Friday, 1 October 2010
Fri 1st Oct: Alex James at Timothy Everest
Chrissie Abbott and I were lucky enough to have a tour round Timothy Everest tailors in a quiet little hidden enclave to the side of Spitalfields. The epicentre of Everest's operation runs out of an 18th century town house that once belonged to Bloomsbury artist Mark Gertler. Timothy has restored the residency into a delectable destination for the most discerning dandy. If you duck down like Craig Schwartz in Being John Malkovich you can descend the low ceiling stairs into the basement of alphabetised bespoke blocks. Here are hand drafted patterns for the likes of The Prime Minister, Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Jazy-Z, Mick Jagger, Jarvis Cocker, James McAvoy, Colin Radcliffe, Casey Spooner and Alex James for who we came to visit.
Timothy Everest invited Central St.Martins textile students to invent a woollen weave that would work in both town and country for him to construct a special suit to subvert traditional tailoring. Winning participant Lauren Chiu engineered her tweed with a muse in mind and that man was Alex James. She wanted to modernise convention by taking inspiration from an urban customer that had retreated to a rural life - "The Dandy Farmer". When the competition was closed, Timothy considered contacting James to see if he would be interested in wearing the hypothetical suit. In accordance to his generous nature, James obliged. Infact, as we found out during our interview, he was spectacularly tickled pink and flattered to have been picked. To conclude the project Alex left his country retreat and held court in Timothy's house for press to visit and taste his "Blue Monday" cheese.
Each room of the establishment is colour coded with a red haired Annika Caswell residing in the red room where she hand sews the unique jackets. Here she is demonstrating the silk/cashmere mix panels being basted to a canvas understructure, and eased into perfect position. I was blown away at the methodical process the pieces undergo in the hands of this expert team of craftsmen. Apparently the motion of manoeuvres is akin to choreography and Annika loses herself in the instinctive flow of formulae. The sewing machine is scarcely used to seam the suits and instead a heavy iron steams and moulds this second skin. The roll of the lapel swirls in two conflicting directions after careful manipulation and rows upon rows of tacks, teaching the grain to stay that way. A sum has been equated that at least 10 of Everest's employees would have had part in making just one Made to Measure suit - that's not even the bespoke!
Up one floor from the red room is the green room where we opened the door and found Alex James sitting in his brand spanking new green suit. You can sense that the former "casual" has found accustomed appreciation for wearing a "suit of armour". He told us how he likes to wear a suit any day of the week and that it gives him a shield of protection and feeling of concealing comfort. The 3 piece set looked immaculate on his classic English elongated stature and this exuded immaculate confidence in the way he moved. I won't give away any more details as we have the interview on tape which will be edited and brought to you shortly - a film first for the fredbutlerstyle blog! All I will say is that he is every bit the humble and humorous gent you would wish him to be and restored our faith in GENTLE MEN.
To check out Timothy's blog, click here.