Tales of the Samurai Tailor from New York, America. Customer service – Samurai Style.
New York, British bespoke tailors are coming your way once again. The Henry Herbert tailoring team is visiting you! On Thursday 8th May, Friday 9th May & Saturday 10th May 2014, we will be based at our “workshop/fitting rooms” away from home, at the The Kitano, 66 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016. For these dates, we are swapping our Vespas for the iconic New York cabs (or our trusty feet), and the Tube for the Metro, and the “bespoke” suit for the “custom” suit!
For new suits and old friends, or old suits and new friends / fittings! If you would like to meet our tailors to hear more about how we work and what we do (naturally there is no charge for this!) or to have a coffee, to say hello. To brainstorm bespoke menswear ideas, to feel some fine fabrics, to have a discussion about British tailoring and Savile Row. No query is too big or too small. Book an appointment with us in New York.
How does it work? We bring with us everything we need to draw up a blueprint for your bespoke suit.
We meet, we greet. We bring with us a trunk full of suiting fabrics – British wools of the finest kind, and patterns of all sorts (checks, dogtooth, stripes, windowpane, tweed to name a few). Our experienced tailoring team is here to advise you on making a suitable (pun not intended!) choice for your bespoke suits (or overcoats, waistcoats, sports jackets, dinner suits) and shirts. We return to London with your bespoke order details and most importantly, your measurements. We order your selected fabric and cut the cloth into your specific pattern. We make the foundations of the suit, ready for a baste fitting. Then normally 8 weeks later (depending on availability) we return to NYC for your first fitting, a key part of the process. We come back to our London base, to make any major fit adjustments, rework the suit as needed, and a further 8 weeks later return to NYC for your final fitting. All made with British cloth, and handcrafted in England.
At Henry Herbert HQ, we were debating what criteria a bar had to meet to make it on to our list of London cocktail bars – especially when the options are so vast and numerous in the city. We came to the conclusion that there must have been something unique, just a little bit different and memorable about each of these venues. Some we spotted ourselves, but many have actually come as recommendations from friends and customers of Henry Herbert. So the most important criteria for this list has simply been: a Henry Herbert friend, colleague or customer must have enjoyed a cocktail or two at each of these locations and told us about it! We would love to hear your recommendations too, just drop us a line here.
1) Evans and Peel Detective Agency, Earl’s Court
It’s not a *whispers* table reservation, its an appointment. Make an appointment to see the Detective at the Evans & Peel Detective Agency, and you may just get a look into the secret room behind the bookcase. This is a proper Prohibition-era speakeasy with all the trappings.
2) Foggs, Mayfair
Enter another world, the residence of one Phileas Fogg, Esq, of Around the World in 80 Days fame. You never know what characters you might meet at the London residence of the esteemed M. Phileas J Fogg. Don’t forget to look up and around to see souvenirs from his travels. As a side note, we think this venue has one of the best dressed staff in London, and we are fans of his House rules (stated on the front of the menu).
3) Montgomery Place, Notting Hill
Elegant intimate cocktail bar with fun (and generously sized) American-style small food (not quite a meal, but more than just a bar snack) to accompany great cocktails. Dark wood furnishings offset the metal bar, and the walls are adorned with black and white photographic prints. Go with one friend or many.
4) Beach Blanket Babylon, Westbourne Grove
We haven’t been here for a while, but we’re told its going as strong as ever – an institution in the Notting Hill/Westbourne Grove location. Go for a fairy grotto-like experience, and for the eccentric and unique interiors as well as the cocktails.
5) The Savoy Beaufort Bar, The Strand
Champagne cocktails are the name of the game. Enjoy them in 1920s Art Deco black and gold opulence, whilst listening to the live singer accompanied by a pianist. In a word: luxurious.
And although we said “Top 5”, we couldn’t help but sneak in a couple more close to Savile Row, where our tailors can be found.
