century houses were built on the west side. The original architectural plan is believed to have been drawn up by Colen Campbell, though Henry Flitcroft appears to have been the main architect of the street, under the supervision of Daniel Garrett, while Nos 1 and 22–23 Savile Row were designed by William Kent, who lived next door in No 2. Dr Livingstone was laid out in state in No 1, when it was the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Societymarker, before being buried in Westminster Abbeymarker.

Initially, the street was occupied by military officers and their wives; William Pitt the Younger was an early resident. Irish-born playwright and MP, Richard Brinsley Sheridan lived at 14 Savile Row for a short time before his death in 1816.

During the 1800s, the gentry became concerned with neat dress, and Beau Brummell epitomised the well-dressed man. He patronised the tailors congregated on the Burlington Estate, notably around Cork Streetmarker, and by 1803 some were occupying premises in Savile Row. None of those original tailors survive today.

In 1846, Henry Poole is credited as being the 'Founder of Savile Row' after opening a second entrance to his late father's tailoring premises at 32 Savile Row; however, there were tailors on the Row long before Poole's.

In 1969, Nutters of Savile Row modernised the style and approach of the traditional tailors; a modernisation which continued in the 1990s with the arrival of designers like Richard James and Ozwald Boateng.

With increasing rents and criticisms from Giorgio Armani of falling behind the times, the number of tailors on Savile Row declined to just 19 in 2006. Some tailors had expressed concern in 2005 that an increase in commercial development in the area could lead to the death of the business locally, as tailors — many of whom traditionally manufacture their suits on the premises, in basement studios — could be priced out of the local property market. The Savile Row Bespoke Association was created to address these problems, and to encourage training, organise events and other initiatives.There is frustration among many remaining that even some established British brands use the 'Savile Row' designation on imported clothes.

But despite these problems, the Row continues to be a mecca for men around the world who want the very best of tailoring, and it also continues to attract new recruits. Some of these may be 'old' recruits, in that they have had long experience in Savile Row before starting their own businesses (see Tailors, below), while others are younger newcomers attracted by its elegance and craftsmanship.

Tailors on Savile Row

Tailors in Savile Row include:

Davies and Son

Davies and Son is an independent tailor at № 38 Savile Row. The firm was established by George Davies in 1803 on Hanover Street, moving onto Savile Row in 1986.

Davies and Sons made the original uniforms for Sir Robert Peel's police force. Other customers include: Calvin Klein, Michael Jackson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Clark Gable, and U.S. President Harry S. Truman.

Gieves & Hawkes

Gieves & Hawkes is a gentleman's tailor located at 1 Savile Row. It is a traditional British bespoke tailor, holds a number of Royal Warrants, and provides ready-to-wear clothes, as well as bespoke and military tailoring.They hold all three British Royal Warrants (Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles Prince of Wales).There are various Gieves & Hawkes shops and concessions around the UKmarker and in several other countries. The business dates from the late 18th century, and was formed by the merger of two separate businesses, Gieves (founded 1785) and Hawkes (founded 1771).

Customers past and present include Winston Churchill, Admiral Nelson, 1st Duke of Wellington, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Jackson, David Beckham, Bill Clinton, Diana Princess of Wales and her sons William and Harry.

In the March 2006 report, 'Bespoke Tailoring in London’s West End', by the City of Westminister (Department of Planning and City Development) it was recorded that between 6,000 to 7,000 suits were made in and around the Savile Row area annually, at the time of the report; with Gieves and Hawkes making about 700 suits of those suits. It was also recorded that 20% of Gieves and Hawkes business at number 1 Savile Row was from the bespoke operation..

In June 2009 Gieves and Hawkes began a new partnership with British Formula One team Brawn GPmarker, providing the team with their official 'attire', a grey single breasted, two button mohair suit, white shirt and distinctive team coloured tie.

