For centuries, the imitators have been numerous but none have come close to taking the sheen off the Row's cloth. Named after Lady Savile, the wife of the 3rd Earl of Burlington, the road was built between 1731 and 1735 as part of a development for the Burlington Estate. Tailors started to take premise on Savile Row in the late 18th century and were served well by the demographic that frequented the area. Situated behind the elusive Albany apartments, the street found itself at the heart of British high society. It wasn't uncommon to see Lord Byron, Terence Rattigan or William Gladstone coming out of the Georgian pile's discreet back alley door.
Today, the Row has never been more diverse with a variety of ready-to-wear, made-to-measure and bespoke offerings. Welcome to Savile Row gents.
Gieves and Hawkes
Occupying a stately corner townhouse at No.1 Savile Row is no easy task – discerning eyes from all over are on you. Known for its military roots, the business initially found favour with commanders of the British Army, through which King George III became a customer. To this day, the tailor is the holder of 3 Royal Warrants for HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. The brand has enjoyed a commercial revival of sorts over the last 15 years. Jason Basmajian, previously at Brioni, breathed fresh air into No.1 and oversaw a huge refurbishment - sartorially and architecturally - of the house. Ready-to-wear and casual wear now form an important part of their business. Traditionalists may scoff at the commercialisation of the brand, but don't forget that their bespoke service comes with 200 years' experience. As Davide Taub, head cutter, says 'why stay still as a craftsman when you can innovate?'
Known for: pioneer of ready-to-wear; smart-casual pieces; high armhole; structured roped shoulder, hinting at its military tradition. Under Taub, house style is relaxed in favour of the customer's aesthetic desires, though remains a fairly classic British style.
Notable Clientele: Ian Fleming, Winston Churchill, The Duke of Wellington, Prince William.
Prices: Ready-to-wear starts at £795. Made-to-measure starts at £1,150. Bespoke starts at £5,000.
1 Savile Row, W1S 3PB, gievesandhawkes.com
Entering the Kilgour showroom on Savile Row, one might be mistaken for thinking you've stepped into an architect's practice. Crisp lines, vast swathes of slab concrete and cool glass mirror the design philosophy of the brand. "We offer a slightly softer, elegant cut. As our tradition isn’t rooted in military attire, we still offer an English cut without such a heavy shoulder or chest. You wear the suit; the suit doesn’t wear you." Constantly progressive, from the way they present their brand to the way they cut cloth, Kilgour is a tailor with eyes towards the future and hands firmly on traditional craft.
Known for: Clean, minimal and sophisticated; cut to the body with a structured shoulder and chest, there’s an emphasis on a sharp, powerful silhouette that creates natural elegance.
Notable Clientele: Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Peter Saville, Nick Knight and Daniel Craig.
Prices: from £4,950 for a 2 piece suit.
5 Savile Row, W1S 3PB, kilgour.com
Dege & Skinner
Founded in 1865, Dege & Skinner are one of the oldest tailors on The Row. Holding 3 royal warrants of appointment (Queen Elizabeth II, the Sultan of Oman, and the King of Bahrain) the marque makes all of its bespoke suits and shirts on site, in the basement of no.10 Savile Row. Known for dressing members of the Royal family, the Beefeaters of the Tower of London, as well as the Queen's bodyguards, Dege & Skinner is one of the most diverse tailors on The Row, with expertise in both ceremonial and civilian wear. As a founding member of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, this entails the following: a Master Cutter must oversee the work of every tailor employed by a member house and all garments must be constructed within a one hundred yard radius of Savile Row. Likewise, every member must offer the customer a choice of at least 2000 cloths and rigorous technical requirements are expected.
Known for: Traditional, military house style; strong shoulder line; narrow trousers (cavalry cut); slightly flared lower jacket and narrow waist paired with wider-than-average lapel.
Notable Clientele: Strictly confidential, though they did make Prince Harry's outfit for his wedding to Meghan Markle.
Prices: from £5,000 for a two-piece suit.
10 Savile Row, W1S 3PF, dege-skinner.co.uk
Huntsman’s heritage is as an equestrian tailor, making hunting and riding clothes for European aristocracy. Celebrating 170 since its foundation on Bond Street, and 100 years in its Savile Row abode in 2019, Huntsman has announced a new approach to its famed tailoring, entitled Bespoke 100. The new offering differentiates itself from the original, so forth known as Bespoke 1849, in two aspects: cutters use Huntsman proprietary AI algorithms to assist hand-drawn patterns, saving precious time spent; certain aspects of the basic sewing process are outsourced to select and vetted craftsman, reducing both wait time and costs and avoiding bottleneck at the London atelier. Riding the wave of Colin Firth's Kingsman cinema franchise, the brand is thoroughly contemporary by Savile Row standards.
Known for: The house’s iconic style, known simply as the ‘Huntsman cut’, is characterised by strong shoulders and a perfectly poised single button fastening. It’s a timelessly elegant silhouette that lends itself to a comfortable, yet sophisticated look.