6) Cecconi’s, just off Savile Row
They have prosecco on tap, who can argue with that? We particularly like the chic Cecconi interiors – black and white flooring matched with dark green leather upholstery. Cecconi’s has a 3 sided bar where you can sit to enjoy and observe the creation of your cocktail, as well as a three course meal of fine and fresh Italian fare.
7) Sketch, Conduit Street
There is a strong art focus here – most of the interiors feature contemporary/modern art in any kind of media (light, sculptural, you name it). The question is whether a guest will spot it all or not. Once we saw Heston Blumenthal enjoying a cocktail here. There are at least 3 bars housed in this venue. Interiors seem to be refreshed every couple of years so the main dining area never stays quite the same. And they also do a mean Sunday Roast. Go, not just for the tender beef cooked to pink perfection in the centre, but for the dessert cart after.
Coming soon: the HH style blog’s Top 5 Hotel Bars in London
The necktie is an avenue for expression in a gentleman’s formal attire. The tie is widely accepted and often required in many social situations, and will likely (consciously or unconsciously) reflect the personality of it’s wearer. We think a bespoke tie perfectly complements a bespoke suit – both are as unique as their owner.
Henry Herbert interviewed Renato Paudice, who tells us how he came to create his eponymous bespoke tie making company.
Paudice, based in Napoli, is specifically focused on the creation of bespoke ties for customers around the world. Customers look all over the world for bespoke ties, says Paudice, and in Italy today bespoke is important because customers no longer want ready made collections.
The relationship between a bespoke tie and customer is key – in particular, a bespoke tie is cut differently depending on how the customer prefers to knot his tie. A Windsor or Double Windsor preference, makes a difference to the length of the tie. With a bespoke tie, a gentleman will never struggle to ensure his tie sits just right.
The process of making a bespoke necktie is not so different from that of a bespoke suit: customers send through orders specifying length and size, and select fabrics. Ties are hand-stitched and handmade, and despatched off to their new owners.
The best fabrics for the making of bespoke ties, notes Paudice, are wool, silk, cashmere/silk mix and Holland & Sherry have an interesting jacquard mix. Paudice is also keen to promote fabrics made in Italy in keeping with his Italian traditions and heritage.
Paudice’s house style is flamboyant – he likens it to being closer to American style ties: more colour and bold prints. Paudice ties make a statement.
These are some of the Henry Herbert team’s “Top 5 Valentine’s Day gifts for Him” – or indeed, Any Day gifts for the modern gentleman!
1) These innovative magnetic collar stiffeners by Stiffies.
The company says: “The idea started when its founders dress code changed at work. Ties were no longer needed, however they still had to look smart. After a couple of months they became increasingly frustrated – even with collar stiffeners their shirt drooped below their suit jacket and they felt they lost their mojo. So with this they came up with the idea of magnetic collar stiffeners, that not only kept your collar stiff, but most importantly kept it upright.” We think they are brilliant!
2) Colourful watches by Nixon – sleek, summery, and they won’t break the bank. There are 27 colours to choose from – almost one for each day of the month of February! Why stop at just one?
3) Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotels “Get a Room” voucher.
Mr & Mrs Smith have done all the hard work for us by curating – hand-picking – a selection of the most remarkable – and characterful – boutique hotels in the world. The Mr & Mrs Smith team have personally visited and anonymously reviewed each location and applied their exacting standards in their selection process. There is something to suit every kind of holiday you can imagine. And this means the both of you get to enjoy the treat….
4) Rimowa “Topas” cabin bag
Whilst we think a stylish leather holdall or carry-all can seriously up the style stakes and handsomely complement a bespoke suit, there are just some times when a gentleman doesn’t want to hoist all that heavy luggage around (when making the trek from one end of Heathrow to the other). Enter the sleek aluminium Rimowa, with its signature “go faster” grooves. Swivelling silently on four wheels, this remarkably sleek piece of travel engineering will follow quietly in your hand, distinguished and uncomplaining, around the world like the most loyal of canine friends. We are huge fans.