H. Huntsman & Sons

Henry Huntsman established this firm in 1849, and received a royal warrant in 1865 from the Prince of Wales. Since the 1950s, they have been known for a silhouette based on a riding coat and featuring firm shoulders and a nipped, sculpted waist. Long considered one of the best if not the best tailors on the Row, they also have a reputation as the having the most expensive starting price for a two-piece suit on Savile Row; suits start at well over $5,000 (tax included) Indeed, when, in Tom Wolfe's novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, the narrator refers to flamboyantly rich Sherman McCoy's jacket, he observes "Huntsman, Savile Row, London. Cost a god-damned fortune."

Hardy Amies

Hardy Amies Ltd is a fashion house at 14 Savile Row, founded by Englishmarker dressmaker Sir Edwin Hardy Amies (17 July 1909 - 5 March 2003) in 1946. Having been managing designer for Lachasse in 1934, and designed clothes for the British Board of Trade under the government Utility Scheme, Amies bought the bombed out shell of 14 in 1946.

The Hardy Amies brand developed to become known for its classic and beautifully tailored clothes for both men and women. Amies was successful in business by being able to commercially extract value from his designs, while not replicating his brand to the point of exploitation. Amies was one of the first European designers to venture into the ready-to-wear market when he teamed up with Hepworths in 1959 to design a range of menswear. In 1961, Amies made fashion history by staging the first men's ready-to-wear catwalk shows, at the Ritz Hotel in London. The Hardy Amies name is still licensed globally, particularly popular in Japanmarker. Amies also undertook design for in-house work wear, which developed from designing special clothes for groups such as the Oxford University Boat Club and London Stock Exchange. Amies also designed costumes for films, including 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Amies is best known to the British public for his work for HM Queen Elizabeth II. The association began in 1950, when Amies made several outfits for the then Princess Elizabeth's royal tour to Canadamarker. Although the couture side of the Hardy Amies business was traditionally less financially successful, the award of a Royal Warrant as official dressmaker in 1955 given his house a degree of respectability and resultant publicity. One of his best known creations is the gown he designed in 1977 for Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee portrait which, he said, was "immortalized on a thousand biscuit tins." Knighted in 1989, Amies held the warrant until 1990, when he gave it up so that younger designers could create for the Queen.

In May 1973, Amies sold the business to Debenhams, who had themselves purchased Hepworths which distributed the Hardy Amies line. Amies purchased the business back in 1981. In May 2001, Amies sold his business to the Luxury Brands Group. He retired at the end of the year, when Moroccanmarker-born designer Jacques Azagury became head of couture. In November 2008, after going bankrupt, the Hardy Amies brand was acquired by Fung Capital, the private investment arm of Victor and William Fung, who together control the Li & Fung group. The current collection is overseen by design director Jon Moore, who first worked for Hardy Amies in 1979.

Henry Poole & Co

Henry Poole & Co is a gentleman's bespoke tailor located at 15 Savile Row. The acknowledged 'Founders of Savile Row' and creators of the dinner suit, the company has remained a family-run business since their establishment in 1806. They opened first in Brunswick Squaremarker, in 1806, originally specialising in military tailoring, with particular merit at the time of the Battle of Waterloomarker. Their business moved to Savile Row in 1846, following the death of founder James Poole.

In 1982, MD Angus Cundey brought the firm back to Savile Row (No. 15), after being in exile on Cork Street since 1961; Poole were forced to move to Cork Street, because the lease at number 32 expired and the unlisted building was demolished.

Norton & Sons

Norton & Sons is a gentleman's bespoke tailor located at 16 Savile Row. Established in the city of London in 1821 the firm moved to Savile Row in the middle of the nineteenth century. In the 1960s Norton's incorporated the other Savile Row firm of J. Hoare & E. Tautz. The firm has always boasted strong connections with London's young and fashionable and were tailors to the young Winston Churchill. and Sir Hardy Amies.

