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Happily separate from the hot house centre of Savile Row, Edward Sexton is one of the great tailoring icons, a master craftsman who combines practical  authority with an ability to charm his glamorous customers.

As one of the creative talents of the 1960s, where he made for all the legendary stars of the era, he has not only continued to flourish sextonhimself.jpg but widened his appeal, helping such celebrated names as Stella McCartney and, most recently, Chester Barrie. Yet he remains true to a bespoke tailoring core.

“I don’t want to be a big company,” he say. “I don’t want to do ready-to-wear collections again. I like concentrating upon bespoke and having a staff that I can work with. And I like my setting here in Beauchamp Place, away from Savile Row and all that old baggage.”

The old baggage he refers to is his early association with Tommy Nutter in the 60s, to the later split and separation from others involved in the Nutter razamataz, Joseph Morgan and Roy Chittleborough. He had his own place on the Row for some time but has been in Knightsbridge now for around 15 years, which suits his many female customers as well as the men.

He is perhaps one of the few tailors that still has a distinctive style, shapely, high waisted, high armhole, long, low lapels,  trousers lean – “I like to see daylight sextonduo.jpgbetween the legs,” he says. But it is his own eye for balance, for what the individual figure requires, that ensures the elegant, final result.

“Its what you do with the interior that really counts,” he says. “I’m not trapped in one style, the details can all be changed.  But the expression comes from the foundations, on how it is built, as with anything. It all comes from within. Just like us.”

Sexton began his career at the age of 16 training under the great Fred Stanbury at the then Kilgour, French & Stanbury. He had a stint working for top American designer Bill Blass which gave him experience in the women’s wear field. And by the time he went into partnership with Tommy Nutter towards the end of the ‘60s, he was the accomplished, polished craftsman that Tommy needed to back up his own front-of-house charm and easy contacts.

Above, Sexton designs that are a modern take on the current 'forties feeling. Below, from Mick Jagger in the Swinging Sixties to Peter Docherty of the present, Sexton has attracted the style leaders.

Over the years, Sexton has retained many of those contacts, establishing friendships with legendary customers whose off-spring have then become customers.

One such is Stella McCartney, whose mother Linda, as well as father Beatle Paul, had clothes made by Sexton. She not only became a customer but went to him for sextonjagger.jpgtraining, serving an apprenticeship that stood her in good stead when she went on to found her own design business. But when she was appointed designer at top Paris couture house, Chloe, following the famous Karl Lagerfeld, they had trouble interpreting the tailoring designs, because they were not a tailoring house.

“I went on to help her in Paris, travelling back and forth all the time. All the tailoring items were done here in Beauchamp Place. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun.”

He has had other high profile consultancies, his latest for the respected suit brand Chester Barrie. He has created the spring and autumn collections and though not bespoke, they reflect the quality level associated with this established label.

“It has bespoke characteristics,” says Sexton. “Look at the sleeve head on this jacket and the way the sleeve hangs. Perfect.”

In bespoke, some 20 per cent of his customers are women, including the glamour set who go to him for  the lean, curvaceous and flattering lines he creates. Not surprisingly, he loves his work and is as enthusiastic and as much a perfectionist as ever.

“I still find it all so exciting,” he says. “It keeps you sextondocherty.jpgfresh. I can tell you I’m  68 now and as excited about coming into work as I was at 16. And I’m still learning.  If you keep an open mind and listen, you will learn.”

He too is finding increasing interest in morning dress for weddings. One customer, designer Bruce Oldfield, may have more cause than many to want to look at his best, being tipped as the possible designer for Kate Middleton’s dress.

Wedding fever brought the mighty NBC of America to Sexton’s door to make a film that will be screened nearer to the royal wedding date. It features British actor Ben Fogle wearing a Sexton-made morning suit. “It all helps keep the name in the limelight,” Sexton says with a smile, “though I don’t know that it sells any more suits.”

He is a ball of energy, driving into London every day at 6am to beat the rush hour, not keen on breaking for lunch, checking everything that goes through the workroom.

“Retire! No, never. Please God, I’ll die working.”




Spring 2011 edition

:: SAVILE ROW Style Magazine ::





contact Home - Contents in brief
contact Style 1 - Wedding fever boosts morning suit demand
contact Style 2 - Heady days for hatters as hats go on again
contact Style 3 - Authority on ceremonial design
contact Style 4 - Tailor who helped Kings Speech set trend
contact Style 5 - Italian flair mixed with London style
contact Style 6 - Limited edition suiting in honour of famous cutter
contact Style 7 - Old brand gets fresh styling from master tailor
contact SUBSCRIPTION - Savile Row Magazine/SR Collection
contact Drinks - Fairer sex boost white wine sales
contact Travel - Hailing a private jet gets easier
contact Compendium - Links to the really best brands and services
contact Contact - Details and registration
contact Tailors of Savile Row - listing of top tailors and interviews
contact Archive - Back Issues




CHESTER BARRIE is the highly regarded brand that is the latest to benefit from Edward Sexton’s skills.


Seen as the Rolls Royce of ready-to-wear - with whom it shared a factory at one stage - this British suit name, established in 1935, attracted an international coterie of stylish men, from Frank Sinatra to the inevitable Cary Grant.

Driving force in its success was Myron Ackerman, gravelly-voice American son of the English founder, who not only oversaw its quality but drove its retail and promotional policies.

It ceased to be a family concern in the late 1970s but remained highly successful and respected, chosen by Huntsman when it started a ready-to-wear selection in the 80s and winning a Queens Award for Export Achievement at the end of that decade.

It has now re-emerged in some style, under the able guidance of George Orris. With long experience in the menswear industry, he has now enlisted the skill of Edward Sexton to update the Chester Barrie look in a consultancy role.

The results may be seen in a collection that revives the early Chester Barrie magic, as in the suit above.

More on Chester Barrie in the Savile Row Style Magazine, out at the end of March. Click here to subscribe.