Notable Clientele: Gianni Agnelli, Alexander McQueen (pictured above), Gregory Peck (who had more than 160 suits made), Colin Firth.
Prices: Ready to wear, Bespoke 100 from £3,500, Bespoke 1849 from £5,500.
11 Savile Row, W1S 3PS, huntsmansavilerow.com
Henry Poole & Co
The grandaddy of them all, but don't let that intimidate you. You don't have to be an ex-ruler of state or an army general; so long as you appreciate fine British tailoring, Henry Poole's doors are open to all. In fact, more than 70% of its clients are from abroad. The oldest tailor on the street, opening their doors in 1846, Henry Poole is often credited as the 'founder of The Row.' Pursuing excellence and quality rather than fashionable fads, the house is quietly confident in what it does. Their ethos, both past and present, is that they are not dictated by fashion. Adhering to a balance of posture, size of build, and proportion of figuration (the way you stand, shoulder slope etc), the key consideration for them is balance in proportion to the stature and figure of the individual, and not passing fashions. Throughout a client's bespoke journey, which usually takes up to 12 weeks, there is opportunity to interact with your cutter, coat maker and trouser cutter, all under the gentle guidance of your master tailor. May I ask which way one dresses, sir?
Known for: Inventing the dinner jacket; creating a quintessentially British style suit; an obsession with balance; jacket buttons strategically placed to moderate the torso; trousers cut on waist - not the hips - giving the impression of long legs; adhering to the naturalness of form. Depending on the build of a client, tailors will structure suit to enhance the figure, and minimise flaws. Their tailors frequently travel abroad for consultations.
Notable Clientele: Winston Churchill, Jean Cocteau, J.P. Morgan, General de Gaulle, David Gandy (pictured above).
Prices: from £5,208 for a two-piece suit; £5690 for a three-piece.
15 Savile Row, W1S 3PJ, henrypoole.com
When Ozwald Boateng came on the scene in the 90s, he caused quite a stir. The first black man to open his own store on The Row in 1995, he formed part of the 'New Bespoke Movement' of British tailors, including Richard James and Timothy Everest, who at the time were celebrated for reviving The Row's elitist image. His silhouetted suits may have made the more dogmatic of tailors gasp but it was undeniable that his suits were recognised on red carpets from L.A. to Toyko. Cool Britannia was in full swing, and wearing a crimson Boateng suit delivered the playful braggadocio that said 'move over chaps, this is what British tailoring looks like.' His approach to tailoring remains divisive to other members of The Row, though it's undeniable that a Boateng cut is unlike any other.
Known for: mixing fashion and tailoring; contemporary, modern British style; very slim silhouette by British standards; streamlined and very slim lapels; bold and inventive use of colours and fabrics; crisp and minimal house style; strong architectural lines; streamlined ties. Recent collections have been strongly inspired by African, particularly Ghanaian, use of colour and fabrics.
Notable Clientele: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Giorgio Armani, Richard Branson.
Prices: from £4,932 for a two-piece suit; £5,652 for a three-piece.
30 Savile Row, W1S 3PT, ozwaldboateng.co.uk
Anderson & Sheppard
Founded in 1906, Anderson & Sheppard's wonderfully atmospheric premises is actually situated parallel to Savile Row on Old Burlington Street (previously, they occupied the Ozwald Boateng plot but moved due to uncertainties with the lease). Currently run by Anda Rowland, the tailor is most renowned for the English Drape cut: a now-classic suiting silhouette, which surfaced as a more comfortable alternative to the rigid constraints of military dress early in the 20th century. Speaking on their clientele, Rowland remarked: "our clients are not so much businessmen, but artistic and creative types." Prince Charles is perhaps Anderson & Sheppard's most famous ambassador.
Known for: double-breasted jackets, 'English drape cut': soft and round minimally padded shoulders; a small, high armhole with additional fullness given instead through the sleeve head; a full chest with a distinctive vertical drape and suppression through the waist.
Notable Clientele: Prince Charles, Baron Guy de Rothschild, Tom Ford, Bryan Ferry.
Prices: From £4,932 for a two-piece suit; £5,652 for a three-piece.
32 Old Burlington Street, W1S 3AT, anderson-sheppard.co.uk
Cad & The Dandy
The new kids on the block, Cad & The Dandy was founded by two ex-bankers, Ian Meiers and James Sleater, who turned their backs on the city after the '08 crash. Both had links to the fashion industry – Meiers' mother tailored clothes for the Queen and Sleater's family owned a cotton mill. As expected, they cater to a younger clientele familiar with the world of Instagram and so their suits cut a modern and fairly sleek silhouette. Offering a very competitive price point, some of the manufacturing of their suits is outsourced, although they only use Italian and British cloth.
Known for: traditional English handwork blended with a sleek fusion of modern style – slimmer shoulder padding and a more pronounced waist – creating a look that is both contemporary and unique to the house.
Notable Clientele: Freddie Flintoff, Chris Eubank, James May.