Nutters of Savile Row

Nutters of Savile Row is a modern Savile Row tailors which opened on Valentine's Day 1969. Owned by Tommy Nutter and Edward Sexton, they were financially backed by Cilla Black and then MD of the Beatles Apple Corps Peter Brown. Nutters was the first shop on Savile Row to pioneer 'open windows' and had bold displays created by the then unknown Simon Doonan; as such the shop modernised the perception of Savile Row. Nutters of Savile Row dressed the entire social spectrum from the Duke of Bedford and Lord Montagu, to Mick and Bianca Jagger and The Beatles. Nutter's designs included Bianca Jagger's wedding suit, the costumes for the 1989 Batman film including those worn by Jack Nicholson, and three of the suits worn by The Beatles on the front cover of Abbey Road. Sexton is now based at 26 Beauchamp Place in Knightsbridge, 1.7 miles away from Savile Row, with the business trading as Edward Sexton

Ozwald Boateng

Located at 12a Savile Row, Ozwald Boateng OBE is a modern bespoke tailors, who sees himself as both tailor and a designer, so coining the term 'bespoke couturier'. There is also a ready-to-wear outlet on Vigo Street. Born in Ghanamarker in the late 1960s and brought up in north London, Boateng started tailoring at age 16, selling his mother's designs on Portobello Roadmarker; by twenty three he had set himself up full-time in business. He began making bespoke suits in 1990, and is credited with introducing Savile Row tailoring to a new generation. The first tailor to stage a catwalk show in Paris, Boateng's many clients include Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Dhani Jones, Russell Crowe, Keanu Reeves, and Mick Jagger. He was appointed creative director of Givenchy menswear in 2003.

On 22 June 2006, the Sundance Channel began airing a reality television series called House of Boateng which follows Boateng's efforts to launch his Bespoke Couture line in the United States, was produced by Robert Redford and Ben Silverman.

Steed Bespoke Tailors

Established in January 1995 and located at № 12 Savile Row, by Edwin DeBoise, whose father and brother are both tailors and Thomas Mahon (now of English Cut). DeBoise trained at the London College of Fashion, and then worked under the legendary cutter Edward Sexton, followed by seven years at Anderson & Sheppard, before founding Steed. January 2002 was Steed's eighth year in business, with saw the amicable split with Mahon. In September 2008, Edwin's eldest son Matthew DeBoise joined the company and is currently learning the trade under his father, along with assisting the day to day running of the company. Steed's reputation has resulted in features for such publications as GQ and American Express Departures Magazine.

Steven Hitchcock Bespoke Tailor

Located at 13 Savile Row, Steven Hitchcock trained at Anderson & Sheppard, one of the few proprietors that have served his full tailoring apprenticeship in Savile Row. Hitchcock specialises in The Savile Row tradition of "soft tailoring" which is a style reminiscent of the golden age of men's clothing. Hitchcock has now been tailoring for 20 years, and celebrating the 10th anniversary of running his own business.

Stowers Bespoke

Located at 13 Savile Row, Stowers Bespoke is the latest addition to Savile Row tailoring. Established in 2006 by Ray Stowers, former head of bespoke at Gieves & Hawkes for 25 years, Stowers Bespoke was created to reverse the trend in the modern market to mass produce garments in the far east, with all ready to wear suits, accessories and made to measure suits in England. Originally working from 13 Old Burlington Street, in the spring of 2007 Stowers Bespoke was the lead brand when Liberty launched their formal wear room making Liberty the only department store to offer in-house bespoke tailoring. In September 2008 Stowers Bespoke purchased an established tailors James Levett, and is in the process of making their shop at 13 Savile Row the Stowers Bespoke flagship store.

Other tailors

  • Comelie London ( 12)
  • Kilgour ( 8)
  • Thomas Mahon ( 12)
  • Henry Herbert ( 9)
  • Jasper Littman ( 9)
  • Dege & Skinner ( 10)
  • H. Huntsman est. 1849 ( 11)
  • Richard Anderson ( 13)
  • Maurice Sedwell ( 19)
  • Welsh and Jefferies ( 20)
  • Holland & Sherry est. 1836 ( 9/10)
  • Richard James est. 1992 ( 29)
  • Gary Anderson ( 34/35)
  • James and James was originally in Old Burlington Street, having been founded by Sven James who came to London in the 1920s to work for Frederick Scholte. James and James have now joined with Davies & Son.
  • Alexandre at 39 Savile Row is owned by British Menswear Brands.
  • William Westmancott ( 12) No longer trading after business filed for bankruptcy

Independent tailors / clothing companies

Ede and Ravenscroft: Est. 1689, Royal Ascot specialists located at 8 Burlington Gardens opposite the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship.

