Savile Row

Savile Row
Savile Row
Savile Row 1.jpg
Savile Row
Location Westminster, London, UK
Direction North-South
Start Conduit Street
End Burlington Gardens
Landmarks Gieves & Hawkes, Hardy Amies
Known for Bespoke Tailoring
Passes through Central London

Savile Row (pronounced /ˌsævɪl ˈr/) is a shopping street in Mayfair, central London, famous for its traditional men's bespoke tailoring. The term "bespoke" is understood to have originated in Savile Row when cloth for a suit was said to "be spoken for" by individual customers.[1] The short street is termed the "golden mile of tailoring",[2] where customers have included Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson and Napoleon III.[3]

Savile Row runs parallel to Regent Street between Conduit Street at the northern end and Vigo Street at the southern. Linking roads include Burlington Place, Clifford Street and Burlington Gardens.



Savile Row was built between 1731 and 1735 as part of the development of the Burlington Estate, and is named after Lady Dorothy Savile, wife of the 3rd Earl of Burlington. It originally ran from Burlington Gardens (then Vigo Lane) to Boyle Street, with houses only on the east side, but in 1937–8 it extended to Conduit Street, and in the 19th century houses were built on the west side.[4] The original architectural plan is believed to have been drawn up by Colen Campbell, though Henry Flitcroft appears to have been the main architect of the street, under the supervision of Daniel Garrett, while Nos 1 and 22–23 Savile Row were designed by William Kent,[5] who lived next door in No 2.[6] Dr Livingstone was laid out in state in No 1, when it was the headquarters of the Royal Geographical Society, before being buried in Westminster Abbey.[7]

Initially, the street was occupied by military officers and their wives; William Pitt the Younger was an early resident. Irish-born playwright and MP, Richard Brinsley Sheridan lived at 14 Savile Row for a short time before his death in 1816.

During the 19th century, the gentry became concerned with neat dress, and Beau Brummell epitomised the well-dressed man. He patronised the tailors congregated on the Burlington Estate, notably around Cork Street, and by 1803 some were occupying premises in Savile Row. None of those original tailors survive today.

In 1846, Henry Poole is credited as being the 'Founder of Savile Row' after opening a second entrance to his late father's tailoring premises at № 32 Savile Row;[3] however, there were tailors on the Row long before Poole's.

In 1969, Nutters of Savile Row modernised the style and approach of the traditional tailors; a modernisation which continued in the 1990s with the arrival of designers like Richard James, Ozwald Boateng and Timothy Everest.

With increasing rents and criticisms from Giorgio Armani of falling behind the times, the number of tailors on Savile Row declined to just 19 in 2006.[1] Some tailors had expressed concern in 2005 that an increase in commercial development in the area could lead to the death of the business locally, as tailors — many of whom traditionally manufacture their suits on the premises, in basement studios — could be priced out of the local property market.[8][9] The Savile Row Bespoke Association was created to address these problems, and to encourage training, organise events and other initiatives. There is frustration among many remaining that even some established British brands use the 'Savile Row' designation on imported clothes.

But despite these problems the Row continues to be a mecca for men around the world who want the very best of tailoring and it also continues to attract new recruits. Some of these may be 'old' recruits, in that they have had long experience in Savile Row before starting their own businesses (see Tailors, below), while others are younger newcomers attracted by its elegance and craftsmanship.

Tailors Shops on Savile Row

Tailors in Savile Row include:

Chester Barrie

Chester Barrie located at №32 Savile Row, was established in 1935 by expatriate English tailor Simon Ackerman, who wanted a British brand and tailioring for his New York based clothing business. Locating its factory in Crewe from 1939, close to the Port of Liverpool and its cloth supplier in Huddersfield, it introduced semi-bespoke and ready-to-wear tailoring to the row. Sold to Austin Reed in 1980, it went into receivership in 2002, which split the factory from the retail operation. Now owned by Prominent Europe, famous clients have included Cary Grant and Sir Winston Churchill, while both Steve McQueen and Sean Connery wore Chester Barrie in their films.

Chittleborough & Morgan

Chittleborough & Morgan is a bespoke tailors firm located at №12 Savile Row. Joseph Morgan and Roy Chittlebrough started working together at Nutters Of Savile Row with Edward Sexton. In 1981 Roy and Joseph parted company with Sexton, and formed Chittlebrough and Morgan. They produce only bespoke clothing with no ready to wear or made to measure.

