Photography by Roger Rich and fashion direction by Jo Levin.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Shown here is a marked out pattern for a sleeve, which our Head Cutter Ben Clarke is working on.
The challenge is to accommodate the client’s difficulty with shoulder movement which, he says, makes putting on a jacket quite awkward.
Rising to the occasion, Ben made a pattern to enable him to cut the sleeve ‘on the bias’ – going slightly against the grain of the cloth – as opposed to the standard way (the straighter markings for which can be faintly seen). The ‘bias cut’ sleeve will allow the fabric to stretch more, making it easier for the client to slip on the jacket.
It’s all about accommodating the individual at Richard James Bespoke.
Our 2017 Bespoke special offers are now available until the 4th of March.
Three natty men, each wearing Richard James in their own inimitable way.
Do send us photos of you wearing your Richard James or, even better, put them on Instagram!