5) Henry Herbert bespoke suit voucher
A Henry Herbert Gift Voucher for one suit lets the recipient create their own very own tailored English suit, from the finest English & Scottish wools. Our perfectly tailored hand-crafted suits are made in England and our tailors will guide them through all the choices, styles and fabrics available. You can personalise the message inside the card too.
Happy Friday / Valentine’s Day!
This week, the well-dressed man is sporting a champagne bespoke Nehru jacket. This slim cut bespoke Nehru jacket is hand crafted from Holland & Sherry pure worsted Super 130s. We were commissioned to make this bespoke Nehru jacket by a customer attending several weddings in India at the end of January/February. We are told that this is a particularly popular time for weddings in India, which may explain the bespoke Nehru jacket requests we have been getting.
The jacket is lined with a pale pink, and features working cuffs and horn buttons. We think the lining is an excellent, complementary choice to the jacket fabric both chosen by a very stylish customer. Not to mention the shades are very forward-looking to the next season – bring on Spring 2014!
This is one of the work tables at our London workshop. During the week, you will often find this table heavily loaded with swathes of cloth that have been ordered, ready to be cut. The cutting table is often draped in cloth, held down by weights, whilst our tailors strike a pattern. Bespoke suits and bespoke shirts are made to each gentleman’s individual measurements, or his personal “pattern”. No two patterns are the same!
On the shelves above the work table, you see just some of the fabric books we have – for bespoke suits, shirts, trousers, linings, waistcoats, overcoats, dinner suits, morning suits and jackets. Many of these will travel together with our tailors, when they are out at client appointments, to ensure that no client is ever short of shirt and suit fabric choices – cottons, wools, cashmere, flannel, tweeds in all imaginable colours and patterns. At Henry Herbert Tailors, we use only the finest British fabrics, sourced and woven in the UK. Our experienced tailors will guide you through the thousands of suitable fabric types and colours available.
Tidy boxes to stash our bits and bobs – buttons, pins, chalk, scissors, safety pins, measuring tapes, spare bits of fabric (we never know when those might come in handy), needles / thimbles / plasters (we find those tend to be needed in threes). We are particularly fond of the appropriate wording on these boxes: “expert tailoring”, a daily reminder of the highest Savile Row standards that we work to.
Finally, we like to keep our guests comfortable when they visit us. Dogtooth and Prince of Wales check work well on furnishing and accessories too, we find! You can either visit us at our Savile Row (Mon-Fri 9.00-5.00pm) or Gray’s Inn Road premises (Mon-Sat 8.00am – 8.00pm), or we can visit you wherever and whenever is good for you, with our Savile Row by Scooter service.
This week, the well-dressed man is sporting a bespoke men’s winter jacket cut slightly differently. It is a Nehru-styled jacket, crafted from a seasonally appropriate slightly heavier weight navy wool. The jacket essentially blends the collar of the achkan, historically the royal court dress of Indian nobles, with the Western suit jacket. It was popularised by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.
The high collar does double duty – not just as a style feature, but a practical attribute to keep the chill out during the cooler months. The wider cut sleeve cuffs make layering over a shirt and even a jumper, a smooth affair.
The three step process to tailored suits in London…..you can even come and cut your own cloth!
1. Telephone us! Simply telephone us, or email, to discuss what you are looking for.
2. We make…. you your tailored suit. The process takes eight to nine weeks with a number of fittings along the way.
3. Enjoy your tailored suit! You can make appointment, day or night.
*This particular customer was treated to the suit by his wife. As a treat, we invited him to come and cut the cloth with us. The video above is him cutting the cloth and the below is the end result…not bad for a first time cutter (with our help!). The cloth is woven in England and is from Holland & Sherry.
The classic English bespoke tweed suit needs no further introduction.
The cloth: This tweed suit jacket and waistcoat are hand-crafted from a heavier 13oz tweed, from Holland and Sherry and is appropriate for the outdoors and unforgiving winters.