Davies and Son

Davies and Son is an independent tailor at №38 Savile Row. The firm was established by George Davies in 1803 on Hanover Street, moving onto Savile Row in 1986. Davies and Sons made the original uniforms for Sir Robert Peel's police force. Other customers include: Calvin Klein, Michael Jackson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Clark Gable, and U.S. President Harry S. Truman.

Dege & Skinner

Dege & Skinner (pronounced /ˈd/ or /ˈdʒ/), established in 1865 and known for its expertise in military as well as civilian clothing, it remains a family-run business. Located at 10 Savile Row, the firm was founded as J. Dege & Sons, and became a joint venture between the two families when William Skinner Jnr joined the firm in 1916. After the Skinner family took full ownership, the business was renamed Dege & Skinner, reopened by customer Colin Montgomerie. The company is by royal appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, His Majesty the Sultan of Oman and His Majesty the King of Bahrain.

Gieves & Hawkes

Gieves & Hawkes on №1 Savile Row

Gieves & Hawkes (/ˈɡvz ən ˈhɔːks/) is a traditional British gentleman's bespoke tailor located at №1 Savile Row. The business dates from the late 19th century, and was formed by the merger of two separate businesses, Gieves (founded 1785) and Hawkes (founded 1771).[10]

Starting out with roots from two suppliers who focused on the British Army and the Royal Navy, it was the first Savile Row tailor to provide ready-to-wear clothes. There are various Gieves & Hawkes shops and concessions around the UK and in several other countries. It holds a number of Royal Warrants,[11] presently covering all three British Royal Warrants (HM Queen Elizabeth II, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and HRH The Prince of Wales).

In the March 2006 report, 'Bespoke Tailoring in London’s West End', by the City of Westminster (Department of Planning and City Development), it was recorded that between 6,000 to 7,000 suits were made in and around the Savile Row area annually, at the time of the report; with Gieves and Hawkes making about 700 of those suits. It was also recorded that 20% of Gieves and Hawkes business at number 1 Savile Row was from the bespoke operation.[12]

H. Huntsman & Sons

Henry Huntsman established this firm at №11, in 1849, and received a royal warrant in 1865 from the Prince of Wales.[13] Since the 1950s, they have been known for a silhouette based on a riding coat and featuring firm shoulders and a nipped, sculpted waist. Huntsman have a reputation for having the most expensive starting price for a two-piece suit on Savile Row; suits start at well over £3,000 (US$5,000) tax included[14] In Tom Wolfe's novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, the narrator refers to flamboyantly rich Sherman McCoy's jacket, he observes "Huntsman, Savile Row, London. Cost a god-damned fortune."[15]

Hardy Amies

Hardy Amies Ltd is a fashion house at №14 Savile Row, founded by English dressmaker Sir Edwin Hardy Amies (17 July 1909 - 5 March 2003) in 1946.[16] Having been managing designer for Lachasse in 1934, and having designed clothes for the British Board of Trade under the government Utility Scheme, Amies bought the bombed out shell of №14 in 1946.

Amies was one of the first European designers to venture into the ready-to-wear market when he teamed up with Hepworths in 1959 to design a range of menswear. In 1961, Amies staged the first men's ready-to-wear catwalk shows, at the Ritz Hotel in London.[17] The Hardy Amies name is still licensed globally, particularly in Japan. Amies also undertook design for in-house work wear, which developed from designing special clothes for groups such as the Oxford University Boat Club and London Stock Exchange. Amies also designed costumes for films, including 2001: A Space Odyssey.[18]

Amies is best known to the British public for his work for HM Queen Elizabeth II. The association began in 1950, when Amies made several outfits for the then Princess Elizabeth's royal tour to Canada. Although the couture side of the Hardy Amies business was traditionally less financially successful, the award of a Royal Warrant as official dressmaker in 1955 gave his house a degree of respectability and resultant publicity. One of his best known creations is the gown he designed in 1977 for Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee portrait which, he said, was "immortalised on a thousand biscuit tins."[16] Knighted in 1989, Amies held the warrant until 1990, when he gave it up so that younger designers could create for the Queen.[19]

In May 1973, Amies sold the business to Debenhams, who had themselves purchased Hepworths which distributed the Hardy Amies line. Amies purchased the business back in 1981. In May 2001, Amies sold his business to the Luxury Brands Group. He retired at the end of the year, when Moroccan-born designer Jacques Azagury became head of couture. In November 2008, after going bankrupt, the Hardy Amies brand was acquired by Fung Capital, the private investment arm of Victor and William Fung, who together control the Li & Fung group.[20] The current collection is overseen by creative director Claire Malcolm.

