Eric Musgrave

“Just ask Eric”

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Kathryn Sargent opens on Savile Row

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

It was a delight to see my friend (and my occasional bespoke tailor) Kathryn Sargent open a shop on Savile Row last week. After working for 15 years at Gieves & Hawkes at No 1 Savile Row, where she became the first female head cutter in the bespoke industry, she bravely headed out on her own at the beginning of 2012. add473

Kathryn Sargent Bespoke, as I expected, has been a great success. She started out renting a space within Meyer & Mortimer in Sackville Street, where she was when I profiled her for Christopher Ward Watches magazine and for billionaire.com in 2012.

add29Kathryn Sargent, first Female Master Tailor to open own store on Savile Row

She progressed to her own really lovely atelier not far away on Brook Street, just off Bond Street, where her own excellent personal style is reflected in the fittings and ambiance.

Now she has this brilliant space at 37 Savile Row. It is officially a “seasonal store” – which is more commonly called a pop-up shop in fashion circles – but it is to be hoped the landlord is smart enough to offer Kathryn a deal to keep her there permanently.

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Savile Row needs more proper bespoke tailors as opposed to over-priced ready-to-wear designer stores. Kathryn Sargent is a brilliant example of the exceptional artisanship that Savile Row produces.  Kathryn Sargent Ph Cr. Jonathan HordleREX

In the amazing amount of publicity the opening has stimulated, much as been made of the fact that Kathryn is the first woman to have a bespoke tailoring business on Savile Row. She merely stresses that she is a master tailor – and that is the most important part of the story for her. But it is good to see plenty more women coming to the fore on Savile Row; four of the past six winners of the prestigious Golden Shears biennial competition for apprentices and young tailors have been women. Kathryn is a past winner too, of course.

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The Kathryn Sargent shop at 37 Savile Row is a personal triumph for nearly 20 years of incredibly hard work and dedication from the lass from Leeds. I am thrilled for my lovely pal.

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The Holdall & Co interview

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

I have been in touch with Raimonda Navickaite, the founder of Made-in-England leathergoods company Holdall & Co, for more than three years. I have been impressed by her attention to quality and detail, and by her desire to produce nice practical things.

Recently I was delighted to take part in her series of “Everyday Carry with…” interviews with fashion folk. The venue was my Soho club, The Union. My contribution can be found here or if your prefer a video, here.

Keep up the good work, Rai! (And thanks to Jonathan for the filming).

 

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A fresh eye on Silhouette Journal

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Way back on November 19 I had a jolly time being photographed in London for Silhouette Journal, the rather impressive publication produced on behalf of the Austrian eyewear brand Silhouette, with which I have a very happy relationship. The idea was to have me talk about my personal style, so I was not lost for words. I decided to wear the three-piece bespoke outfit made for me by Kathryn Sargent, which remains a strong favourite in my wardrobe, plus my bespoke cotton-cashmere shirt from Emma Willis and various accessories from Drake’s.

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The venue for the shoot was The Union, my lovely club at 50 Greek Street, Soho, where I have been a member for 20 years or so. Predictably enough, its quirky charms entranced the engaging team from Condé Nast in Munich that produces Silhouette Journal.

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The man behind the camera was Ben Mostyn, who did a fine job of shooting me inside and out The Union. My thanks go to Silhouette UK CEO David Chalmers, who got me involved with the brand a few years ago. Hopefully next time I’ll make the cover of the magazine. The latest edition is now available.

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How to put on a fashion show

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

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The role of the fashion show is much discussed at present within the industry. But whether it is a marketing event or a sales exercise or an ego trip for the designer, it is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Anyone wishing to stage a catwalk extravaganza could do worse than read my book from 2014, How To Put On A Fashion Show, which is published by Batsford at £9.99.

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Among the practical tips we have sprinkled more than 250 illustrations, including a few glamorous images from celebrated shows, as illustrated here.

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My former Sportswear International colleague, stylist William Gilchrist, pops up on p. 142 alongside designer Oliver Spencer. It’s always gratifying to involve pals in work like this (although I didn’t pick the pix!)

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My most important tip across the 160-page book? Keep any show short and sweet!

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Jigsaw’s fresh take on linen

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Linen is one of my favourite fabrics so I was pleased to be commissioned to write a feature on Jigsaw’s new approach to linen for its latest Style&Truth magazine.

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For part of its spring-summer range Jigsaw went to Northern Ireland-based linen specialist Baird McNutt and asked the experts to dye up three shades of fabric following the artisanal methods favoured by NYC-based artist Audrey Louise Reynolds. I can’t wait to see these special products in store.

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Style&Truth is a handsome 94-page production edited by my former Drapers colleague Ana Santi. It is distributed for free through Jigsaw’s stores but not all copies have a sample of the linen affixed to the page as my version does.

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Hi-tech rainwear in How To Spend It

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

The synthesis between performance fabrics and fashion is picking up pace. In the March 12 issue of How To Spend It, the Financial Times’ luxury supplement, I looked at some examples of how this theme is being seen in menswear rainwear this spring.

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My linen suit from Magee 1866

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

After the great success of my tweed three-piece suit from Magee 1866, my lovely friends in Donegal Town followed it up with a made-to-measure linen version, again using their own excellent cloth.

