A cut above the rest

Some­times, off-the-peg sim­ply won’t do. Jemima Sis­sons re­veals some of the finest be­spoke tai­lor­ing houses for women in Lon­don

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Jemima Sis­sons finds some of the finest be­spoke tai­lor­ing houses in Lon­don for women

SOME go for a cash­mere jacket with a silk lin­ing fea­tur­ing their favourite pug, so that their faith­ful hound is for­ever close. Oth­ers will hap­pily dole out £5,000 each on match­ing tie-dye one­sies for the Burning Man fes­ti­val to en­sure the per­fect fit. Then, there are those who sim­ply want the per­fect shirt or pair of trousers. This is the il­lu­mi­nat­ing and cov­etable world of fe­male be­spoke.

My own epiphany came when I tried in vain to find a shirt that wouldn’t gape open at the bust. I turned to Turn­bull & Asser, which has been mak­ing ex­quis­ite be­spoke shirts since 1885. In the hushed sur­rounds of the atelier in Davies Street, I was mea­sured up and dis­cussed my pref­er­ences. I wanted to be able to buy beau­ti­ful cuff­links, so went for a dou­ble cuff. I wanted the col­lar to be fem­i­ninely rounded and to have the op­tion to tuck the shirt in or leave it out. Most im­por­tant for me was the plac­ing of the bust but­tons and a dis­creet in­side pop­per to en­sure ex­tra se­cu­rity.

After one fit­ting, at which it proved to be too short, the shirt was made and de­liv­ered within six weeks. It fit like a be­spoke item should. It was pricey—the com­pany doesn’t do sin­gle or­ders the first time and a set of three costs £1,000—but the pat­tern is easy to re­peat in the fu­ture.

Around the cor­ner in Sav­ile Row, Phoebe Gorm­ley of Gorm­ley & Gam­ble ex­plains the para­dox with women’s clothes: ‘Women wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. Log­i­cally, they should, there­fore, spend 80% on that 20%.’

She’s the only tai­lor on Sav­ile Row cater­ing solely for women and does every­thing from cream cash­mere coats with fur col­lars to white-silk tuxe­dos.per­haps her great­est skill lies in mak­ing the per­fect pair of trousers—of­ten for a dif­fi­cult size or shape.

After a bu­colic up­bring­ing in Suf­folk— ‘there were three churches and a sewing shop, so if you weren’t into re­li­gion, there wasn’t much else to do as a child’—phoebe ended up on Sav­ile Row two years ago. Her first cus­tomer was the CEO of Vir­gin Money, who, at 6ft 1in, found buy­ing clothes dif­fi­cult.

Of course, wom­enswear isn’t with­out its chal­lenges. ‘It’s a dif­fer­ent skill set to men’s tai­lor­ing and there are more mea­sure­ments with a woman—they’re very dif­fer­ent to cut. A woman’s weight also tends to change more,’ con­tin­ues Phoebe.

Do­minic Se­bag-mon­te­fiore, cre­ative di­rec­tor at Ed­ward Sex­ton in Knights­bridge, is an ad­vo­cate of the power of tai­lor­ing to trans­form awk­ward body shapes: ‘If you haven’t got the small­est waist, we can make the shoul­ders wider and the bust fuller.’

For a beau­ti­ful hunt­ing jacket, Richard An­der­son is the go-to place; for shirts, Emma Wil­lis makes ex­quis­ite be­spoke pieces from her Glouces­ter­shire town house—and these can still be thrown in the wash. Those look­ing for shoes should turn to Caro­line Groves, whose cre­ations have the­atri­cal flair, but also work for day-to-day.

Still rul­ing the roost for im­pec­ca­ble tweeds and smok­ing jack­ets—as well as the afore­men­tioned tie-dye one­sies—is Hunts­man. In ad­di­tion, the com­pany of­fers a ‘de­sign your own tweed’ ser­vice, with a trip to the Is­lay mill and wood­cock shoot­ing—the ul­ti­mate gift at £10,000, in­clud­ing a jacket.

‘There are more mea­sure­ments with a woman–they’re very dif­fer­ent to cut’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.