Here is already the last segment on my recent London adventure. Little did I know that chance would have me leave Savile Row, and even Mayfair, for my last appointment, heading to different part of London with a completely different atmosphere. Indeed, the next neighbourhood I visited, up until very recently, was home to everything London had to offer in terms of shady deals and businesses.
But before stepping right into the very creative and quite frankly astounding world of Timothy Everest, let’s have a short overview of my journey so far. My first day had been quite intense: after a quick visit to the bespoke workshop of Turnbull & Asser, I had the luck and honor of being shown through the very core of houses Thom Sweeney, Anderson & Sheppard, Huntsman & Sons and Norton & Sons.
After such a day, time had come to return to the Duke’s Hotel, where I was meeting James Sherwood and Lorenzo Cifonelli who, by pure chance, also happened to be in London that night for a few fittings with British clients.
On schedule for the evening: a few cocktails at the wonderful bar of the Duke’s, followed by dinner at Wilton’s on Jermyn Street, with these two gentlemen with whom I have, overtime, established very cordial relationships with. For those of you who don’t know the work of James Sherwood, I urge you to look up his book on Savile Row published last year, as well as his last book, exclusively dedicated to the famous “Royal Ascot”.
The discussion we had over dinner was also captivating in every aspects. Indeed, James Sherwood and yours truly have recently become involved with a large project consisting in bringing together the 20 greatest bespoke houses the world over, and organizing, in parallel with the next editions of the Milanese Pitti Uomo, an exhibition dedicated to bespoke tailoring art. It is nothing but a mere project at this point (that I am delighted to talk about for the first time in these columns). But in light of the positive reactions it seems to trigger in the greatest bespoke houses in England, France and Italy, we will work restlessly to bring it to reality, maybe in the beginning of 2013 or later. Wait and see…
After a short night of sleep, after which I woke up just in time to follow the quarter finals of the World Rugby Cup opposing England and France on the British TV, I headed, with a victorious bounce in my step, to the last appointment of my London mission: the workshop of Sir Timothy Everest, located in the now very energetic (and not so shady anymore) neighbourhood of Spitalfields.
Timothy Everest, legendary tailor who earned his stripes with the no less mythical enfant terrible of the Row in the 70s, Tommy Nutter, is quite the character, in the purest sense of the term.
Also, the mere fact that he opens the doors to his workshop on a Saturday morning while it is normally closed (as, quite strangely, all the houses of the Row) shows the passion and almost adolescent enthusiasm he beams with when talking about his work, vision of tailoring art and the many fine projects he is working on with his team, quite young and almost exclusively feminine…
Spending time with Tim, dressed in a 3 piece tweed suit from the 80s, is a unique experience indeed. We started with a visit of his workshop, a very special place in a small backstreet of Spitalfields, a radical break in atmosphere from the very traditional Row.
His atelier is a tastefully decorated three level house (full of collector items and vintage furniture) while a high end Hi-Fi sound system creates a most enjoyable musical atmosphere (a couple of exceptional B&W speakers, the Signature 805 model, a name that amateurs will appreciate).
The very extroverted Tim then proceeds to explain his vision of tailoring without ever bringing up his own products, which can instantly be identified – so brimming with character they are.
In a few words, Everest defends an alternative vision of bespoke tailoring and explains why he thinks the “wall” between masculine styling (modern yet tasteful) and traditional tailoring should definitely be torn down, as masculine elegance can and should bring together the best of both worlds. It is also worth noting Timothy Everest doesn’t use the words “bespoke tailoring”, but rather “fine tailoring”, on all his accessories, including his hangers.
For Tim Everest, this philosophy goes well beyond words and declarations of intent: all suits, coats, jackets and even shirts that I have seen at his workshop are a materialization of that vision of his – of what it means to be a tailor in the 21st century.
I was also able to discover an absolutely remarkable limited line of ready-to-wear designed by Tim and made in Portugal. These products have bold lines (without any excess), very high quality fabrics and are all half-canvassed. The prices also are very fair, especially in regard to such quality: a two piece suit will cost you about £600 (700 euros).
In addition, Everest also offers a beautiful made-to-measure collection inspired by the same “classic with a twist” spirit (starting at £950) and of course, a traditional bespoke line (starting at £2,700) that follows the rules of the art indeed, but with an added touch of originality that is the signature of all Everest’s creations.
On the upper floor, I witnessed his dazzling creativity at work with, among others, a few stunning cycling jackets and new editions of pieces paying tribute to the late Tommy Nutter, complete with checked patch pockets and shawl collars… Not my personal cup of tea, but I must admit to having been left speechless by such freedom of tone.
Last but not least, Timothy unearthed for me a genuine 1971 (needless to say, from the Tommy Nutter years) suit, that I was able to photograph.
All photos © Andy Barnham for Parisian Gentleman
To sum up, the world of Timothy Everest is truly unique and, even if some of his creations lack a little of the understatement which I tend to favor, all in all, it inspires great respect and admiration.
This concluded my fascinating London adventure. As my taxi drove me back to St. Pancras (after an especially relaxed lunch with Timothy and Andy), I couldn’t help but thinking that, even after loosing the game against the French rugby team, our British friends remained amazing people.
God Save the Queen and British Bespoke Tailoring!