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Boasting rich sartorial heritage, Savile Row is synonymous with expert craftsmanship and a long tradition in fine tailoring. In our new series with speak to Savile Row insiders who share their stories, signature styles, and everything you need to know about bespoke tailoring.
We speak to Graham Lawless, Sales Director at Davies & Son
Tell us a little about yourself. What do you do?
Established in 1803 Davies & Son is the oldest independent bespoke tailoring house on Savile Row and one of the very few pure bespoke houses. Owner Alan Bennett is one of the elite ’50 Club’ on the Row who have spent over half a century in the trade and senior cutters Mr Bennett and Patrick Murphy are two of the most well-respected craftsmen in the business today.
Why should I visit your store?
Davies & Son’s cutters travel extensively throughout the US, Asia and Europe but we recommend new customers visit Savile Row if at all possible. For the first suit it pays dividends and saves time to attend all the fittings necessary to perfect the silhouette at our HQ. After a customer is satisfied with the first suit, presuming he keeps the same physique he can order long distance. But we tend to find that our best customers enjoy coming to visit us at home. The fittings are a part of the experience that Davies customers enjoy. We’re not cutting corners by having less contact. We are lessening the pleasure the bespoke customer takes in the process.
What is your signature style / house cut?
House cut is a red herring. You will hear people rhapsodising about the Huntsman cut or the Anderson & Sheppard cut but having a house style can be limiting. A good cutter can make for any physique. He or she should be able to cut a Huntsman, A&S or Kilgour line. We like to think that at Davies & Son when we make you a bespoke suit we’ll take a stone off your weight and ten years off your age. That’s the magic of improving on nature.
How long does it take to make a suit, what’s the process and how many fittings are involved?
For a first order we like to say eight to twelve weeks for the make with a minimum of two fittings. How long a process takes and how many fittings are planned is largely due to the customer after that. Some are more exacting than others. At Davies we tend to find that the more a customer knows and appreciates bespoke tailoring the less trouble he proves to be in the fitting room.
Where are your suits made?
All Davies & Son bespoke suits are made in London. The patterns are cut on Savile Row and some tailoring is executed in our workshops downstairs. But we, like all Savile Row tailors, work with craftsmen in Mayfair and Soho.
How much does a two-piece suit cost?
The starting price at Davies & Son is £4,000.
Why should I invest into a bespoke suit?
We'd turn that question around. Why would you waste up to £15,000 on a designer ready to wear suit that is factory made - probably in China - and sold in multiples all over the world? There is nothing luxurious about mass-produced machine-made garments with a designer label attached. Granted a Savile Row bespoke suit is not going to accrue in value in the way that a Hermes Birkin or Kelly bag does on the secondary market. Investment is a bit more short-term. But if you take care of your suits and allow them to rest there’s no reason that they won’t last for over a decade if cut in a robust cloth. If you believe in supporting 'hand-made in England' craftsmanship that has remained unchanged for centuries and appreciate the timeless style of Savile Row then we would recommend you invest in many bespoke suits wallet allowing.
Any famous customers we should know about?
Savile Row is unashamedly old-fashioned about being discreet when asked for celebrated customer names. Unless a customer is ‘profile’ and wishes it to be known that he is a bespoke customer we won’t divulge his name. Of course, this might seem mad in 21st-century celebrity culture but this is how our customers like us to proceed. if you want to know who we dressed please look at our history on the website. We’re more proud of dressing King George V, Admiral Lord Nelson and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia rather than Justin Bieber. We also suspect our customers’ fame will stand the test of time whereas many ‘celebrities’ today will not.
What is your best tip for buying a bespoke suit?
Resist the vogue for lightweight cloth. If you’re aiming for weightlessness then best approach to visit an Italian tailor. The London Cut tends to shine with a cloth that’s at least 8oz or more. A heavier weight holds the shape, is hardy and you don’t need to wear it self-consciously while worrying about every drop of Malbec that comes near it. Italian suits don’t respond to a sponge and press whereas a Savile Row suit can look as good as new.
To find out more about Davies & Son click here
See what other insiders reveal here