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July 13 2014

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4 posts tagged "Gieves & Hawkes"

A New History: Jason Basmajian Talks Gieves & Hawkes

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Jason Basmajian and the Spring '14 Gieves and Hawkes collection

Gieves & Hawkes—the centuries-old British tailor that holds three royal warrants and owns a prestigious “corner office” at No. 1 Savile Row—is getting a facelift. In January, the brand hired Boston-born Jason Basmajian to take the creative helm. Basmajian’s new role will require him to carry on the tradition of dressing Prince Charles and his kin (baby George can’t be too far away from his first suit, can he?), as well as military, political, and regal grandees, which, over the years, have included Winston Churchill, J.P. Morgan, David Niven, and Laurence Olivier. Basmajian’s mission? To dust off the formidable patina of the brand and turn it into gold dust—English-style. Here, Basmajian talks to Style.com about preserving Gieves & Hawkes’ storied past (so storied, in fact, that the brand employs a full-time archivist to this day), while pushing it into the twenty-first century.

You are American-born and developed your design chops in New York, Paris, and Milan with Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Brioni, and so on. What can you bring to such a traditional British brand?
Funnily enough, that is why I think I was chosen—because I brought an international style perspective to the table. Gieves & Hawkes comes out of a military/equestrian background, which is the anchor of Savile Row. But we also have a loyal clientele in Asia and America where that military and formal tradition isn’t as richly stepped. It weighs heavily on a brand, how to carry that tradition through, but I think my role is to celebrate the brand and move it forward to what today’s man wants, which is a lot of personality and not just body cover. Continue Reading “A New History: Jason Basmajian Talks Gieves & Hawkes” »

Letter From London:
The Men’s Collections, Day 1

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After a royal kickoff, London Collections: Men (its official, if slightly wordy name) began in earnest this morning.

The first show on the schedule belonged to Lou Dalton, the brassy woman-in-menswear (like her sister-in-arms Martine Rose) who is a promising part of the young London scene. Her futuristic take on tailoring (left)—jackets with inset mesh panels, shirts in classic fabrics like seersucker that billowed like deflated humps behind their wearers, and boxy shorts, worn with trainers and high socks—seemed almost sci-fi, but it had an appealingly dystopic twang. Alexa Chung, who dipped backstage after the show to offer her congratulations, seemed to appreciate it.

And now, as the Pythons used to say, for something completely different. (This is England, after all.) Hackett’s show at the English Opera House drew inspiration from the past, specifically the thirties of Gatsby. That sort of vertigo-inducing 180 from the future to the past and the experimental to the traditional characterized the day and may well characterize the full schedule of collections here in London. In the afternoon, Savile Row opened its many doors, while not far away, Rose made her mark—literally—with outerwear and shirts in neoprene stamped with impressions of her own hands. Continue Reading “Letter From London:
The Men’s Collections, Day 1″ »

Gieves & Hawkes Goes Back To Its Roots

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Try to imagine the owner of an esteemed Savile Row shop being told about this newfangled thing called London fashion week. Can’t you just see him, the posh old bloke, sitting there at the dinner table and pray-telling some junior interlocutor to explain himself the way Maggie Smith’s Countess Dowager did on Downton Abbey: “What is a wee-kend?”

Well, there’s no such sniffy skepticism at Gieves & Hawkes—the centuries-old tailors were the storied street’s only representative at LFW this year. But then, they’ve got reason to show their stuff. Design director Barry Tulip, who joined the company last spring after stints with Zegna and Dunhill, has plugged G&H into the fashion world with a Fall ready-to-wear collection that brings a hint of designer point of view to the house’s firmly bespoke tradition.

By shifting some focus off the suit and on to military-inspired outerwear, G&H is actually getting back to its roots. James Watson Gieve began his distinguished career in 1835 making navy jackets. This helps explain the choice of venue (Somerset House’s Navy Board Rooms, where onetime customer Horatio Nelson did his war planning) and the fact that an eight-button admiral’s topcoat served as the presentation’s centerpiece.

That coat is made out of fine cashmere, with horn buttons that reference Admiral Nelson by way of a nautical rope motif, and it’s perfectly contemporary. It comes across as less nineteenth-century than 1960′s, an era that a lot of the London tailoring world has been feeling lately. The slightly wider, drop-notch lapels on sport coats pay homage to swinging-London menswear icon Tommy Nutter, Tulip explained, and the geometric patterns on the collection’s silk ties and pocket squares were inspired by sixties decorator David Hicks. Even the lookbook is shot in a portrait style that brings to mind the photography of David Bailey and Lord Snowdon (and, to this reporter’s eye at least, features a model with a striking resemblance to a young Michael York).

All of which is to say that Gieves & Hawkes seems to have embraced the idea that when it comes to ready-to-wear, even tradition-minded men of means crave a little designer sensibility. As Tulip said, “To put it well, bluntly, or, you know, in a crass way, I suppose it’s value for money.”

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Preen Breaks Into The Boys’ Club

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Womenswear has been borrowing more and more from menswear of late, and for their latest collection, Preen designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi went after big game, sartorially speaking: They’ve commissioned tailoring from the historic Savile Row house Gieves & Hawkes, which has until now only produced menswear. According to G&H head of design Frederik Willems, the Preen garments were built off menswear blocks and reworked to female-friendly specs. Preen is planning to feature six to eight of the collaborative pieces (like the preview sketch, left) at tomorrow’s show, accessorized with the womanliest of womenswear: Nicholas Kirkwood shoes.