Huntsman in Savile Row
A line of communication has now fully opened up between Tweed Towers and the Savile Row tailoring establishment of Huntsman (1849). Huntsman has the number of the red telephone at Tweed Towers and it has been ringing non-stop. Gratitude being the lively expectation of favours yet to come — as François de La Rochefoucauld would have it — I'm extremely grateful.
What can I tell you? Quite a lot as it happens. Not wishing to overstimulate you, I'm going to feed the gen out in dribs.
Let's talk about their famous shop on Savile Row first of all, which has been refurbished with what we might call a fresh yet traditional look. The interior is light and airy, but with the elements you might expect in a tailor's shop — Huntsman in particular — with the wood, the leather, the bolts of cloth, the stag's heads and the saddles.
So far, so reassuring — a contemporary take on the Huntsman tradition. But Huntsman is moving forward with some nice new touches. The cutting area is in the centre of the shop with cutters at hand ready to advise, and there is a bar at the back stocked with fine wines to lubricate the decision-making process.
Huntsman has also introduced art works to the space that speak of the industry, like the delightful Bespoke Merino of Savile Row (below) made by artist Joy Pitts from Huntsman labels and dressmaker pins.
Walking in to the shop you can understand the company has a history, but it's not shut in the past. (Why are you looking at me?) It whispers good service, that they are going to take good care with your inside leg measurement.
Window on the Tweed
Huntsman releases a new range of tweeds in February next year. I hope to be able to keep you informed of that. Meanwhile, the current shop window display represents country and shooting styles of jackets and trousers constructed from in-house tweeds produced over the last ten years.
Huntsman is justifiably famous for the recognisably big and bold windowpane house checks used in its tweeds. Knowledgeable Huntsman fans can recognise them when they see them. All tweeds are produced in limited quantities and collected with a fervour by some — Gregory Peck for one, of which more later. As expected, the checks are always matched perfectly across chest and sleeve (see below). Three to four colourways tend to be used with each design. The tailoring team draw on Huntsman's archive and customer preferences to feed back to a small mill on the Inner Hebrides that produces their tweed.
The tweed is generally produced at a 15/16oz weight. Being a small and experienced outfit, the mill is agile enough to offer lighter or heavier weight fabrics; and can also accommodate a bespoke tweed-making service for Huntsman's customers, producing a single tweed in a half-piece (of 30m) should there be such a requirement.
The team at Huntsman will take the tweed and through a skilled and laborious process, with over 80 hours of workmanship, produce a suit which will last its owner more than one lifetime.
More on Huntsman to follow, gents. If you are interested, do stay tuned.