Henry Poole & Co

Henry Poole & Co is a gentleman's bespoke tailor located at №15 Savile Row.[2] The acknowledged 'Founders of Savile Row' and creators of the dinner suit, the company has remained a family-run business since their establishment in 1806. They opened first in Brunswick Square, in 1806, originally specialising in military tailoring, with particular merit at the time of the Battle of Waterloo. Their business moved to Savile Row in 1846, following the death of founder James Poole.

In 1982, MD Angus Cundey brought the firm back to Savile Row (No. 15), after being in exile on Cork Street since 1961; Poole were forced to move to Cork Street, because the lease at number 32 expired and the unlisted building was demolished.


Located at №8 Savile Row. Founded in 1882 as T & F French in Piccadilly, in 1923 it merged with existing Savile Row tailor A.H. Kilgour to form Kilgour & French. In 1925, Fred and Louis Stanbury joined the firm, and in 1937 the business changed its name to Kilgour, French and Stanbury. Reverting to the name Kilgour in 2003, it was bought by JMH Lifestyle in 2008.

Norton & Sons

Norton & Sons is a gentleman's bespoke tailor located at №16 Savile Row. Established in the city of London in 1821 the firm moved to Savile Row in the middle of the 19th century. In the 1960s Norton's incorporated the other Savile Row firm of J. Hoare & E. Tautz. The firm were tailors to Sir Hardy Amies.[21]

Nutters of Savile Row

Established at № 35a Savile Row,[22] Nutters of Savile Row, is a Savile Row tailors which was opened on Valentine's Day 1969 by Tommy Nutter and Edward Sexton who had worked together with at Donaldson, Williamson & Ward.[23] Financially backed by Cilla Black and the MD of the Beatles Apple Corps Peter Brown.[24] Nutters was the first shop on Savile Row to pioneer 'open windows' and had bold displays created by the then unknown Simon Doonan;[25] as such, the shop modernised the perception of Savile Row. Nutters of Savile Row dressed the entire social spectrum from the Duke of Bedford and Lord Montagu, to San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, to Mick and Bianca Jagger, and The Beatles. Nutter's designs included Bianca Jagger's wedding suit, the costumes for the 1989 Batman film including those worn by Jack Nicholson, and three of the suits worn by The Beatles on the front cover of Abbey Road.[26][27][28] Nutter left the business in 1976 and went to work at Kilgour, leaving Edward Sexton to continue running the business.[29] Nutter died from complications arising from AIDS on 17 August 1992,[30] while Sexton works in Knightsbridge under his own name.

Ozwald Boateng

Located at №30[31] Savile Row, bespoke tailor Ozwald Boateng OBE was an initial pioneer of the new bespoke movement, who sees himself as both tailor and a designer, so coining the term 'bespoke couturier'.[32] There is also a ready-to-wear outlet on Vigo Street. Born in Ghana in the late 1960s and brought up in north London,[33] Boateng started tailoring at age 16, selling his mother's designs on Portobello Road; by twenty three he had set himself up full-time in business. He began making bespoke suits in 1990, and is credited with introducing Savile Row tailoring to a new generation. The first tailor to stage a catwalk show in Paris, Boateng's many clients include Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Dhani Jones, Russell Crowe, Keanu Reeves, and Mick Jagger.[34] He was appointed creative director of Givenchy menswear in 2003.[35]

Richard James

Established at №29 Savile Row in 1992 as a joint-venture by tailors Richard James and Sean Dixon, the company is a founder member of the Savile Row Bespoke Association.

Stowers Bespoke

Located at № 13 Savile Row, Stowers Bespoke is the latest addition to Savile Row tailoring. Established in 2006 by Ray Stowers, former head of bespoke at Gieves & Hawkes for 25 years, Stowers Bespoke was created to reverse the trend in the modern market to mass produce garments in the far east, with all ready to wear suits, accessories and made to measure suits in England. Originally working from 13 Old Burlington Street, in the spring of 2007 Stowers Bespoke was the lead brand when Liberty launched their formal wear room making Liberty & Co. the only department store to offer in-house bespoke tailoring. In September 2008 Stowers Bespoke purchased an established tailors James Levett, and is in the process of making their shop at 13 Savile Row the Stowers Bespoke flagship store.

Steed Bespoke Tailors

Established in January 1995 and located at № 12 Savile Row (where they rent premises) by Edwin DeBoise, whose father and brother are both tailors, and Thomas Mahon (now of English Cut). DeBoise trained at the London College of Fashion, and then worked under the legendary cutter Edward Sexton followed by seven years at Anderson & Sheppard, before founding Steed. January 2002 was Steed's eighth year in business, which saw an amicable split with Mahon. In September 2008, Edwin's eldest son Matthew DeBoise joined the company and is currently learning the trade under his father, along with assisting the day to day running of the company.

