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January 14 2013

The Gentleman seems to be back in favour. The Savile Row event (preceding page) was titled "The English Gentleman" and at the young designer shows of the London Collections last week, the 'gentleman' desfrank.jpgcropped up in a number of customer profiles in a way that would have been unthinkable a short time ago.

The collection from TobeFrank took as its theme ‘The Development of a Gentleman’ and went one further than the Savile Row gentleman collections in being entirely British made and sourced. Every garment is made of British cloth, and the knitwear traces its origins back to a flock of Jacobs sheep in Yorkshire tended by a shepherdess called Sue.

Separate collars are resurrected in fashion form here, every shirt made with a  detachable collar that may be swapped with other shirts. Each garment carries a label with details of its heritage. There is great attention to detail and finish.

The House of Nines, into its first season, aims at “a forward thinking gentleman” customer for  its tailoring and shirts. The designer’s stint as a trainee on Savile Row has been brought to bear on the smooth, well cut suits and immaculate details of the clothes, though with a softer construction.


The chalk and cheese of Savile Row’s elegant style and that of the thrusting young desbaart.jpgfashion scene provided interesting contrasts during the Collections – but the gap has narrow.

While there were still plenty of weird and wonderful outfits that captured the headlines, unlikely ever to darken a High Street,  there were plenty of other designs that  showed an appreciation of quality, a refinement of make, and a preference for fine fabrics that bodes well for the British men’s clothing scene in general.

At the admittedly small, by international standards, exhibition, there were collections from designers just into their first or second season which showed maturity and sophistication. desgard.jpg

Forget the frilled shorts and bare-chested excesses of the catwalk beloved by the tabloids. There were smoothly tailored jackets, intricate knits and heavy coats that were masculine and practical as well as stylish and original.

Already recognised and appreciated for its quality and sharp tailoring, the Dutch/English duo of Baartmans & Siegal work with good fabrics and strong shapes in their latest collection. T. Lipop have some very smoothly tailored jackets, Garderobe wonderful chunky handmade knits as well as interesting coats and jackets, and Lou Dalton a very heavy grey flannel coat – one of a number of flannels showing here and at the  Savile Row event.

At top, a db suit from TobeFrank; above, a herringbone tweed suit from Baartmans & Siegal; right, mess jacket teamed with full topped trousers by Garderobe.




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IN a street that was once solidly a male enclave, shirtmaker Emma Willis has successfully established herself with her quality ready-to-wear and bespoke shirts.


One of the few now on Jermyn Street to offer a bespoke servicet, she provided shirts for the Savile Row event at Spencer House. See more of her designs in a forthcoming feature.