Tuesday, 13 March 2018

JEEVES Short Trip to Lisbon wearing a BOOKSTER Hacking Jacket.

In these times of “travel light”, just carrying a small cabin suitcase, we often chose to pack just one jacket with one extra matching trousers. It is the several shirts, waistcoats and accessories which will make the difference to succeed in wearing various outfits.
To guarantee a solid, elegant, robust and dashing basis for my journey I took with me one BOOKSTER Hacking Jacket. This great piece of TWEED belongs to their ‘ready-to-wear’ collection.
The details and  perfect finishing touches can be observed in the photographs, but I like to emphasize that BOOKSTER takes great care in the junctions, in considering matching checks, which guarantees a  variated and harmonious TWEED ‘landscape’.
Great quality and comfort, timeless style and solidity, totally transcending “fashion”.


Model:  Hacking Jacket
Cloth: Thistle Tweed
Cloth Weight:  550gms / 22oz
Weight Category: Medium Weight
Cloth Pattern: Check
Cloth Colour: Green Gold Mix with Purple/Wine Windowpane Over Check
Lining: Purple Viscose Twill Lining
Buttons: Dark Horn
Style: 3 Button Front
Lapel: Notch Lapel with Collar Tab Feature
Outside Pockets: 3 Extra Slant Flap Pockets and Welted Breast Bocket
Inside Pockets: 2 Inside Breast Pocket with Security Pocket Right, Pen Pocket and Card Pocket left
Cuff: 4 Button Real Cuff
Vents: Twin Vents
Trim: Purple Undrcollar

Customer Service: +44 (0)113 887 8424
Email: info@bookster.co.uk


Bookster was established by Peter and Michelle King in Herefordshire in 2007 and was borne out of selling vintage clothing in the 1970s which, over time, became renowned for specialising in Tweed.

This specialisation was due to a continued frustration that tweed clothing was only available in a limited number of small sizes. With a growing customer base of demand for Tweed garments (in a variety of shapes and sizes) they decided that the best way to serve their clients was to actually start making Tweed jackets in custom sizes.

Thus Bookster Tailoring was established to introduce The Bookster Original made to order Tweed Jacket. Popularity for the product rapidly grew and soon demand had seen the product range widen significantly, whilst maintaining the Bookster Tweed Jacket as its core focus.

In 2014 Bookster Tailoring was acquired by new owners, with a rich tailoring heritage stretching back over 100 years, and subsequently the company’s headquarters moving to Leeds, a famous heartland for tailoring and cloth production.

The acquisition has only strengthened Bookster’s client offering in terms of product range, customisation options, selection of cloth, fit, tailoring quality and customer service. Today Bookster, still specialising in Tweed, has a customer base of satisfied clients who appreciate the quintessentially British style of a Bookster garment, its’ premium quality and perfect fit.


Our mission is to help our clients embrace British tailoring style to create unique clothing of timeless elegance.


We want to become the world’s leading online tailoring service specialising in British cloths and styles.


Be a pleasure to work with - Customers like you are at the heart of what we do and our future relies on your continued business. Our team of friendly, knowledgeable staff are always on hand to talk you through the choices. We can advise on every aspect of the style and cloth. You can even meet with us in Leeds or London for a full fitting and consultation. We want to make custom made clothing as easy and pleasurable as possible for you to order.

Be inspiring - We share your passion for clothing and can help you embrace your creativity. Our comprehensive choice of cloths, styles and cuts allow you to create your own style and express your personality. We constantly review our product range and continue to source the finest fabrics from around the world. We can even help you design your own cloth so your clothing can truly be unique.

Be excellent - To become the world’s leading online tailor, we have to continually build on our foundation of quality products and service excellence. We only use the finest fabrics and our product quality is guaranteed. We strive to maintain the same level of excellence throughout every area of our business.

Be exclusive - Bookster are often considered best in class when it comes to Tweed tailoring. We balance premium quality with value for money. Our prices may not be the lowest, but the quality, variety and experience we provide, combined with the customisation options we offer, make our clothing the best value. We understand the demands of the modern day and have established an online ordering system that does not compromise traditional tailoring heritage. The ability to order high quality, custom made garments and suits through our website sets us apart from the industry.

Be adventurous - We are not scared to push the boundaries and we encourage our customers to embrace their adventurous side letting their clothing reflect their personality.

Hubert de Givenchy obituary

Hubert de Givenchy obituary
Couturier to Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy

Veronica Horwell
Mon 12 Mar 2018 17.44 GMT Last modified on Mon 12 Mar 2018 17.45 GMT

Audrey Hepburn glides through the credits of the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s in a black dress that is in no way little. It’s a long, narrow sheath, though she can still amble down Fifth Avenue unimpeded. The dress is sleeveless – yet gloves cover her arms far above her elbows – and collarless, with a striking back strap revealing her shoulder blades. Several generations have worshipped images of Hepburn in that dress as defining sophistication.

This was the work of Hubert de Givenchy, who has died aged 91. His clothes for Hepburn made her feel secure. “I put them on and I feel protected,” she said. He helped her to downplay the trampiness of Holly Golightly, who trips into Sing Sing prison in Givenchy’s lampshade hat, and shops at Tiffany’s in his tailored coat. No wonder Jacqueline Kennedy commanded Givenchy to outfit her state visit to Paris that year.

