Sunday, 15 July 2012

Dazed and Confused (Vol III/11)

Transcript pg.52 July 2012:

With Savile Row enjoying a style renaissance of late, it couldn’t be a better time to celebrate Tommy Nutter, the original maverick tailor. Known as the “Rebel on the Row”, Nutter was responsible for introducing fashion to the golden mile of traditional tailoring.

He opened Nutters of Savile Row with master cutter Edward Sexton in 1969, financed by Cilla Black and the Beatles’ executive producer, Peter Brown. Nutter defied convention, cutting lapels wider than ever before, broadening shoulders and juxtaposing bold patterns and fabrics. By modernising the style and approach of traditional tailors, Nutter reinvented the Savile Row suit, and his firm became the first tailoring house to dress women as well as men.

“Tommy was inspired by the tailoring styles of the 20s and 30s, the Golden Age of menswear and a period exuding glamour,” explains current Nutters of Savile Row owner David Mason. “As the glam rock era was about to begin, he was set to take glamour to new heights. Less than six months after the shop opened, Apollo 11 landed the first humans on the moon. Boundaries were being broken in orbit and pushed to the limits in the world of fashion, and Tommy was the frontiersman.”

Nutter made suits for numerous members of British rock aristocracy, including Eric Clapton, Elton John, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones, but his proudest boast was that he dressed three of the Beatles for the iconic Abbey Road album cover (George Harrison wore denim). He also famously dressed Mick and Bianca Jagger on their wedding day, and created what Mason describes as “the most copied suit in fashion history”: the three-piece ensemble photographed on Bianca as she was strolling through Heathrow Airport wearing a bowler hat and carrying a cane.

Bianca Jagger (Heathrow Airport 1972)

Nutter died from complications arising from Aids in 1992, but his influence lives on as bespoke tailoring undergoes a revival. Leading designer Tom Ford cites the Savile Row rebel as a key influence, and frequently produces Nutter-style velvet jackets and strong lapelled suits. Meanwhile, brands like E. Tautz, Hardy Amies and A.Sauvage are injecting new life into Savile Row bespoke tailoring and Alexander McQueen’s upcoming menswear store at 9 Savile Row will house a Huntsman made-to-measure service.

“At a time when the economy has continued to prove challenging,” explains Mason, “people are buttoning up their shirts and reaching for ties again. Many have grown tired of the dressdown movement; a younger generation are reacting against their parent’s desire to dress ‘down’ and are instead dressing ‘up’.”

As long as they do it with style, Tommy Nutter would approve.

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