When did Savile Row first become the centre of bespoke tailoring in London?
Savile Row was developed on the Earl of Burlington’s former mansion grounds in the 18th century. The area was full of aristocrats and high-ranking members of the military, so naturally the city’s tailors flocked to become neighbours with these wealthy customers.
However, it was when one of the most popular tailors of the day, Henry Poole, opened up shop in around 1846 with a celebrity client list, and a much grander store than its rivals, that the street began to become known as the premium destination for tailoring. Poole’s customers included Napolean Bonaparte, Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, attracting more fashionable clientele to the Row to get the VIP treatment. Today the 270-metre-long street is home to more than 20 bespoke tailors.
Who is the oldest tailoring establishment on Savile Row?
Henry Poole, considered the founding tailor of Savile Row, is still in business after more than 200 years and considered the oldest establishment on the street. It was first opened in 1806 and by the early 1900s it was the biggest tailoring institution of its kind in the world, hiring more than 300 tailors and 14 cutters.
Henry Poole first opened a site on Savile Row in approximately 1846 but was forced to move in 1961 due to redevelopment. The legendary creators of the tuxedo were able to return to Savile Row in 1985, where they have occupied number 15 ever since, continuing to make all of their garments on site.
Who are the most famous people to shop on Savile Row?
As home to the finest tailoring, Savile Row has attracted the world’s best dressed celebrities. From historical figures such as Winston Churchill, who never paid an outstanding bill of £197 to his tailor Henry Poole, to rock ‘n’ roll legends like Mick Jagger, who helped make Tommy Nutter an icon of 60s fashion, the tailors are full of stories of the rich and famous.
Today, you’re still just as likely to spot a famous face on the Row getting ready for a red carpet event. Eddie Redmayne, Colin Firth, George Clooney and Daniel Craig are a few of the names known to wear bespoke Savile Row suits for premiers. It’s not just the men either, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Campbell have both been papped in Savile Row suits.
The Beatles, whose suits were as iconic as their music, were more than just customers on Savile Row, they had their headquarters for Apple Corps at number three and performed their last ever gig on its rooftop in 1969.
How much does a Savile Row bespoke suit cost?
The joy of a bespoke suit is that you can decide exactly the fabric and the style that you want and therefore, the price will vary. However, depending on the tailor, a two-piece bespoke suit usually starts from between £1500 to £4000.
Creating a bespoke suit requires taking up to 50 measurements to make a unique pattern for the client. At least two fittings are required to ensure a precision fit and the whole process can take around 80 hours of expert craftsmanship to complete. Most clients can expect to receive their finished suit in around six to 12 weeks.
Which organisation represents the bespoke tailors on Savile Row?
The Savile Row Bespoke Association is a collective of tailors who promote and protect the street’s reputation as a centre of tailoring excellence. It was set up in 2004 by five of the Row’s most revered tailors: Anderson & Sheppard, Dege & Skinner, Gieves & Hawkes, H. Huntsman & Sons and Henry Poole & Co.
There are currently 22 members, each one adhering to the strict definition of a Savile Row tailor as set out by the association. The stipulations include making all garments within a 100-yard radius of Savile Row and offering at least 2000 cloth choices. All members must employ an apprentice and the association has seen over 50 young men and women trained since it started the initiative to ensure the high standard of skill can be kept alive for future generations.