NEW OWNER FOR HUNTSMAN
January 14 2012
News that top name Huntsman has been acquired by Roubi L'Roubi stole the thunder at a splendid Savile Row presentation – which in itself stole the limelight from surrounding events - during the London menswear shows (Jan 7 -9).
Roubi L’Roubi has been well known to Savile Row Style since we first featured him in 2009 as a highly talented designer and craftsman. Now, with his partner, Pierre Langrange (seen far right with Roubi), he is the owner of Huntsman.
“I’m so excited,” Roubi told us, just prior to the announcement being made. “It has taken some months of negotiations. Now it is a dream come true.”
It is understood that general manager Peter Smith and head cutter Patrick Murphy are to remain. The Huntsman name will henceforth embrace Roubi’s women’s couture business, based in Bond Street. Roubi will work closely with the Huntsman team to develop, present and market the brand.
“We will be presenting a collection of styles, so that customers can see what they might have.
"I strongly believe this helps bespoke customers have an idea of what they want and what they don’t want. It is what we have done with our women’s couture – present a collection that provides inspiration.”
The news broke just as Savile Row’s finest converged on Spencer House in St James’s, one time home of the Spencer family, for a presentation of their creations, under the title ‘The English Gentleman’. Tableaux of bespoke outfits were shown on models against a backdrop of magnificent paintings and furnishings (see following page).
With the tout monde of London’s menswear society in attendance and international press and celebrities, it was a grand celebration of fine tailoring, supported by the Woolmark Company. And at the attendant reception, the buzz was all about the acquisition of Huntsman.
Above, the classic Huntsman style, lean, button-one, soft waist suppression, quite low front opening.
Right, one of Roubi's evening designs.
Below left, Patrick Murphy, head cutter at Huntsman, with Peter Smith, general manager.
bottom, a shooting jacket by Roubi for Gunsonpegs.
Roubi can be trusted to maintain Huntsman’s classic heritage while injecting some of his flair and marketing skills.
He came to London from the Sudan in the ‘80s and graduated from the Imperial College with a degree in mechanical engineering. That gave him a sound knowledge of structure, which came in handy when he leaned towards the style industry for a career.
He started off with a stint at Joseph, where he eventually became manager of that group of stores. This was followed by a partnership with womenswear designer Tomasz Starzewski. In 2004, he launched his own label.
Since then, he has progressed steadily, making a collection for country house Holland & Holland, a shooting collection for Gunsonpegs, providing womenswear designs for displays at Henry Poole and jewellers Bentley & Skinner, and covering a wide variety of exclusive commissions, especially in the music field.
It was a chance meeting with one of the consortium that has owned Huntsman that lead to the company’s purchase. Following discussions about a possible design commission, he turned to his partner, hedge fund manager Pierre Lagrange, and said “Why don’t we buy it?” And so they did.
He will continue to be involved with design, fabrics, and cutting, particularly for his women’s wear. “No, I couldn’t give up the creative side,” he emphasises.
This might suggest a man consumed with a passion for clothing. But he manages to fit in being an accomplished dressage rider, shoot enthusiast and music lover, with a flair for painting also indulged whenever possible.
“I like to keep busy,” he admits.