Prices: From £1,000 for a bespoke two-piece suit; £1,240 for a three-piece.
13 Savile Row, 1st Floor, W1S 3NE, cadandthedandy.co.uk
"They won't last 5 minutes" the sceptics said when Richard James opened its store on The Row in 1992. When Vanity Fair published its 'Cool Britannia' edition, Richard James was one of its starlets along with Ozwald Boateng, and since then the brand has gone from strength to strength, opening a store on New York's Park Avenue. Its approach towards British tailoring has been one of rebellion and cheekiness; there's a playful attitude to what they do not dissimilar to Paul Smith. Classical British tailoring with a twist, they've made suits for everyone from Lords to art directors.
Known for: Very British cut; standard lapels, 7.5-8cm in width; longer jacket; high armhole; emphasis on unique fabrics; contemporary and sleek British house style. British tailoring with a twist.
Notable Clientele: Elton John, David Beckham, Tom Cruise, Jude Law, George Clooney.
Prices: from £4,500 for a bespoke two-piece suit; £5,400 for a three-piece.
29 Savile Row, W1S 2EY, richard-james.com
Founders Richard Anderson and Brian Lishak have worked on The Row for almost all of their lives. Richard started as a 17-year-old apprentice at Huntsman and served a most traditional apprenticeship under Colin Hammick, one of the greats of tailoring. Brian started at an even more tender age. The unique Richard Anderson house style has its origins in the traditional hacking coat, derived from the 19th century “Thornton” system of cutting. The house style is one of long clean lines, with the look and fit designed to accentuate and improve the figure. Combining centuries-old tradition and flare that applies to a younger generation, Richard Anderson sits in the unique position of being traditional yet modern.
Known for: the 1 button house style features a neat minimally padded shoulder with no rope to the sleeve head; arm holes are cut high for ease of movement and to create extra length through the side seam; The chest is continuously hand padded and shaped to create a form-fitting silhouette; the side seams are waisted with a slight flare over the hips with the pockets and vents all kept a little higher than the norm. All points designed to elongate the body.
Notable Clientele: Ian McKellen, Bryan Ferry, George Michael.
Prices: Around £5,400 for a bespoke two-piece suit.
13 Savile Row, W1S 3PH, richardandersonltd.com
Arriving from Trinidad at the age of 17, Andrew Ramroop (the only tailor on The Row to be awarded an OBE) came from humble beginnings but always had a passion for making clothes. He was hired and fired on the same day by Anthony Sinclair (creator of Sean Connery's Conduit Cut suit) after a white English candidate walked in 20 minutes after him. Luckily, Huntsman decided to take him on, where he learned some tricks of the trade. However, he was determined not to remain in the workroom and so undertook a course at the London College of Fashion. Upon finishing he worked for Maurice Sedwell and found himself tailoring to most of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet. He would go on to make suits for Princess Diana and eventually bought Maurice Sedwell outright. Despite his success, he has not forgotten his difficult trajectory- he founded the Savile Row Academy to help future students learn the art of Savile Row tailoring.
Known for: soft-structured tailoring; firmness but not hardness; slightly narrower shoulders and wider sleeves, with delta lapels and delta pocket flaps that mirror the bottom front edges of the jacket, and including a front pocket that follows the line of the shoulder. Unique design quirks to their pockets, sleeves, buttonholes and lapels.
Notable Clientele: Brian Lara, Samuel L Jackson, Tony Curtis.
Prices: Around £5,000 for a bespoke two-piece suit.
19 Savile Row, W1S 3PP, mauricesedwell.com
After 25 years as head of bespoke at Gieves and Hawkes, Ray Stowers has worked on Savile Row for over 35 years. Setting up Stowers Bespoke with his son in 2007, the business has made suits for Actors, Rock Stars, Sportsmen, World Leaders and Royalty. "We have a passion for tailoring and embrace the spirit of tradition, combining age-old hand-tailoring techniques with a distinctive personal touch," Ray says about their approach. Bespoke suits are made either on Savile Row or in their workshop in Soho; ready-to-wear suits are made in Europe. Known for their flexible service and eclectic tailoring (some of their clients are more likely to be found wearing luxury cashmere tracksuits than a three-piece suit), their team of tailors often travel abroad to visit existing and new clients. Those looking for their first Savile Row suit (or to add to their collection) would do well to talk to the friendly team at No.13.
Known for: An open book policy. The ultimate objective is to manage the client’s personal wardrobe, producing clothing that befits their individual lifestyle and status wherever they reside in the World. Stowers will advise, style, design and educate the client on what to wear and how, ensuring they are appropriately dressed at all times. Catering for every aspect of the individual's wardrobe they produce classic and fashion items including dress-wear, uniforms, casual clothing, shooting clothing and individually designed one-off pieces including tracksuits, fur and exotic skins such as crocodile and ostrich for both men and women.
Notable Clientele: Confidential
Prices: Bespoke from £4,750; Made-to-Measure from £1,800
13 Savile Row, London W1S 3NE, stowersbespoke.co.uk