The Archive Rail

Our lighting, display and all-round interiors whizz Philip Oakley – yes, he of Philip Oakley Illuminations – is steering a smooth course towards an on-schedule early September opening for the new, very smartly refurbished multi-storey Richard James Bespoke store.

Here, in the first floor fitting room, is a glimpse of what we have taken to calling the archive rail, which is where we will be displaying some truly individual pieces of bespoke Savile Row tailoring.

On the left you can see two patchwork cashmere jackets that we made in 2013. To ensure that the jackets hang and drape perfectly, the cloths used were of the same 13oz weight and the patches were all the same size. Some thirty-five man hours goes into making a bespoke Richard James jacket, but each of these took about four times as long.

Two particularly exacting pieces of bespoke Savile Row tailoring.

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailor


The Camofleur Collection Is Here!

Here’s the striking image and, below, the traditionally overwritten, highly alliterative explanatory theme for our new AW17 Camofleur collection, which is in-store and online now!

Fresh, new-season suits, jackets, shirts, accessories… And more to come!

“I would not have believed I could have been so deceived.”
King George V on visiting the Dazzle Section at The Royal Academy of Arts, 1917.

Our AW17 Camofleur collection starts its surreptitious journey just a short step from Savile Row in a covert corner of the neighbouring Royal Academy of Arts, where it squints, scratches its head and stands in awe before the astonishing, jarringly geometric work of camofleur Norman Wilkinson’s top-secret Dazzle Section.

Winning wonk Wilkinson worked as an unassuming seascape artist and illustrator before he was struck by razzle dazzle, his bold, acutely conspicuous form of anti-camouflage, the cunning if chancy concept of which was to confuse and confound more than conceal.

His radical ruse was used to protect Allied shipping and went on to influence a raft of artists, not least those of the intriguingly illusionary Op Art movement of the Sixties and early Seventies, who found a welcome home for their work hard by Wilkinson’s erstwhile workstation at the Royal Academy in the galleries of Cork Street.

This is a sharp, standout collection that celebrates an original, buoyantly befuddling British innovation and the extraordinary art it impacted on.

Base colours of soft grey, charcoal, taupe, caramel, chocolate and mushroom, pointedly punctured by accents of ochre, orange, burgundy and lucid blues, sweep through tailoring and knitwear like surely shrouded ships on a quiescent sea.

Graphic, zigzagging Op Art prints give a pressing presence to big ribbed and hand intarsia cashmere knits, silk and cashmere scarves and silk pocket squares.

Lightweight soft flannel lends warmth to relaxed, double-breasted tailoring and casualwear with velvet and corduroy adding depth and texture. Oversize herringbone overcoats clearly echo the strong lines of razzle dazzle design.

Come and join us on an eye-opening journey of optical obfuscation in the company of a noncomformist camofleur par excellence.

Richard James AW17 Camofleur collection


5 Ways To Wear

Richard Biedul deftly demonstrates 5 Ways to Wear our SS17 navy suede blouson.

Photography by Roger Rich and fashion direction by Jo Levin.

Richard James suede blouson

Richard James suede blouson

Richard James suede blouson

Richard James suede blouson

Richard James suede blouson

5 ways x Richard James


Snake Charmer

An immediately individual evening jacket awaits collection at Richard James Bespoke.

Cut from a light, 10oz blue snakeskin wool from Holland & Sherry that will shine (if not slither) under lights, this jacket was a full thirty-nine hours in the making. Evening jackets do take a little longer to make than everyday jackets, but this one was particularly tricky as the intricate pattern and very slight check in the fabric (which you might just be able to make out) had to be perfectly mirror imaged, or aligned, from the body through the sleeves.

And then there was the work that went into the invisible darts through the front and side body, which give the jacket its markedly clear shape and presence.

A plush finishing touch is given by the black silk satin, which features on the facing of the shawl collar (top picture), the turn back cuffs (middle), the jettings on the pockets (bottom) and the buttons (top and middle).

As we have said before, the client is never not encouraged to express himself (or herself, for that matter) at Richard James Bespoke.

Richard James Bespoke jacket

Richard James Bespoke jacket


Richard James Bespoke jacket


You And Your Richard James

More of you looking the part in your Richard James on Instagram.

A bit of a North American feel to proceedings this time around with Andy Halseth (@oxfordandocean) of Venice, California striking a fine pose in one of our suits and Anne-Marie Elvin (@amo_elves)  putting up a picture taken in Troy, Ohio of a handsome friend in a perfectly summery pink Richard James jacket. And then, moving back to old London town, we have a very familiar looking Dame (@damienordame) wearing a double-breasted Prince of Wales check Richard James suit very well indeed.

Why not send us a picture of you and your Richard James or, better still, put one on Instagram?

Richard James suit

Richard James jacket

Richard James suit


Reel Inspiration – The Shining

Stymied scribbler and boozer in abeyance Jack Torrance (Jack Nichoslon), wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and all-seeing young son Danny (Danny Lloyd) in tow, turns caretaker at the out-of-season, echoingly empty Overlook Hotel in deepest snow-swept Colorado in an adventurous attempt to stay off the sauce and rediscover his powers of prose.

Alas, a quiet, gainful time is not had by all as Danny’s newly discovered psychic powers bring some bad and rather bloody doings past at the Overlook to light and Jack discovers the delights of the hotel bar (see the clip, bottom right), where all of his frustrations come to the fore…

The stand-out wardrobe piece in Stanley Kubrick’s genuinely scary The Shining (1980) is Jack’s very easy-wearing and perfect-for-every-eventuality corduroy blouson, which was actually a replica (or one of the eleven replicas that Kubrick had made for the film) of one of Nicholson’s own jackets.