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This time I went for a small and neat multicoloured check centred around green (very Irish!) and blue. 34

The lightweight cloth is just under 10oz (280 grms) and features a few slubs that give it some surface interest. I am here in a John Smedley polo, my Harris Tweed cap from Fred Neiddu at Timothy Everest, suede boots from Swift & Co, a vintage silk hank and Silhouette sunglasses.

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Given the relatively fancy pattern, we kept the style of the MTM suit very clean and simple, but, of course, a made-to-measure suit deserves a waistcoat (or vest, in tailoring parlance). I dressed it down here with a grey cotton shirt from Woolrich and a vintage silk cravat.

Despite the poor weather since I received the suit in November, I have given it a few run-outs and have had lots of compliments for it, including from a woman on the London Underground who wordlessly indicated the suit with a wave of her finger and gave me a thumb’s-up. The retail price of a linen three-piece made-to-measure suit from Magee 1866 is around £900. I am going to enjoy wearing this often when/if it ever stops raining.

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My tweed suit from Magee 1866

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

This year the Irish weaver and clothing company Magee celebrates its 150th anniversary. Based in Donegal Town, County Donegal on the west coast of Ireland, the business – now styling itself Magee 1866 – has been controlled by the Temple family for more than 100 years.IMG_2629

One of my favourite suits is the three-piece made-to-measure tweed suit that Patrick Temple (a fourth-generation cloth enthusiast) organised for me, ably assisted by Jennifer McClay in the Personal Tailoring office in Donegal.

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Remarkably enough, we did all the measurements and ordering via email. Jennifer sent me a nice selection of cloths and linings and I went – predictably enough – for the boldest in each category.  IMG_2632

The joy of made-to-measure is getting a basic pattern slightly tweaked to fit one’s measurements. I love the pattern, colour and texture of the Magee-woven tweed, which weighs in at a cosy 500gms (17.6 ounces). It’s what I call a proper cloth and one best suited to a decidedly cool day.

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The multicoloured windowpane check and the grey ground allows lots of play with pattern and textures. In these pictures I am wearing a Drake’s cotton shirt and a Drake’s cashmere tie. The retail price for the suit is around £840. Highly recommended.

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Harris Tweed coats for one man and his dog

Monday, February 1st, 2016

In search of a new winter coat, I decided it was time for something in Harris Tweed. As it turned out, my dog Jimmy the lurcher got a new coat to match mine too, courtesy of bespoke tailor Timothy Everest and the talented team at his atelier in Elder Street, Spitalfields. IMG_1380

Tim and I have long been mates and I was pleased he wrote the foreword to the second edition of Sharp Suits. Handling the design and cutting for my bespoke jacket was Fred Neiddu, who had created my grey flannel suit when working at Meyer & Mortimer on Sackville Street.

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For this project we devised a hybrid of a jacket and coat, taking elements from a trad country field coat and the bellows pockets from a 1960 combat jacket of mine. One of the joys of bespoke tailoring is creating something unique.

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We were using a bottle green Harris Tweed from the Harris Tweed Hebrides mill as the main cloth, augmented by a lichen-coloured version that would be used for highlights, such as the under collar and the underflaps and vents of the bellows pockets. I had visited the mill in 2012, so I was particularly pleased get some of the excellent cloth at long last, courtesy of creative director Mark Hogarth.

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It is hard to exaggerate just how much work goes on in a bespoke jacket that is not seen in the finished item, but a lot of it was on show at the first fitting stage.

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Tim popped in to check on progress. I was very pleased with how this garment developed. Comfortable, practical, really warm and unique. With the yellowy Harris Tweed left over Fred made me a cap. With the rest he was going to make me a vest, but I decided instead that Jimmy the lurcher should have a matching coat. Like mine, Jimmy’s was made by Annika Caswell, expert coat maker at Timothy Everest, who put an amazing amount of love and attention to this unusual order – just look at the quilted lining.

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In town or in country, Jimmy and I make a smart couple, even if I say so myself.

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Tartan trews for eveningwear

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

These tartan trews are my current favourite option for eveningwear.   Tartan trews i

Made-to-measure for me by my pal Grant Mitchell at Cooper & Mackenzie in Dundee, they are cut in what’s known as Formal Argyll Styling. We did all the measurements over email. (Other options from this excellent menswear independent include Standard Waist for more relaxed occasions, Fishtail and Military styles, not to mention tartan breeks for retro-golfers).

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The tartan is a Mitchell Old Colour pattern, in an 11.5oz 100% pure new wool supplied by Strathmore in Forfar. (The cloth merchant has about 400 tartan patterns on offer if you don’t like this one, which is also very close to both the Russell and Galbraith tartans).

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Advised by the knowledgeable and dapper Mr Mitchell, I went for one of his leather belts and an appropriately Caledonian buckle. The made-to-measure trews cost £199, the belt and buckle £25 each.

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I have given the trews several runouts at black-tie events, wearing them with my DB jacket from Gieves & Hawkes. I am pleased to be inspiring the younger generation in the ways of the plaid trousers, as seen here on my former Drapers colleague Luke Todd.

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