Other tailors on Savile Row

  • Alexandre - owned by British Menswear Brands. (№39)
  • Ede and Ravenscroft
  • Gary Anderson (№34/35)
  • Maurice Sedwell (№19)
  • Richard Anderson (№13)
  • Spencer Hart (№36)
  • Welsh and Jefferies (№20)

Tailors who see customers in other shops on Savile Row

Many tailors shops and cloth merchants allow other tailors to see clients in their premises, so that tailors with small businesses can see clients in the West End and so the suits can be described as "Savile Row suits". These include:

  • Adam Waite (№9)
  • Anthony Sinclair (№12)
  • Cad and the Dandy (№12)
  • Comelie London (№12)
  • Huality Bespoke Tailoring (№9/10)
  • Henry Herbert (№9)
  • Jasper Littman (№9)
  • Karl Matthews (№12)
  • King & Allen (№9/10)
  • Matthew Farnes (№12)
  • Nick Tentis (№38)
  • Steven Hitchcock (№13)
  • Thomas Mahon (№12)

Other businesses

  • Holland & Sherry est. 1836(№9/10)

Anderson & Sheppard

Anderson & Sheppard were founded in 1906 at 30 Savile Row.[36] They were defined by mentor and cutter Frederick Scholte, developing a house style which became known as the "London cut". A high small armhole with a generous upper sleeve permits the jacket to remain close to the neck while freeing the arm to move with comfort.[37] Customers have included Fred Astaire, Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Cecil Beaton, Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward, Ralph Fiennes, Manolo Blahnik and Prince Charles. In 2004, Tom Ford became a customer of the firm, commissioning suits that would later appear in a 10 page ‘W’ magazine photo shoot. A founding member of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, Anderson & Sheppard moved off Savile Row to 32 Old Burlington Street in March 2005.

Meyer & Mortimer

Established by Austrian tailor Jonathan Meyer at 36 Conduit Street in the late 18th century. In parallel, In Edinburgh the Mortimer family established a military outfitters. Meyer's company supplied both the Prince Regent and his fashion mentor, Beau Brummell, as early as 1800. When the Prince became King George IV he awarded the company a royal warrant which, through Queen Victoria and monarchs since, it still holds today from Queen Elizabeth II. After Meyer pioneered modern trouser design in the 19th century, he formed a new company with Mortimer in Edinburgh, called the Royal Clan Tartan Warehouse. A founding member of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, after being bombed out of its premises during World War 2, the company relocated to its current location at 6 Sackville Street.[38]

Savile Row Bespoke Association

Founded in 2004, the aim of the Savile Row Bespoke Association is to protect and to develop the art of bespoke tailoring as practised in the Row and the surrounding streets.[39] This cluster of excellence has made a contribution to London and the British image which has been formally recognised by the City of Westminster in a recent study.[citation needed]

Mark Henderson, Deputy Chairman of Gieves & Hawkes is the chairman of SRB, which is based at No. 1 Savile Row, the premises of Gieves & Hawkes.

The member tailors are: Anderson & Sheppard, Dege & Skinner, Gieves & Hawkes, Hardy Amies, Henry Poole & Co, H.Huntsman & Sons, Meyer and Mortimer, Chittleborough & Morgan, Norton & Sons and Richard James.[40] Each member tailor is required to put at least 50 hours of hand labour into each two-piece suit.[41]

The Beatles

3 Savile Row, The Beatles' Apple offices

The offices of The Beatles' Apple Corps were at 3 Savile Row; The Beatles, Badfinger, Mary Hopkin and others recorded in the Apple Studios in the basement. The Beatles' final live performance was on the roof, on 30 January 1969. The "Rooftop Concert" concludes the documentary film Let It Be.

