Question Time

Somi Arian interviews our Head Cutter Ben Clarke in the Bespoke store for a film she is making for the Savile Row Bespoke Association about the craft of bespoke tailoring.

Somi’s considered, polished probing and calm demeanour are somewhat in contrast to her not-so-long-ago performances as the vocalist in the lively heavy metal band Mortad (bottom, right).

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailoring

Somi Arian Mortad

In The Picture

Our wall of covers and cuttings has moved to a new position on the first floor of the all-new, multifaceted and multi-storey Richard James Bespoke store, which will be opening on Monday 4th September.

That’s Nick Cave and Elton John in GQ, Liam Gallagher in Vogue, Jarvis Cocker in Elle, Pete Doherty in Esquire and Hugh Grant on the cover of Vanity Fair. And all of them in Richard James.

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailor

The Responsive Eye

As a young filmmaker, long before the delights of Dressed to Kill, Scarface and, more recently, Mission Impossible, Brian De Palma made documentaries.

One, notably, was The Responsive Eye (right, dubbed into Spanish…), which looked at the groundbreaking exhibition of the same name that was held at The Museum of Modern Art in 1965.

De Palma’s film was something we looked at quite closely when we were putting together our new AW17 Camofleur collection, which takes inspiration from the work of the celebrated razzle dazzle camofleur Norman Wilkinson and the Op Art movement of the sixties and early seventies that his engagingly geometric work went on to influence.

According to the author and curator Marina Weinhart, The Responsive Eye exhibition – which featured 123 works by such artists as Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley and Josef Albers – represented “the height of the Op Art wave”.

And by way of defining Op Art, the exhibition’s curator William C Seitz said of it at the time: “These works exist less as objects to be examined than as generators of perceptual responses, of colors and relationships existing solely in vision. They exert a control over perception capable of arousing delight, anxiety and even vertigo.”

Designed to induce delight more than anxiety and vertigo, you can see a strong Op Art influence and something of Norman Wilkinson’s razzle dazzle camouflage in certain of our new-season shirts, ties, pocket squares and scarves.

Richard James AW17 Camofleur collection

Richard James AW17 Camofleur collection

Richard James AW17 Camofleur collection

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

Reel Inspiration – All The President’s Men

Willing Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) get wind of a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building and doggedly set out to discover how a $25,000 cheque earmarked for the campaign to re-elect President Nixon got into the bank account of one of the burglars,  so becoming bywords for the best sort of investigative journalism in the process.

Alan Pakula’s shadily atmospheric and somewhat prescient All The President’s Men (1976, trailer bottom right) is a perfect pre-post-truth era paean to the pros of a free press.

Spot on stylistically, the newsroom set was a direct recreation of that at the Post and Woodward and Bernstein’s artfully and authentically rumpled old-school journalists’ wardrobe was put together by first-timer Jason Pollack, who went on to become Redford’s regular costume designer. Unconvincingly knotted ties and classic Bengal stripe, flannel and Oxford cotton shirts abound.

New AW17 shirts, right, top to bottom: blue classic Bengal stripe, grey fine flannel twill and lavender brushed Oxford cotton.

All The President's Men

Richard James shirt

All The President's Men

Richard James shirt

All The President's Men

Richard James shirt

On Location

One day’s shooting in and around Waddington Studios in a murky north London for sixty seconds of film.

The videos for our collections usually centre on our London Fashion Week Men’s shows and presentations, but for our AW17 Camofleur collection we took a different approach.

This time around we shot the video (right, bottom) at the same time that we shot the lookbook, whisking our three models out into the surrounding locale between takes.

The collection is arriving in-store on Savile Row and at Richard James Online now.

Richard James AW17 Camofleur video

Richard James AW17 Camofleur video

Richard James AW17 Camofleur video

The Sound Of Richard James – 31st July 2017

In A Dream by Cornelius.


Change Ahead

A fine and altogether suitable slate grey 16oz English-woven herringbone wool covers the walls of the first floor changing room in the new, soon-to-be-unveiled multi-storey Richard James Bespoke store on Clifford Street.

Another super job by our lighting, interiors and all-round display whizz Philip Oakley of, yes, that’s right, Philip Oakley Illuminations.

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailor

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailor

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

Button Up

Here’s our untypically casually attired head cutter Ben buttoning (adding the buttons to…) the five identical-in-all-but-size bespoke wedding suits that he’s been making for the groom and his wife to be’s four children, who are aged from ten to seventeen.

Pictured are the groom’s and, at the top, the very much smaller youngest child’s suit.

The suits, which are being collected today from Richard James Bespoke, are cut from a lightweight English-milled wool fresco cloth and will be worn with the classic Italian-milled silk satin ties (we won’t disclose the colour) that are made for us at one of the Pope’s chosen mills in Como.

Our very best wishes for the big day go to all.

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailor

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailoring

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailoring

Richard James Bespoke Savile Row tailoring

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