The cut: slim fitting and proportionate. It is a popular British cut because it bears some classic features, for example the waist nips in slightly higher than our European friends usually prefer, which creates a taller, slimmer looking silhouette with a slightly longer skirt.
There is no better time, as temperatures drop, to be thinking about a tweed suit. Our tailoring team can guide you through the options available. We would be delighted to have a discussion: just drop us a line to book an appointment!
Stuck for a Halloween costume for tonight? Henry Herbert shares our top 5 “Emergency Halloween” costumes based around adapting what you are currently wearing – your bespoke suit or shirt. Just add a liberal dose of fake blood for a ghoulish effect! (And don’t worry, we also tell you how to get it off after in this video.)
1) Gordon Gekko. Take one blue shirt with white collar and cuffs. Roll sleeves back to the elbow, add braces, slicked back hair, a cigar and a sprinkling of insider trading quotes and say “Greed is Good” a lot.
2) Men in Black, Agent J, K. Take one black suit. Add a black tie, and sunglasses. Easy! Neuralizer optional.
3) Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Running with the blue shirt/white collar contrast theme, add a red tie, and a rain jacket/poncho from your local supermarket, and an axe from a toy store (preferably) or tool shop (please be careful!). Spray fake blood.
4) Jay Gatsby, from The Great Gatsby. Why, just don your dinner suit, old sport. Add martini glass and some smugly raised eyebrows.
5) Joel Goodson/Tom Cruise from Risky Business. Last but not least, one for the brave, or those who don’t get chilly easily. Remove most of your suit and tie, leaving only a shirt and white socks. Grab any microphone-like prop. Mime. Indulge in some dance moves.
And there you have it. 5 easy emergency Halloween costumes, using your bespoke suits and shirts! Happy Halloween from all of us at Henry Herbert.
As part of “Throwback Thursday”, we thought it was timely to revive this piece, written by Henry Herbert founder Charlie Baker-Collingwood on Wool: the Cloth of Kings.
I felt extremely privileged to attend the Society of Dyers & Colourists conference at the magnificent Clothworkers’ Hall in London. We were treated to a fascinating group of speakers – including the Scottish weaver Malcolm Campbell who gave a truly gripping talk about wools. Wool is an extremely important textile in so many ways and indeed the cause has been taken up by HRH Prince of Wales with the Campaign for Wool. I tried to scribble down as much of what he said as possible,
“In 1792, James MacArthur arrived in an inhabited Australia with eight yews and two rams. The Australian wool industry grew from that and today the country, as a result, has over one hundred million sheep. Indeed the global population of over six billion people live amongst a global sheep population of over one billion….56 million of those sheep living in Iran alone (the UK has a sheep population of about 25 million).
Wool can come from a variety of sources including camels, buffalos, sheep and many other animals and they can be spun to accommodate local preferences – buffalo wool for suits in America, cashmere wool for the Indian market and camel wool for the Sheiks of the Middle East. Indeed the tennis balls at Wimbledon are made from wool and the versatility of the fibre means it can be used from carpets to lingerie….and of course for suits.
Wool is a bacteria preventing, temperature cooling, water absorbing, and protecting fibre – all qualities that provide an excellent foundation for suiting. It keeps you warm when it is cold and cool when it is too hot. Master craftsmen and finishers today can add technical applications to wools including stain resisters, water resisters or a silver shield to give this fabric an even more hi-tech touch. Only wool can offer the variety of colours, provide the drape and guaranteed durability that every good suit needs. We must accept that wool is an expensive and valuable fibre, not only to preserve the quality of great looking suits but just as importantly to preserve the livelihoods of the wool farmers themselves. There have been reports of some wool farmers turning to growing grapes, or even marijuana plants (where it is legal for medicinal purposes) because the competitive pressures of producing wool have been too great. By purchasing a tailored suit with the finest wools, you are not only treating yourself to a glorious garment – you are supporting a precious industry.”
~ By Charlie Baker-Collingwood of Henry Herbert, October 2010