The Shining on Richard James blog

The Shining on Richard James blog


Crystal Tips

Here’s the glittering, unashamedly outré gold jacket that Swarovski commissioned us to make using their celebrated crystals in 2007.

It’s another special piece from our archive, which we are currently having a good rummage through with our 25th anniversary in mind. Search #RichardJames25 on Instagram and Twitter to see some more special moments from our first quarter of a century on Savile Row.

Some 28,000 crystals went into the making of this jacket and it took two of our steady-handed, eagle-eyed finest eight days to apply them, exactingly, individually, one by one, with tweezers…

The job proved to be something of a dress rehearsal as in 2011 we worked with Swarovski to create the wardrobe for Sir Elton John’s The Million Dollar Piano shows at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

An incredible 1,700,000 Swarovski crystals went into that gear and, again, they were all applied by hand… We made fifteen suits, a number of shirts, some stand-out socks and a cape fit for the most courageous of crusaders. The cape alone weighed 22 kilos…

Another shining example of our work at Richard James Bespoke.

Richard James Savile Row Tailor

Richard James Savile Row Tailor


Suitably Warm

Mr Neil Clifford, looking spruce in another, distinct Richard James Bespoke jacket.

This example is a little different in that it is cut from a wool overcoating cloth that weighs a hefty 28 ounces and is most certainly keeping Mr Clifford a lot warmer than the average jacket. It also features a button ‘under the turn’ (of the lapel) making it particularly snug in cold weather (see the picture, top right).

Over the years we’ve been fortunate to create a number of unique pieces for Mr Clifford and he recently approached us with a request for something to wear in place of an overcoat to this week’s Goodwood Members’ Meeting, which he says is “always freezing”. Our cutter Chris Foster-Hicklin was intrigued by the idea and set about making the jacket from said overcoating and a pair of matching moleskin trousers.

It is interesting to note the small arrow marks drawn onto the fabric (bottom picture) which indicate the direction that the cloth is to be cut and sewn. The marks serve as a guide for both the cutter and the tailor (who pieces the suit together), ensuring that the nap of the fabric is even throughout the garment.

A cloth of this weight holds its shape very well and ultimately provides a clean and flattering fit, but cutting it does present a bit of a challenge.

Richard James Savile Row Tailor

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row Tailor


Tails Of A Special Suit

It is often said that the mark of a perfectly tailored suit lies in the details that you cannot see.

In which case, Mr Alan Gilbert’s suits are a testament to the finest of Savile Row tailoring. The Mr Gilbert we refer to is none other than the Director of the New York Philharmonic (pictured, top right, conducting said orchestra in a Richard James Bespoke suit), whose evening dress coat or ‘body coat’ (as our Cutter, Chris Foster-Hicklin calls it) is a truly unique and challenging garment to make.

Truly unique and challenging because no one moves around when wearing one of our bespoke suits quite like Mr Gilbert… After all, conducting one of the greatest symphony orchestras in the world does involve rather a lot of arm waving and pointing and body movement in general.

Shown here, we have Chris in the process of marking out the pattern for Mr Gilbert’s second Richard James Bespoke concert suit. He uses a very thin and robust mohair cloth, one that allows the moisture to wick away from the skin and accommodate the inevitable perspiration during a performance.

The second image (right, second picture) shows Chris making adjustments to the pattern of the front torso section of the dress coat.  As he works, Chris explains that the most vital requirement for a conductor’s dress coat is that it maintains its shape; despite the upper body movement, there should be no more than a gentle swish of the coat tails while Mr Gilbert conducts the orchestra.

This style of jacket was adapted from 18th century riding coats, the strongest similarity being the armholes, which are cut slightly forward compared to a standard suit jacket. A conductor’s stance varies with their personal style, but the modified armhole allows easier arm movement and prevents the jacket from cutting into the chest.

The third image (right, third picture) shows the marked out pattern for the sleeves with a couple of lines marked in blue chalk which indicate the right hand side. These separate markings indicate Mr Gilbert’s stance and body structure, considering whether he leans slightly forward on one side or if the drop of his shoulders are uneven. The extra markings around the pattern show excess or seam allowance, which will allow alterations to be made during the fitting process.

Excess also comes into use while sewing the coat tails; instead of being cut away (as per the norm) the extra cloth is folded inward, which adds structure and weight to the tails. The fourth and final image (bottom right) has many markings on it, but it is easy to identify the lapel and the front torso section of the jacket.

We look forward to seeing the completed suit soon.

Picture of Alan Gilbert by Chris Lee, courtesy of the New York Philharmonic.

Alan Gilbert New York Philharmonic

Richard James Savile Row Tailor

Richard James Savile Row Tailor

Richard James Savile Row Tailor


Meet Dandy Kim

Our new SS17 Dandy Kim collection is at the Savile Row store and Richard James Online now.

Fresh, new-season suits, jackets, shirts… And more coming soon.

Our Spring/Summer ‘17 collection snaps the brim of its toquilla straw hat down sharply and speeds across the shimmering, sun-slapped cyan sweep of the Straits of Florida to hedonistic ‘50s Havana in the company of the enchanting, exquisitely attired British gentleman adventurer and contrebandier Michael Dandy Kim Caborn-Waterfield

Richard James SS17 Dandy Kim collection

1 2 3 10