Givenchy had been brought up to enjoy textiles, to regard them as treats. He was the younger son of the Marquis of Givenchy, who died when the boy was three, and Béatrice Badin; and the pet of his maternal grandmother, Margaret Badin, widow of the director of the Beauvais tapestry workshops. That was his happy memory of childhood, his grandmother rewarding him for good behaviour by opening cupboards filled with fabric treasures, or allowing him to rummage in trunks and bundles. “My mother and my cousins played customers, gathered about the sewing machine.” His mother backed his decision to be a fashion designer, provided he did it to the highest standards. She introduced him to couture houses and sent him to study in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

As a postwar teen he worked briefly for Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong before joining Elsa Schiaparelli in 1947. She had confidence in him, despite his youth, and told him to use up 900 metres of prewar, surrealist-print silks cluttering her stockroom. He did what he always did thereafter: hung up the cloth until he understood its properties, and then cut separates from it, amusing enough to sell well despite the stuffs being so out of date. “Never work against the fabric, it has a life of its own,” he said.

Givenchy was 24 when he opened his own house with financial backing from his brother-in-law, Louis Fontaine, who owned the Prisunic chain stores. There was only money enough to pay his few workhands (many of whom then stayed with him for life). He showed his clothes on plastic mannequins to save model hire and, not being able to afford the silks of his competitors, made a collection with the cotton toile (shirting) traditionally used for couture prototypes. This, plus the simplicity of his lines, and his philosophy that a dress should defer to a woman’s shape, not she to it, positioned him closer to American sportswear than to Paris couture.

His heroes were the unique dressmaker Madame Grès, who left him her personal collection of 300 gowns, and Cristóbal Balenciaga, who redirected clients to Givenchy when he closed his own house – despite the fact that Balenciaga was baroque in spirit, while Givenchy was a neoclassicist.

Givenchy’s freshness and vivacity were just right for the new world of the Vespa scooter and the beach bag. And they attracted the ultimate customer in 1953. When he was told Mademoiselle Hepburn had made an appointment, he assumed that meant Katharine the great movie star. In walked Audrey, who had just made Roman Holiday, the definitive Vespa movie, aged 24 but looking a teen in T-shirt, ballet flats and no make-up. She thought he could supply the believable sophistication she needed for Sabrina (1954), the Billy Wilder film in which a below-stairs girl returns from Paris transformed. There wasn’t time to create to order, so she chose from what was available and stood through three-hour fittings in service of exactitude. Her boat-necked Cinderella gown won a deserved Oscar, but not for Givenchy: his work was credited to the studio designer Edith Head.

Hepburn was mortified by that, but the episode established the Givenchy-Hepburn relationship, which lasted to her death in 1993. He made her costumes for the musical Funny Face (1957) and the thriller Charade (1963). By How to Steal a Million (1966), the partnership had become an in-joke — when Hepburn’s character asks why she must be disguised as an aproned charlady during a robbery, she is told: “It’ll give Givenchy a night off.”

Yet the next year, the studio dressed Hepburn in ready-to-wear clothes, and not from Paris, for the comedy Two for the Road. The mood had changed, and the big money had gone. She demanded Givenchy should design her period costumes for Tennessee Williams’s Summer and Smoke, then withdrew from the project, and their only movie together after that was the made-for-television Love Among Thieves (1987).

Among Givenchy’s clients were also Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Leslie Caron, Maria Callas, Grace Kelly and the Duchess of Windsor – he stayed up all night to sew the black coat she wore to the Duke’s funeral. Although he never lacked wealthy customers, he was uncomfortable with the extravagant showmanship of couture from the mid-1970s: the “impossible, crazy clothes” that did not “think about the life of a woman”, and were careless, almost contemptuous, of textiles. He remained commercially astute, selling his perfumes to the Veuve Cliquot champagne brand in 1981, and the couture house in 1988 to the LVMH luxury conglomerate, which later acquired the perfumes, too.

 Givenchy is applauded by his models after presenting his final High Fashion collection in 1995. Photograph: Reuters

Givenchy kept his patience, just, with LVMH’s head, Bernard Arnault, until his formal retirement in 1995, and thereafter spoke of Arnault’s designer appointments (including John Galliano and Alexander McQueen) with distant politeness. “C’est la vie,” he told commiserators. “Happily, for many years we had a wonderful time, beautiful fabric, beautiful people.”

He had long since set up an alternative life as an “amateur d’art”, buying from artists he had met, Miró, Picasso and the sculptor Diego Giacometti. His real passion, though, was for the very best French furniture of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and over the decades his Paris apartment became a miniature Versailles. But he sold his collection in 1993 – too museum-like – and lived mostly in Le Jonchet, his manor house near Tours, with its gardens edged by 36,000 box bushes and its white roses in memory of Hepburn.

Givenchy was awarded Paris couture’s Golden Thimbles in 1978 and 1982, and there were major exhibitions at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, in 1982, and the Musée de la Mode in Paris, in 1991.

He is survived by his partner, and fellow couturier, Philippe Venet.

• Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy, couturier, born 21 February 1927; died 10 March 2018

Hubert de Givenchy: an elegant master of devastating chic
He dressed Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy and forged a timeless style for a golden age

Jess Cartner-Morley
Mon 12 Mar 2018 15.40 GMT Last modified on Mon 12 Mar 2018 22.00 GMT

The first and last time I met Hubert de Givenchy, who has died at the age of 91, was at the opening of his eponymous exhibition at the Calais Museum for Lace and Fashion in June. His elegant 6ft 6in frame was even more imposing for the stately pace at which he moved, supported by a wooden cane. He had an impressive head of snow-white hair, and wore a simple dark suit and tie with a white shirt.
Hubert de Givenchy, maker of style icons, dies aged 91

The reporters who had assembled for the opening asked reverent questions about the iconic dresses he made, but he was much more interested in talking about the women he made them for. He told a funny story about his first meeting with Miss Hepburn, and how taken aback he was to be presented with the pixie-like Audrey instead of the other, at that point more famous, Katharine. Givenchy recalled Audrey as “this very thin person with beautiful eyes, short hair, thick eyebrows, very tiny trousers, ballerina shoes and a little T-shirt. On her head was a straw gondolier’s hat with a red ribbon around it.” The two became close, collaborating on a wardrobe for the film Sabrina and every subsequent role.

The designer’s elegant tailoring and eye for a perfect line, combined with the unusually spare taste of Hepburn, created style magic. Together they forged a refined image of pared-to-the-bone glamour that still looks chic more than half a century later. “She was not like other movie stars, because she loved simplicity,” Givenchy once said. Black dresses, ballerina pumps, sunglasses and pearls still conjure up the image of Hepburn. That their partnership grew into “a great friendship”, as Givenchy said at the opening of the exhibition, is reflected in his appointment as the mediator of her will towards the end of her life.

Givenchy’s death comes as the house he founded enjoys a renewed lease of life under , the British designer appointed as its creative director last year. Many celebrated designers, including Alexander McQueen, have been at the helm in the years since Givenchy sold his company, but Waight Keller is the first to have met the founder in person. When she joined the house she paid homage to his “confident style”. Backstage after her fashion shows, Waight Keller often mentions the designer she calls “Hubert”.

He was the unrivalled master of the devastatingly chic, all-black look. One of the first telephone calls made by Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, after the death of her husband Edward, the Duke of Windsor, in 1972 was to the Givenchy atelier. Photographs of that black wool coat with cigaline veil, produced within one day in time for the duchess to travel to the funeral, were reproduced all over the world.

The iconography of first lady style owes a debt – largely unacknowledged – to the Givenchy atelier. At the Calais exhibition opening, the designer recalled being charmed by the beauty and youthful energy of Jackie Kennedy, whom he first met while her husband was running for president. For the first Kennedy official visit to France, Givenchy “made 10 or 15 pieces … but her secretary told me that we could not tell the press”, he remembered – the need for the first lady to be seen to support American fashion meant Givenchy’s contribution to Kennedy’s image was downplayed. After the trip, Kennedy wrote a card to Givenchy relaying a compliment given to her by Charles de Gaulle at an event at Versailles, for which she had worn a Givenchy gown: “Madame, this evening you look like a Parisienne.”

The French news magazine L’Express once described Givenchy as being “to fashion what Françoise Sagan was to literature and Bernard Buffet to painting: successful, glamorous, gorgeous, and very, very French”. His death breaks a link to a golden age of 20th-century elegance, in the clothes he created for Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy and their chic contemporaries.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Phantom Thread / VIDEO: PHANTOM THREAD - Official Trailer [HD] - In Select Theaters Christmas

Phantom Thread review – Daniel Day-Lewis bows out in style with drama of delicious pleasure
5 / 5 stars    
In his final film, Day-Lewis reunites with Paul Thomas Anderson to deliver a masterful performance as a society dressmaker beguiled by a young waitress

Peter Bradshaw
Thu 7 Dec 2017 17.00 GMT Last modified on Thu 22 Feb 2018 21.06 GMT

‘Carried off with superb elegance’ ... Vicky Krieps and Daniel Day Lewis in Phantom Thread.

A brilliant English couturier of the postwar age: fastidious and cantankerous, humourless and preposterous – and heterosexual, in that pre-Chatterley era when being a bachelor and fashion designer wasn’t automatically associated in the public mind with anything else. Daniel Day-Lewis gives us his cinema swansong in this new film from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson. He is Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock, celebrated dressmaker to the debutantes of Britain, but now under pressure from the New Look and influences from across the Channel. He treats us to a fine display of temper on the subject of that unforgivably meretricious word: chic.

Just when he is at his lowest, Woodcock falls in love with a shy, maladroit German waitress at the country hotel where he happens to be staying. This is Alma, played by Vicky Krieps. With his connoisseur’s eye, Woodcock sees in her a grace and beauty no one else had noticed, certainly not Alma herself. Dazzled, she comes to live with him as his assistant and model in the central London fashion house over which Woodcock rules with his sister and confidante Cyril, played with enigmatic reserve by Lesley Manville. But, as Woodcock becomes ever more impossible and controlling, submissive Alma must find new, more dysfunctional ways to re-establish her emotional mastery over him.

Day-Lewis gives a performance of almost ridiculously charismatic outrageousness, the sort only he could get away with. He is Hardy Amies and Norman Hartnell with a dash of Tony Armstrong-Jones – certainly Hartnell’s relationship with his sister and business partner Phyllis is evoked here. It’s a study in cult leadership to compare with Anderson’s The Master and a portrait of entrepreneurial loneliness to put alongside his appearance in Anderson’s There Will Be Blood.

Woodcock is a preening exquisite, theatrical, highly strung, with a borderline bizarre speaking voice, sinuous and refined: an acquired style perhaps hinting at a humbler beginning than any he will admit to now. This Woodcock has the etiolated grace of a dancer, the misanthropy of an artist, and also the careless hauteur of the nobleman. It’s the kind of character Day-Lewis has played in other films – the one who nurses a politely unvoiced contempt for the lack of integrity he sees in everything and everyone around him, especially here the vulgar, moneyed women on whose patronage he is forced to rely.