Popular culture

  • №7 Savile Row was the London address of Phileas Fogg, protagonist of Jules Verne's classic adventure novel Around the World in 80 Days.
  • In Japanese, one word for suit is "sebiro" (背広), purportedly a corruption of "Savile Row."[42]
  • Saville Row appears in the Monopoly Here and Now edition, a mis-spelling of the correct name.
  • Savile Row is featured as venue in the music video game Rock Band.
  • Savile Row is mentioned in The Kinks' song, "End of the Season".
  • Savile Row suits are mentioned in The Monochrome Set's song "Jet Set Junta".
  • Savile Row is mentioned in the song "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" in the hit musical Annie.
  • In the cult film Withnail and I, Withnail claims his suit was cut by "Hawkes of Savile Row".
  • In the song "American Boy" by Estelle with Kanye West, the line "Dressed smart like a London bloke / Before he speaks his suit bespoke" refers to bespoke tailoring common to Savile Row.
  • The Streets mention Savile Row in the song "The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living". "Go into Maurice Sedwell as Savile Row / I want a pin-stripe suit that no man owns".
  • In the cult film Sextette, the fashion designer portrayed by Keith Moon mentions his client's husband's suit being from the north side of Savile Row.
  • Savile Row is mentioned in the James Bond film Dr. No. The suits that Sean Connery actually wears in the film were made by Anthony Sinclair, in nearby Conduit Street.[43]
  • In the film The Tailor of Panama, Savile Row is the former location of the "Pendel & Braithwaite" tailor shop.
  • In the 24th episode of the sixth season of Married with Children (The England Show I) Al and Bud Bundy visit Poole & Co. tailors on Savile Row.
  • In episode #7 of the second season of Gossip Girl a bartender refers to one of Chuck Bass suits as a Savile Row.

See also


  1. ^ a b Norton, Kate (31 October 2006). "Savile Row Never Goes Out of Style". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Dunn, Bill (14 April 2003). "The Battle for Savile Row". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Deitz, Paula (25 August 1996). "Savile Row's Ambassador to the Court of Kings". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  4. ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher (1983). The London Encyclopaedia. Macmillan. p. 772. ISBN 978-0333576885. 
  5. ^ Sheppard, F.H.W. (1963). "Cork Street and Savile Row Area: Introduction". Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32. pp. 442–455. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  6. ^ Sheppard, F.H.W. (1963). "Cork Street and Savile Row Area: Burlington Estate Lease Tables". Survey of London: volumes 31 and 32. pp. 546–565. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "Report to the Council on the Arrangements for the Funeral of Dr. Livingstone". Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Vol. 18, No. 4 (1873–1874). Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  8. ^ Jackson, Marie (25 April 2005). "London's much-loved icons at risk". BBC News. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  9. ^ english cut: bespoke savile row tailors: anderson's is moving
  10. ^ Advertorial Features
  11. ^ Company web site
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Charlotte Davis, 101 Things to Buy Before You Die
  14. ^ Forbes Magazine article, The Most Expensive Suits
  15. ^ Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities, page 93
  16. ^ a b "Hardy Amies". Fashion Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  17. ^ "Hardy Amies". Victoria & Albert Museum. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  18. ^ Hardy Amies at the Internet Movie Database
  19. ^ Day, Peter (2003-04-29). "How secret agent Hardy Amies stayed in Vogue during the war". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  20. ^ "Hardy Amies UK stores to close following sale to Fung Capital". Retail Week. 2008-11-11. Retrieved 2009-10-08. 
  21. ^ The London Cut, Sherwood J., Marsilio Editori 2007
  22. ^ "An Historical Occasion, Nutter's Open Their Doors - and Cilla meets the Row". Tailor and Cutter. 21 February 1969. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  23. ^ "An Historic Occasion, Nutter's Open Their Doors and Cilla meets the rown". Tailor and Cutter. 1969-02-26. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  24. ^ Peter Brown Website
  25. ^ Exquisite pane - Living
  26. ^ *Victoria & Albert Museum: Blue check wool suit, Designed by Tommy Nutter, London, 1966
  27. ^ Obituary in New York Times
  28. ^ Tommy Nutter- the provocative tailor that designed for Yoko Ono, the Jaggers, Elton John......
  29. ^ Savile Row; The Master Tailors of British Bespoke, Sherwood, J |isbn=978-0-500-51524-2
  30. ^ "Obituary: Tommy Nutter". The Independent date=1992-08-18. 
  31. ^ "Ozwald Boateng". Website. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  32. ^ 100 Great Black Britons - Ozwald Boateng
  33. ^ "The Black Presence in Britain - Black British History - Ozwald Boateng". Retrieved 2008-06-02. [dead link]
  34. ^ Ozwald Boateng - Victoria and Albert Museum
  35. ^ Official website
  36. ^
  37. ^ Mens Fashions of the 1930s / Thirties Fashion
  38. ^ "Meyer & Mortimer". Meyer & Mortimer. Retrieved 2011-03-13. 
  39. ^ "SUITS YOU STR?". Independent, The (London) (Find Articles at [dead link]
  40. ^ Association web site
  41. ^ Standards section of ibid.
  42. ^
  43. ^ The Spy who came out of the closet

External links

Coordinates: 51°30′41″N 0°08′27″W / 51.511301°N 0.140853°W / 51.511301; -0.140853

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