Evisu: This is Japanese retailer found on Savile Row under the shop name "Saburo".

Neighbouring tailors

Since what is known as Savile Row includes several adjacent streets, here are some Savile Row tailors who do not have premises on Savile Row itself:

Anderson & Sheppard

Anderson & Sheppard is a traditional tailor founded in 1906 at 30 Savile Row. The fluid style of cutter Frederick Scholte was the distinguishing feature of the house style, which became known as the "London cut". A high small armhole with a generous upper sleeve permits the jacket to remain close to the neck while freeing the arm to move with comfort.

Customers have included Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Cecil Beaton, Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward, Ralph Fiennes, Manolo Blahnik and Prince Charles. In 2004, Tom Ford became a customer of the firm, commissioning suits that would later appear in a 10 page ‘W’ magazine photo shoot.

Anderson & Sheppard moved off Savile Row to 32 Old Burlington Street in March 2005.

Savile Row Bespoke Association

Founded in 2004, the aim of the Savile Row Bespoke Association is to protect and to develop the art of bespoke tailoring as practised in the Row and the surrounding streets. This cluster of excellence has made a contribution to London and the British image which has been formally recognised by the City of Westminster in a recent study.

Mark Henderson, Managing Director of Gieves & Hawkes is the chairman of the SRBA, who are based at No. 1 Savile Row (at the premises of Gieves & Hawkes).

The member tailors are:Anderson & Sheppard, Davies & Sons, Dege & Skinner, Gieves & Hawkes, Hardy Amies, Henry Poole & Co, H.Huntsman & Sons, Meyer and Mortimer, Norton & Sons, Ozwald Boateng, Richard Anderson and Richard James. Each member tailor is required to put at least 50 hours of hand labour into each two-piece suit.

In 2007 Anthony J Hewitt MD, Ravi Tailor left Savile Row to work from L.G. Wilkinson on St George's Street, after a brief unhappy marriage between Japanese jeans brand Evisu at number 9. This meant they no longer qualified as Savile Row bespoke and therefore had to leave the SRBA.

The Beatles

3 Savile Row, The Beatles' Apple offices
The offices of The Beatles' Apple Corps were at 3 Savile Row; The Beatles, Badfinger, Mary Hopkin and others recorded in the Apple Studios in the basement. The Beatles' final, live performance was on the roof, on 30 January 1969. That "Rooftop Concert" concludes the documentary film Let It Be.

Popular culture

  • 7 Savile Row was the London address of Phileas Fogg, protagonist of Jules Verne's classic adventure novel Around the World in 80 Days.
  • In Japanese, one word for suit is "sebiro" (背広), purportedly a corruption of "Savile Row."
  • Saville Row appears in the Monopoly Here and Now edition, a mis-spelling of the correct name.
  • Savile Row is featured as venue in the music video game Rock Band
  • Savile Row suits are mentioned in The Monochrome Set's song "Jet Set Junta".
  • Savile Row is mentioned in the song "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" in the hit musical Annie.
  • In the cult film "Withnail and I", Withnail claims his suit was cut by "Hawkes of Savile Row".

An urban legend states the character of James Bond wears Savile Row, though he did not even wear these in Ian Fleming's novels, and he did not even wear them himself. The real Bond film tailors were; Anthony Sinclair (1962 – 1965); Dimi Major (1969); Cyril Castle (1973 – 1979); Douglas Hayward (1981 – 1985); Brioni (1995 – 2006); Tom Ford (2008); and Turnbull & Asser, who made the shirts for the Connery, Brosnan and Craig eras. In the 1962 movie "Dr. No," the first in the James Bond series, CIA agent Felix Leiter asks Bond where he was fitted for his Walther PPK, and Bond responds, "My tailor, in Savile Row."

See also


External links

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