Like any proud European house, London’s Savile Row is known for its progeny: from thence have sprung H. Huntsman & Sons, Gieves & Hawkes, Chittleborough & Morgan, Henry Poole & Co., Davies & Son, and the rest of that lot. Yet the Row’s favorite son, and certainly its best-known, remains the two-centuries-old firm of Anderson & Sheppard, a concern which embodies, to the extent any organization can do a thing like that, the very soul of fine men’s tailoring. The house is responsible for what they call The London Cut today: a small, highly-placed armhole, which allows for a snug collar and generous sleeve movement, and which has found favor over the years with Laurence Olivier, Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire, Noel Coward, and His Royal Highness Charles, Prince of Wales.
The tailoring house has thrived these long years through adherence to two precepts: first, a suit should never wear a man – a man should wear a suit. And second, the instant a man is over-dressed, he becomes badly dressed. Turning dusty pages in the cracked, leather ledger in the store’s London office reveals scores more who agree: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., financier (and progenitor of Skull & Bones) Averill Harriman, and Charlie Chaplin, among others.
The tailors of Anderson & Sheppard and the history of their unique abilities are set forth in a new book, Anderson & Sheppard: A Style is Born, edited by Graydon Carter, of Vanity Fair. By way of preview, some of the photography from that book is presented here, below: