Dou­ble vi­sion

With a cu­rated Fitzrovia space and off-beat suit­ing, an Aussie cou­ple looks be­yond Sav­ile Row

Wallpaper - - September - 51-52 Rath­bone Place, Lon­don W1, pjt.com

Cut-above in­te­ri­ors and ver­sa­tile tai­lor­ing in Lon­don’s Fitzrovia

Sav­ile Row may be the heart of men’s tai­lor­ing in Lon­don, but Aus­tralian tailor Patrick John­son, who re­cently added a show­room in the English cap­i­tal to his bur­geon­ing busi­ness (in­clud­ing four stores Down Un­der and one in New York), made a con­scious de­ci­sion to open in Fitzrovia’s Rath­bone Place in­stead. ‘I have a lot of re­spect for English tai­lor­ing, but I’m very dif­fer­ent,’ he ex­plains. ‘I like be­ing slightly off the beaten track.’ Though not quite a fash­ion des­ti­na­tion yet, the area brims with trendy eater­ies and gal­leries; Face­book will soon move its Euro­pean HQ into a Make Ar­chi­tects-de­signed build­ing down the road. ‘I think the area’s on a cusp,’ says John­son. The choice of lo­ca­tion be­fits the P John­son brand, which is known for its re­laxed ap­proach – think light­weight fab­rics, a fresh pal­ette of beiges, creams and greys, and un­struc­tured fits. John­son’s suits are rel­e­vant to all con­texts, seem­ingly de­signed to be ca­su­ally thrown on in the morn­ing, paired with light knitwear (to­day he is wear­ing a cream crew­neck merino jumper of his own de­sign) or per­haps a T-shirt, and lend them­selves to mix­ing and match­ing. They are al­most im­pos­si­bly soft – ‘You should feel like you’re not wear­ing any­thing,’ he en­thuses.è

There’s also an am­ple amount of de­tail to en­thral the suit­ing geeks. Take, for in­stance, the op­tion of us­ing high-power mag­nets in place of but­tons for fas­ten­ing, or the ad­di­tion of a light layer of can­vas in­side a flan­nel jacket to en­hance com­fort. ‘But we never harp on about that, be­cause it takes the fun out,’ he says.

Most of what P John­son does is cus­tom tai­lor­ing, mean­ing that in­di­vid­ual pat­terns are cut for each client. There are tailors at each show­room (in Lon­don, they work down­stairs in an ate­lier that is al­most twice the size of the re­tail space), though most of the work is done in Sar­to­ria Car­rara, a work­shop in Tus­cany that John­son ac­quired around two years ago. The brand also of­fers knitwear, shirts and ties off the rack.

Given the fo­cus on in­for­mal­ity, one imag­ines that P John­son’s clien­tele would be largely young and bo­hemian. Not nec­es­sar­ily, says John­son. He de­scribes his favourite client as ‘an older English guy who has had his suits made on Sav­ile Row his whole life’, and is now look­ing for some­thing more ver­sa­tile as his work tones down. ‘I find those guys fas­ci­nat­ing be­cause they’ve had their ex­per­i­ments, found how they want to dress, and they’re very com­fort­able with them­selves.’

The new show­room, like all P John­son bou­tiques, is by John­son’s wife of six years, in­te­rior de­signer Tam­sin. From a vis­ual stand­point, it is very much in line with the cloth­ing: sim­ple, com­fort­able, and thought­fully ap­pointed. ‘We met in a pub in Not­ting Hill when we were stu­dents,’ says John­son. ‘We’ve been to­gether for a long time, so we’ve evolved our aes­thetic to­gether. She’s been the big­gest in­flu­ence on me.’

The walls are mostly pop­u­lated with mod­ern Euro­pean art, with a fo­cus on Span­ish painter An­toni Tàpies, con­trast­ing with an old Flem­ish tapestry that the cou­ple pur­chased at an an­tique fair. The fur­ni­ture se­lec­tion is eclec­tic – a traver­tine ta­ble with a trape­zoid top, sourced from ebay, sits at the cen­tre of the space, sur­rounded by Le Cor­bus­ier chairs up­hol­stered in beige leather. Ad­ja­cent, an im­pres­sive wooden dresser by Piero Por­taluppi leans against the wall, its doors whim­si­cally propped open by a pair of porce­lain Chi­nese dogs to re­veal the mer­chan­dise in its slid­ing draw­ers (prob­a­bly three peo­ple a week come in and try to buy the piece, says John­son). There’s also a Cees Braak­man cab­i­net and a trol­ley that Tam­sin be­lieves was de­signed by Adolf Loos. In a far cor­ner is a screen that once stood in Tom Ford’s dress­ing room. The cou­ple’s most cher­ished pieces, how­ever, are a se­ries of Bran­cusi-in­spired man­nequins hand­made by Tam­sin. Though the prod­uct of evening wood­work­ing classes, they fit seam­lessly with the rest of the space.

It’s the kind of en­vi­ron­ment in which one would like to linger and un­wind. As the cou­ple say, ‘We want peo­ple to come into our space and just chill.’

Tailors work down­stairs in an ate­lier that is al­most twice the size of the shop

TAILOR PATRICK JOHN­SON AND HIS IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER WIFE, TAM­SIN, IN THEIR NEW BOU­TIQUE IN LON­DON’S FITZROVIA. TAM­SIN HAS SOURCED VIN­TAGE PIECES, SUCH AS A DUTCH CAB­I­NET, LE COR­BUS­IER CHAIRS AND A MID­CEN­TURY ITAL­IAN WOODEN DRESSER, TO FUR­NISH THE SPACE

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT, A GLASS SCREEN THAT ONCE BE­LONGED TO TOM FORD AND A MARZIO CHECCHI CHAIR STAND IN FRONT OF AN AN­TIQUE FLEM­ISH TAPESTRY; A TROL­LEY DIS­PLAY­ING P JOHN­SON TIES AND SOLID TRAVER­TINE TEA CUPS; A BRAN­CUSI-IN­SPIRED MAN­NEQUIN, HAND­MADE BY TAM­SIN AND SHOW­CAS­ING P JOHN­SON’S SIG­NA­TURE RE­LAXED TAI­LOR­ING

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