Possibly London’s best dressed street, Savile Row is famous not just for shopping, but as the epicentre of British tailoring and craftsmanship. The city’s finest outfitters were some of the first businesses to arrive on the street in 1805 to dress the nobility and high-ranking military who lived in the area.
Like most of Mayfair, the street was developed from the land of stately homes surrounding St James’ Palace in the 18th century. Donated by the Earl of Burlington, he named the street after his wife, Lady Dorothy Savile.
Henry Poole, inventor of the tuxedo, is considered one of the benchmark traders who helped attract other similar names, and they remain one of the most famous tailors on the row to this day. Other notable names with a heritage on the prestigious street include Gieves & Hawkes (originally established as Hawkes & Co in 1912), and Nutters of Savile Row, one of the more modern, edgier tailors that began to appear from the 1970s onwards.
Though the fast-changing landscape of menswear has meant difficult times for traditional tailors, the Savile Row Bespoke Association has been supporting these local institutions since 2004 and has seen a rise in business in recent years. The association overseas issues such as the definition of ‘bespoke’ and that those declaring themselves as ‘Savile Row tailors’ must be operating their business within a 100-yard radius of the street.
Savile Row has become an adjective in its own right, a synonym for the finest British tailoring. It is even rumoured that the Japanese word ‘sibero’, meaning a business suit, is derived from the country’s pronunciation of ‘Savile Row’.
As well as attracting suave suited gentlemen, you may also find Beatles fans gathering to witness the spot of their final ever public performance. In 1968, The Beatles bought 3 Savile Row and made it the headquarters of their Apple Corps business, including the Apple Studio and famously played their final show on its rooftop.