Vivat Savile Row 2011

Dear Rowley,

If I had to pick a day to remember for the rest of my life, it would be yesterday. In the morning, the word came through from the Savoy that we have all agreed terms and I can get to work improving the Signature Suites and planning a Royal Wedding display for the Savoy Museum. The Queen and Prince Philip made their first public appearance together at the Savoy days before they announced their engagement in 1947. We have the photographs to prove it. Oh darling, just seen on the news that Kew Gardens is opening a new display of exotic tropical flowers. I must email Keith at Henry Poole and we can arrange an away day. We have one in March to Windsor Castle to search for a photograph of King Edward VII when Prince of Wales wearing the prototype dinner jacket as tailored by Poole’s in 1865.

Anyway, where was I? Yesterday, I went to Anderson & Sheppard to be measured up for a suit to wear for the BBC coverage of the Royal Wedding. Rumour has it Huw Edwards, the main anchor, has been to see Mr Hitchcock as well as has the Prince of Wales’s valet. It’s all very exciting. Gieves lost no time issuing a flurry of press releases about their tailoring an RAF uniform for Prince William to wear on the day. The Palace declined to comment. Wouldn’t it serve them right if he went instead to Dege & Skinner who have made terrific uniforms for both Princes in the past? You know that new portrait of the Princes William and Harry in the National Portrait Gallery? Both tailored by Dege. Hurrah!

Wel; darling, I now know who is making Mrs Middleton’s outfit for the nuptials and have a pretty good idea who is dressing Kate. It’s such fun feeling the buzz on the Row about the Royal Wedding and trying to chivvy-out as much information as possible from the morass of rumour. So what am I wearing on the day? I’ve ordered a magnificent one-button 10 ounce inky blue herringbone dinner jacket with waistcoat for the evening broadcast from Anderson & Sheppard and Huntsman are going to make me something super discreet for the day broadcast. Brett has offered a couple of stiff ones at the Savoy when it is all over so what’s not to like?

So, I was measured-up in the cutting room, had a cuppa with Leon in the basement then joined Anda and James to ponder some cloths for a future Anderson & Sheppard project. How lucky am I to be able to spend time in the company of these passionate people who support the craft of Savile Row bespoke tailoring? I even had a chance to go down to the workrooms to meet a lady who is we all know the finest finisher on the Row. She showed me some fancy waistcoats going through for one of the Middle Eastern Royal households to wear to the wedding. Apparently, Her Majesty does not object to coloured waistcoats with black morning coats but likes to see the morning tails buttoned-up at all times.

I understand the Queen notices everything. I recall one of the BBC girls at Royal Ascot was wearing a mini dress on the Royal Enclosure lawn below the Royal box. A steward walked straight towards her and said she was in Her Majesty’s eye line and had to leave. It’s all terribly interesting, isn’t it, how much we’d all like to know about the Queen and how little we all do. It must stay this way. The mystique is the monarchy.

After my fitting, Anda and I decamped to two chairs at the bar at Wilton’s for a £45-er: three courses of bliss with a glass of wine/Champagne to compliment. I had half a dozen oysters (natch), beef from the trolley and scads of lovely wines and Champagne. Spotted at Wilton’s were Lapo Elkann the glamorous heir to the Fiat fortune, Lord Linley and a couple of Dukes. We then decamped to Anderson & Sheppard because Adrian Gill was popping in for a fitting for checked tweeds that he has designed himself and had woven by Fox Flannel.

Anda showed me the proofs for her new book about Anderson & Sheppard in association with Vanity Fair. It is going to be delicious, delightful, delovely as Cole Porter would have it…frequently. I also saw a book about the Italian tailor Rubinacci that is retailing for £100. What’s wrong with this picture? Makes you weep doesn’t it? But, at least Savile Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke has sold out wholesale and is going into another imprint. Let’s hope the royalties reflect all the graft and passion it took to put together. As you well know Rowley, it never does, does it darling? But that’s not what we do it for. I wouldn’t say we do it all for love, but I think we do an awful lot for a ‘well done’.

The party pic was taken at Louisa McCarthy’s birthday party. She has a terribly interesting family. Think Helen Mirren and Bob Hoskins in The Long Good Friday and you’re about right. I had a fascinating conversation with one of the most glamorous women I have ever met. She was draped in a fox fur stole, had the bone structure of Margot Fonteyn and was wearing some very nice diamonds. Goodness, what lovely diamonds says I. Goodness, says she, had nothing to do with it.