He is the definition of a gentleman: someone who never gives offence accidentally. I couldn’t watch Day-Lewis without grinning all over my face at this creation. But he is not supposed to be funny or camp. Krieps matches this as best she can with an intelligent, subdued naturalism, just as she did playing Jenny Marx in Raoul Peck’s new film . Yet there is no question of who is in the spotlight.

Joseph Losey is an influence, particularly in the superb scene-setting created by production designer Mark Tildesley and Mark Bridges’s costumes. The other influence of course is Hitchcock, with Krieps in the Joan Fontaine role from Rebecca and Day-Lewis the patrician Max de Winter, as played by Olivier. Manville is a combination of Mrs Danvers and Rebecca herself. There are no sugar-rush jukebox 50s hits on the soundtrack to establish the sentimentality of the period, or, for that matter, newspaper hoardings about Suez or Profumo. We stick strictly to a generalised sense of time and place and an orchestral score by Jonny Greenwood with classical pieces.

It all creates a feeling of heightened reality, like a dream, particularly when a madly jealous Woodcock goes looking for Alma at a raucous New Year’s Eve party. But is it a nightmare or a swoon, a reverie?

There is such pure delicious pleasure in this film, in its strangeness, its vehemence, its flourishes of absurdity, carried off with superb elegance. And Woodcock’s sartorial creations have a surreal quality, decadent, like dishes at a Roman banquet. Can this really be Daniel Day-Lewis’s final performance? He’s said that it is, and he is not someone for speaking casually. We have to assume that this is goodbye. Maybe this is how onlookers felt at Nijinsky’s last public performance in 1917, which reputedly made Arthur Rubinstein burst into tears. It’s a wonderful high note for Day-Lewis to end on: I feel a mixture of euphoria and desperate sadness.

The men who dressed Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread
Unlike the movie stars, moguls, heads of state and literary giants that they dress, these men would have otherwise remained unknown

Friday 2 February 2018

If there was an Oscar for Most Elegantly Tailored Suits, then the men who dressed Daniel Day-Lewis’s character in Phantom Thread would surely win. So take a bow front of house sales Martin Crawford, trouser cutter Oliver Spencer, and senior coat cutter Leon Powell of Anderson & Sheppard. The Savile Row house with a long and storied history of dressing Hollywood’s most elegant leading men, including Fred Astaire and Cary Grant, can now add three time Oscar winner, Daniel Day-Lewis to the list. For alongside costumer Mark Bridges and Day-Lewis himself, these are the geniuses responsible for the languid, softly tailored suits, coats and jackets which drape gently over the frame of the Phantom Thread couturier, Reynolds Woodcock.

Unlike the movie stars, moguls, heads of state and literary giants that they dress, these men would have otherwise remained unknown, as is the Savile Row way, which is discreet often to the point of total anonymity.

 “The main concern for Mr Lewis (everyone is "Mr" on Savile Row), was that the suits were made from authentic period cloth,” says front of house sales, Martin Crawford, who acts as a kind of textile sommelier, advising costumer Mark Bridges and Daniel Day-Lewis on the kinds of cloth that would have been used during the 50s. “The main difference is that today cloths are a lot lighter for comfort, now that we have central heating and so on. For the blue herringbone coat, we used a 34 ounce cloth, which is almost double the weight of what we would normally use, and one of the heaviest that I have ever come across.” That coat is fast becoming one of the key looks in the film, with American customers already asking after it. The coat also acts as something of a tribute to Day-Lewis’s father Cecil, who was a client of the firm and had a similar one made for him.

The company created a total of 7 looks including 2 city suits, a dinner suit, a tweed jacket, and a tweed suit, all using materials sourced from British mills, as would have been the custom during the 50s, including Somerset’s Fox Flannel, which still supplies many of Savile Row’s top firms.

The other thing to get right, of course, was the cut and detailing of the clothes. “Today everything is very fitted, very stylised,” says trouser cutter Oliver Spencer.“ The garments back then would have been worn a lot looser and relaxed, more louche. So the trousers on the grey city suit would finish high on the waist (up to the belly button) with pleats and also much wider compared to today.”

“It was a group effort,” says Martin Crawford. “They would come in together and it was a case of giving options, narrowing it down, just as you would a normal client. In fact, lots of customers come in with their partners or stylists, and so it wasn’t so different with Mr Bridges and Mr Lewis. We treated them exactly the same as we would any other customer. Mr Lewis was very involved in the details suggesting different types of lapels and so on. And while the clothes are correct for the period it isn’t so different to what we do now.” Indeed, almost all of the looks in the film are available to order, right now.

Perhaps one of the reasons why Hollywood has always been so enamoured of Anderson and Sheppard is not only for the way the suits look but also the way they move on screen: “There’s a signature softness to what we do,” says senior coat cutter Leon Powell. ”Instead of looking wooden on the screen, there’s a natural flow and movement to our suits. We want you to look elegant and stylish, but also feel comfortable too.”

For the famously method actor, the visits to Anderson and Sheppard were a kind of method shopping, “Towards the end of the process he came in wearing the clothes we made for him. He even had the character’s name on the inside of the lapel on one side and his own name on the other,” says Leon Powell. “They asked for the clothes to be ready several weeks before shooting so that he could wear them in a bit, so that they didn’t look new. They talked about beating them up a bit. ”

“My favourite suits are ones that are a couple of years old and have softened into the body. They take on a life of their own when they softly drape to individual’s physique. It’s a lovely process to see. A suit always looks better when you’re relaxed and so you can see the persona of the person wearing it.”

Phantom Thread has picked up 6 Oscar nominations, including one for Best Costume, so perhaps the boys will be putting on their dinner suits in readiness for the red carpet? “Perhaps we’ll put them on when we go to the pub to celebrate,” says Martin Crawford. Well, they deserve it.

What do fashion insiders think of Phantom Thread?
The film paints a wistful picture of the rarified world inside Reynolds Woodcock’s 50s London townhouse atelier. Four industry experts give their verdicts on its authenticity, from the Belgian princesses to Daniel Day-Lewis’s pin-pricked fingers

Lauren Cochrane
Sat 3 Feb 2018 07.00 GMT

For fashion insiders, the star of Phantom Thread isn’t newcomer Vicky Krieps or Oscar contender Lesley Manville. Instead, it’s two people – Sue Clark and Joan Brown. Playing the women who run Reynolds Woodcock’s atelier in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1950s fashion tale, Clark and Brown are not budding actors but real-life seamstresses whose hands have touched countless couture gowns. Clark, 67, spent her working life as a fashion teacher, while Brown, 71, learned her trade at Savile Row tailor Hardy Amies and fashion house Worth. They are now volunteers at the V&A’s Clothworkers Centre archive, where they bring their expertise to the museum’s fashion collection. That’s where Anderson, on a visit to study the work of mid-century designers, found them, and cast them in his film.

It is details such as these that make Phantom Thread something of an exception for fashion, a world more accustomed to seeing itself on screen in an exaggerated form, in films from Funny Face to Zoolander.

Paul Thomas Anderson: ’You can tell a lot about a person by what they order for breakfast’
Anderson’s film is a study of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Woodcock – a mix of mid-century couturiers such as Amies, Charles James and Cristóbal Balenciaga, and the technique and craft that became the objects of their obsession.

Rather than take place in the more familiar environs of Paris, it is set in the postwar world of London couture. Woodcock is a control freak who lives among a coterie of women catering to his every creative whim. These include his sister, Cyril, played by Manville, and Krieps’s Alma, a waitress whom he turns into a muse for his creations.

While the rarified world of a Fitzrovia townhouse in inner London, Belgian princesses and white-coated seamstresses might date Phantom Thread, this scenario of a designer atelier, or versions of it, have arguably played out in fashion since the industry began, and remain familiar today. To discuss how much Phantom Thread chimes with fashion then and now, four insider names give their verdict:

Alistair O’Neill, professor of fashion history and theory, Central Saint Martins, London
Phantom Thread paints a largely authentic picture of London couture in the 50s. Day-Lewis handles a needle beautifully, his fingertips dry and splitting, punctured with pin-pricked blood spots. The house of Woodcock is set in a handsome townhouse on Fitzroy Square and its layout and many of the scenes played out in it are reminiscent of the house that Hardy Amies restored after the war at 14 Savile Row. It too has two sets of stairs, a larger one at the front for clients, and a smaller and concealed set at the back for staff. Its first-floor salon was also used for fashion shows and client fittings. There are fashion editorials published in British Vogue in the late 40s where Amies poses next to his model in a tuxedo like a handsome escort, and there is a fashion shoot scene in the film that is similar. The scene of Woodcock greeting a princess on the street as she arrives by chauffeur for her fitting makes me think of the 1952 photo of Amies and his seamstresses carrying Princess Elizabeth’s wardrobe down the steps of the house into a black cab set for Clarence House.

Like Woodcock, the French couturiers of the time were very superstitious. Coco Chanel was interested in numerology and Christian Dior used to pin lily of the valley into the linings of skirts prior to the fashion show, for luck.

The jewel tones of silk taffeta – amethyst, emerald and aquamarine – that much of Woodcock’s couture is made from are indebted to Cecil Beaton’s photograph of designs by Charles James taken in 1948. They are combined with lace detailing, which is a typical couture fabric, but the results are uneven. In the film, it works beautifully in the dress that makes use of an antique piece of Flemish (Brussels) lace, but less so in the dress Alma models with a lace apron at the skirt for the fashion show. This scene features Alma smiling as she walks, a detail that wouldn’t have been tolerated in a couture house at the time. The only emotion models were paid to show in the 50s was indifference, expressed with condescension and hauteur. In a recent obituary for Lady Astor, who worked as a fashion model in the period and was the muse of Pierre Balmain, journalist Katharine Whitehorn described her walk as “dirt-beneath-my-feet style of modelling”. The only other detail that feels off is the luminous quality of the film. Postwar London has never looked so bright.

 The depiction of Reynolds is reminiscent of a number of designers from the period, such as Sir Hardy Amies.

Katie Grand, editor-in-chief of Love magazine
I thought it was really accurate, and there are so many parallels between how designers behave then and now. Within five minutes of watching the film, I thought: “It’s like being at work.” Creative people have unusual behaviours – they don’t want to talk to anyone before 12pm or they don’t talk to anyone after 6pm. Obsessive-compulsive is too harsh, but there are peculiarities. You get used to it and watching it in a film just made it more heightened.

I didn’t recognise Cyril as anyone specific, but it wouldn’t be unusual to have someone in a house who provides a lot of emotional support. You get accustomed to quirks – such as when Woodcock makes too much of the noise Alma makes eating her toast. I have seen Marc Jacobs eat chicken for lunch for more than 15 years. Mrs Prada always drinks tea and still water. But then, you learn the tastes in food and drink of anyone you spend a lot of time with. As for the muse relationship that Woodcock has with Alma, I have seen Jacobs work like that with the model Jamie Bouchet. He has collaborated with her for maybe 10 years, and he doesn’t like to see work in the raw form on anyone other than her.

All of the scenes that involve the fittings on Alma are very accurate – the standing around for hours, the fittings at 4am. Jamie is very patient. When something goes wrong, the atelier does have to work all through the night, as they do in the film when the wedding dress is torn. That’s the same as any creative arena though – I imagine it’s the same when you’re making an album.

The appointments with private clients, as seen in the film, felt real. I don’t think that process has changed all that much. I don’t know about London, but the couture houses in Paris now are similar to the atelier depicted in the film. When you work in a couture studio – such as Chanel or Dior – there are people with white coats. The atmosphere is super-respectful, everyone in those structures is very reverent to the designer, and there is an etiquette. I didn’t pay much attention to the clothes, but I was pleased to see that the structures underneath the clothes were correct. I was focused on that, rather than the silhouettes or fabrics.

Roksanda Ilincic, London fashion week designer
The mid-century is probably my favourite era. The volume, shape and line is so much what I am drawn to. It was also very interesting to watch a film about a designer. I am not so obsessive that I cannot have breakfast without silence, as Woodcock does, but I understand that to be creative you have to keep your thread of thought. When I’m designing, I’m usually in a room by myself. You see Woodcock collapse after the show, and it is true that you are emotionally and physically exhausted because this thing has been all you have thought about for such a long time. Even when you’re at home or with friends, you’re still thinking about it. When you first start working, it’s like work is the only thing that matters, as it is with Woodcock. It takes a long time for that obsession to go; for me it went after the birth of my daughter. I worked literally until I gave birth. Afterwards, I realised life needed to be a bit more balanced.

I identified with his attitude to his dresses; it’s as if they are alive. They are something so precious and dear to him, he can’t bear the idea of harm coming to them. I would never take a dress from a client, as he does, but you get so attached to your work. I have had dresses come back from photoshoots totally ruined and it’s heartbreaking.

I don’t have a particular muse, for me its more like a sisterhood of women. I can understand why one muse or woman, such as Alma, can epitomise everything, though. She’s not a drawing, she’s alive.

Woodcock has to appear at events and so do I. I wish being a designer was a bit less about being a public figure but spending time with my clients is important to me. They fall a little bit in love with the world you present as well as the dress. That time also really helps me understand their lifestyle and what they need.

My team don’t wear white coats in the studio, but they do have the same commitment to what they’re doing and they are almost proud to work hard, as they do in the film. Before every show you have some kind of disaster and we all work together to solve it. They are like a family. They have to be. I like the film’s idea of this beautiful house that is his whole world, there’s no need to leave the bubble. But, for me personally, I think it’s probably healthier to have a separate space.

Alexandra Shulman, ex-editor-in-chief, British Vogue
Fashion and fiction rarely make successful partners. There is something about the intangibility of what fashion is, alongside a widely held assumption that there is something inherently trivial, even fake about it, that means any fictional portrayal of the world veers to caricature. And this includes Phantom Thread. Daniel Day-Lewis’ character is a mashup of any number of designers.

Certainly the beautiful salon of his townhouse looked almost identical to the Amies’ Mayfair HQ I knew. And the intensity, dedication and near silent skills of the white-coated ladies – the petit mains – as they stitch and fit was identical to the scene in any famous couture house, whether London, Rome or Paris. The crisp character of Woodstock’s sister, Cyril, who runs his business and, in large part, his private life, was utterly convincing. It was a pitch-perfect depiction by Lesley Manville of the many people employed by some designers to enforce a protective ring that keeps away anybody or any information that might disturb their creativity.

But the general silliness of the plot, and the clunky cartoon-like behaviour that inhabits many episodes undermines so much of the real passion and industry that the film and Day-Lewis work hard to demonstrate. The combative relationship between Woodstock and his lover, Alma, struck me as unconvincing, while a scene where they snatch back a dress from a bulky, comatose Barbara Hutton-type is ridiculous and would have finished off his business. Luckily Day-Lewis’s physical beauty and his wonderful period wardrobe was some compensation for a tale I found simply unbelievable and peopled by characters that I had no sympathy for.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Anderson & Sheppard "A Style is born".

Inside the new Anderson & Sheppard shop, at 32 Old Burlington Street, London.

A Style Is Born
It is perhaps the finest bespoke tailor in Britain—which is to say in the world. With a clientele both established and au courant, Anderson & Sheppard enters its second century true to its radical founding ideal: The suit shouldn’t wear the man; the man should wear the suit.

By David Kamp in Vanity Fair November 2011

 In March of 2005, Anderson & Sheppard, the standard-bearer of Savile Row—tailors to Fred Astaire, Noël Coward, Gary Cooper, and the Prince of Wales, not to mention sundry dukes, barons, maharajas, marchesi, industrialists, actors, composers, Rothschilds, Guinnesses, and Waughs—did something utterly at odds with its tradition-bound history: it moved.

And not only did it move. It moved off Savile Row, relocating from its corner spot at No. 30, where it had stood for 78 of its 99 years, to a smaller space a block west in Old Burlington Street.

The move caused some grumbling—as much within the firm as without. It will never be the same, the grumblers said. How can Anderson & Sheppard be Anderson & Sheppard if it isn’t in old No. 30, with its heavy double doors, its mahogany paneling, its herringbone floors, and its long tables in the front room piled high with bolts of cloth?

