Gieves & Hawkes’ creative director tells Ian Wright how he is building a fresh house style at the Savile Row tailor.
Autumn 12 was the first collection you were responsible for. How have you moved the brand along?
It’s centred around two things: developing casualwear and defining the brand identity. We obsessively developed and researched the exclusive cloths, the detailing of each garment and ensured the fit creates the correct silhouette. These all come together to create a house style. I want our garments to be recognisable by their detailing and quality instead of a logo or label.
What was the reaction from buyers and press to the collection?
At first it was met with a little hesitancy, as I suppose anything that is new is. However, once they had seen the whole collection and understood what was in the range, we’ve had a lot of really positive feedback.
What parts of the Gieves & Hawkes autumn 12 collection are you most excited about?
It’s difficult to choose. I love the whole collection - it’s a great range of iconic pieces. But I think the tie collection is closest to my heart. We’ve been really inspired by the work of interior designer David Hicks in the 1960s. Because of this we’ve been able to play with lots of bold geometric and graphic designs in odd colours. Quite often the more unexpected variations in colour are the most successful.
What’s your one favourite detail from the autumn 12 collection?
I’m really pleased with the engraved horn buttons. They have a rope motif which follows the edge of the button. It’s a small touch but has given a lot of identity to the collection.
How important is London Fashion Week to Gieves & Hawkes?
It’s a vital platform for us to showcase the brand as a whole. We understand that being British is a fundamental element of our DNA and so to play a major part in a London-based event such as London Fashion Week is essential for us.
What sets Gieves & Hawkes apart on Savile Row?
We are the only company on the Row to have hosted Dr David Livingstone’s dead body. That was in 1873, when the building was owned by the Royal Geographical Society. Some people think he has never completely left the building.
What would ‘dress-down Friday’ at Gieves & Hawkes look like?
A combination of David Hockney in his washed-out light blue sweatshirt and Mick Jagger with his fisherman’s crewneck and a button-down shirt.
What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve bought but never worn?
I bought a ton of Raf Simons prototypes from a clearance Sale that I’ll never wear.
And finally, who would play you in the movie of your life?
Meryl Streep. She’s very versatile.