Recalling 1939 for Davies & Son of Savile Row
I have just contributed to the website of Davies & Son, which has been trading as a bespoke tailor since 1803. Alan Bennett leads the team at 38 Savile Row and recently welcomed back Patrick Murphy to the cutting table. Pat did his training at the firm way back when.
For my piece I looked back at copies of The Tailor & Cutter from the months preceding the start of the Second World War in September 1939. There was a strange air of “business as usual” about the editorial and especially the covers, which each week proposed a latest outfit for the tailoring readers to offer their customers. Of the selection I featured, the one cover featuring an advertisement, for a Dublin-based dealer in hand-woven Irish tweed, is my favourite. What lovely illustrations they are.
I also included a few pages from a London Arts Fashion supplement from The T&C – essentially a catalogue of new or supposedly new styles. Above are a couple of images not used for my Davies & Sons piece. The hiking outfit looks so odd – a shirt and tie worn with shorts. On the tailored suits page, note that the model on the right is the spitting image of Tory politician Anthony Eden, who was regarded as one of the best-dressed men of the period. His political enemies thought he was too smart (sartorially) for his own good.
During the war, Eden was Foreign Secretary in Churchill’s War Cabinet. His career ended dismally in 1955-57 when he was prime minister during the Suez Crisis. But at least he was a well-dressed failure.
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