Yet it wasn’t long after this move that the Anderson & Sheppard staff came to a pleasant realization: the customers were still coming in. In fact, orders picked up at the new place, and walk-in traffic remained as brisk as ever. Steeped in lore as the old premises at No. 30 were, they turned out not to be what mattered. What mattered were the cutters, tailors, and salesmen with whom the customers had developed enduring relationships; the happily anticipatory experience, which time and age can never temper, of picking out fabrics and linings and buttons for the latest wardrobe upgrade; and, above all, the distinctive way an Anderson & Sheppard suit looks and feels—softly elegant, cut to show the wearer’s style rather than impose one on him.

The natural look. The sloped shoulder. The limp silhouette. The English drape. What to make of these curious phrases, all reliably used to describe the Anderson & Sheppard style? To the uninitiated, these words might suggest lightness and grace, but then again, they might suggest a strange clientele of invertebrates. Why the unrelenting emphasis on softness? To answer this question, it helps to know what the fledgling firm was rebelling against in its early decades.

Yes, rebelling. “Establishment” as Anderson & Sheppard is now thought to be, it was once the renegade of Savile Row. Its sign pointedly identified the firm as CIVIL TAILORS. For civilians, not the military—not the place to go for clothes that would cinch you up and make you stand at attention.

This was something of a radical stance in 1913, the year the young firm left its original space, in Sackville Street, and took its first address on Savile Row, at No. 13. At the foot of the Row, at No. 1, stood Hawkes & Co., military tailors of long standing. Just atop the Row, in Conduit Street, was J. Dege & Sons, uniformers of the cavalry. At Nos. 36–39 stood the firm credited as the first to establish Savile Row’s reputation as a bespoke mecca, Henry Poole & Co., which specialized not only in military tailoring but also in livery and court dress.

The work of these firms was every bit as skilled and accomplished as Anderson & Sheppard’s would be, but still very Victorian in its formality and stiffness. It was only when an innovative Dutch tailor named Frederick Scholte hung up a shingle at 7 Savile Row that the great softening began, and that men’s fashion plunged headlong into the 20th century.

Scholte is credited with creating the look that came to be known as the London cut or the English drape. He was also the mentor of Peter Gustaf Anderson, known as Per, the Swedish expatriate who, with Sidney Horatio Sheppard, a trouser cutter, would found Anderson & Sheppard. Scandalous as it might seem that the most definitively English of Savile Row cuts was in fact the work of a Dutchman and a Swede, it’s indisputable that the look’s foremost popularizer was as English as could be: the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, later still the Duke of Windsor.

The “drape” of a coat (to use the traditional Savile Row term for jacket) is the manner in which it hangs from the shoulders. A Scholte coat was roomy over the chest and shoulder blades, resulting in a conspicuous but graceful drape—the fabric not flawlessly smooth and fitted but gently descending from the collarbone in soft vertical ripples. The upper sleeves, too, were generous, allowing for a broad range of motion, but the armholes, cut high and small, held the coat in place, keeping its collar from separating from the wearer’s neck when he raised his arms. The shoulders remained unpadded, left to slope along the natural lines of the wearer.

As to how Anderson & Sheppard came to be the most celebrated and sought-after practitioner of the Scholte style, the records are scant and the details murky. Per Anderson went into business for himself way back in 1906, when the Prince of Wales was only 12 years old. It’s not clear whether the young Per Anderson learned the English drape from Scholte as a fully realized style way back at the turn of the century, nearly two decades before it became popular, or whether, more likely, the style evolved over an extended period of time, with the two men refining their own takes on the same basic idea. But what’s undoubtedly true is that by the 1920s the “soft look” was catching on—and that Anderson & Sheppard was reaping the benefits.

Scholte’s legendary obstinacy was actually a help to his former protégé’s firm. Whereas Scholte banned most show-business people, believing them to be undesirable riffraff, Anderson & Sheppard welcomed them. Ivor Novello and Noël Coward, the era’s prevailing British stage geniuses and social gadabouts, were early converts to the English drape as practiced by A&S, as was their American counterpart, Cole Porter. Fred Astaire struck up an enduring relationship, paying his first call in 1923.

The measure books—the broad leather-bound volumes in which customers’ measurements are recorded, along with their city and country addresses—from the late 20s and 30s capture the fizzy energy of a burgeoning phenomenon, of positive word of mouth spreading through the era’s transatlantic smart set. George Gershwin is listed as the reference for his brother Ira (in 1928, when they and Astaire returned to London to mount Funny Face), and likewise Richard Rodgers is listed as the reference for his songwriting partner Lorenz Hart.

Contrary to popular belief, a reference was not (and still isn’t) necessary to gain admittance to Anderson & Sheppard’s sacred fitting rooms. The reference was basically a courtesy, a way for the company to receive assurance from established customers that new customers could pay their bills. It was also a social exercise, a way for an established A&S “old boy” to welcome a friend to the club. So it was that the politically and socially prominent M.P. Sir Philip Sassoon vouched for his friend Charlie Chaplin, and that Noël Coward vouched for Laurence Olivier. In 1937, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. vouched for someone who became one of A&S’s most memorable clients: his then semi-clandestine lover, Marlene Dietrich. At Anderson & Sheppard, ladies were welcome—provided that they wore men’s suits, as Dietrich did. Today, the New York-based satirist and waistcoat enthusiast Fran Lebowitz, who was vouched for by the editor of this magazine, upholds the Dietrich tradition.

In 1927 the company moved from the modest quarters it had outgrown at 13 Savile Row to a spacious new home at No. 30, a multi-story neo-Georgian building. In the dandified years between the wars, some of Anderson & Sheppard’s more devoted and wealthy clients didn’t think twice about placing extravagantly huge orders. Douglas Fairbanks Sr., according to Norman Halsey, one of the firm’s former managing directors, “had a fetish for overcoats: we made him so many that we had to keep a large book with cloth cuttings so he did not duplicate them.” Then there were the Chopitea brothers of Peru, playboy sugar barons who ordered suits 50 at a time; one brother was said to keep a house in Lima just for his wardrobe.

But such exercises in overindulgence shouldn’t obscure the truth: it was style, not volume, that defined Anderson & Sheppard in the 1930s. No decade since has set as high a bar for men’s fashion, nor has there been another time in which popular taste was so closely aligned with good taste. As the men’s-wear expert Alan Flusser notes in his book Dressing the Man, “that elusive but convenient character, ‘the average man,’ was exposed to more visual ‘aids’ in the form of smartly attired public figures than he could shake a stick at.” In other words, the style arbiters had actual style. And among the leading arbiters were Anderson & Sheppard men: stars like Fred Astaire and Gary Cooper.

John Hitchcock, left, the head cutter and managing director, and David Walters, the trimmer.

Left, each client’s measurements are fashioned into a template. Right, a selection of cloth woven exclusively for Anderson & Sheppard.

The reaction to the new book, Anderson & Sheppard: A Style is Born, has been fantastic. A lot of the customers that come in are aware of the book and have seen parts of it online, but they haven’t necessarily seen a hard copy. We’ve sold quite a few copies, and others have browsed through it and found inspiration in the photographs.

In fact several customers have commissioned things based on items they’ve seen in the book. Overcoats have been popular, as have the house tweeds that are displayed over a few double-page spreads.

Overall, everyone seems to be pleased it has come out well, that it has been so well written and produced a great piece to celebrate Anderson & Sheppard.

For anyone that isn’t aware of the book, it was curated by Vanity Fair editors Graydon Carter and Cullen Murphy and features photography by Jonathan Becker and Christopher Simon Sykes, as well as eight original watercolor paintings by illustrator Paul Cox. It also includes a history of Anderson & Sheppard by David Kamp, which runs through its founding, premises on Savile Row and the move to Old Burlington Street. It was released on October 27, costs £50 and is available in the shop now.

Posted by James on November 28, 2011  in Anderson & Sheppard "blog".

Banker. At Longchamp racecourse outside Paris, 1980.

Gallery owner. County Dublin, Ireland, 2008.

Designer. At Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, 2008.

October 28, 2011
Cut From the Same Cloth
By ERIC WILSON in The New York Times.

When he was younger, and poorer, Jonathan Becker, the photographer whose wonderful portraits have appeared in Vanity Fair for three decades, had his suits custom made by an English tailor in Argentina who charged him about $60. While working on a book in London about 12 years ago, he decided to have them made at Anderson & Sheppard, the Savile Row tailor, on the recommendation of Graydon Carter and Fran Lebowitz.

As he tells the story:

“I had a couple of things made there, but then I started ordering suits the way I did in Argentina. They sent me the bill, and I couldn’t believe it. I put it in a drawer and, luckily, they didn’t bother you too much about bills, or at least they didn’t used to. Then the manager of the store called me a while later and said, ‘Mr. Becker, we have a problem.’ ”

“I said, ‘I know.’

“ ‘How could you know?’ he said. ‘We are having to move the shop, and we are looking for someone to document the old shop so we can recreate it.’

“I agreed to do it, and he asked, ‘How much do you think it would cost, Mr. Becker?’ And I looked at the bill, and told him that price, and he said, ‘Why, Mr. Becker, you’re as expensive as we are.’ ”

Mr. Becker’s photographs, along with those of Christopher Simon Sykes, form the backbone of “Anderson & Sheppard: A Style is Born,” a new book published by Quercus that traces the history and clientele of a century-old tailor that has catered to Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Bill Blass and the Prince of Wales. Its move, in 2005, to a smaller location on Old Burlington Street, was once seen as symbolic of the decline of Savile Row, and yet the store has had something of a renaissance. Kate Moss spotted a jacket in the window of Anderson & Sheppard and asked for one just like it (though it was actually cut for a six-year-old boy).

At a party at the Monkey Bar on Tuesday night, John Hitchcock, the managing director of Anderson & Sheppard, could barely finish a sentence before he was interrupted by another customer, whether Ray Kelly or Jean Pigozzi.

“Really, you only need one fashion designer, but you need a lot of tailors,” Mr. Hitchcock said. Younger people have become more interested in apprenticing, he said, after learning that Alexander McQueen had started his career at the shop, which called to mind that story about a young McQueen writing a naughty message in the lining of a jacket destined for Prince Charles.

“It was quite a good way of getting himself publicity,” Mr. Hitchcock said. “But it wasn’t true.”

Mr. Carter, who edited the book with Cullen Murphy, noted that the tradition of bespoke tailoring has been discovered by a new generation that is far more fashion obsessed than when he was in his 30s and bought a tweed jacket and a nailhead double-breasted suit at Anderson & Sheppard. “As you get older, good tailoring can correct a lot of ills,” he said. “It can take 10 pounds off.”

Is that so?

“Good tailoring, and Spanx,” he said.