Another day another dollar…or not as in the case of Anda, Poppy and I being back in the party planning business putting together the Savile Row/Burlington Arcade cocktail party come Friday. I seriously think we should form All Girl Productions’: our motto? ‘no dough no show!’ Happy to report all the legit bespoke houses on the Row are stepping up to the plate with marvellous Open House events in the lead up to cocktails in the Arcade.
Hardy Amies has Champagne and tours of their marvellous archive for your delectation. Anderson & Sheppard is opening a speakeasy bar in one of the New Burlington Street dressing rooms at No 36. I’m cracking open the historic ledgers at Henry Poole & Co to show off orders made by Napoleon III, Dickens, Churchill (the Prime Minister not the nodding dog in the advert), Buffalo Bill Cody, Edward VII and the Empress of All The Russia.
Most exciting was a sneak preview of the Burlington Beadle livery tailored by Mr Levett, head of Poole’s Ceremonial Tailoring department, for head beadle Mr Lord. We also took deliver of his new mace. I tell you, Mr Lord will be singing Boy For Sale in a Mr Bumble fashion the minute he gets his kit on. Keith has done a magnificent job with the blue liveries trimmed with silver lace and bespoke monogrammed buttons. The badges are a miracle of handcrafted embroidery of which I took a snap for you.
You’ll have to wait until Friday when the Evening Standard has the exclusive first photograph of Mr Lord in his best bib and tucker before you see the whole thing. The waistcoats are a marvel: a burgundy colour as an echo of the 10th Hussars’ ‘Cherry picker’ overalls worn at the Charge of the Light Brigade. The Arcade employed ex-servicemen from the regiment as their original corps of beadles.
I don’t think it is elegant to blow one’s own trumpet. Much better to have others do it for you in my vast experience. However, I can tell you, darling, precisely how the liveries and the Burlington Arcade cocktail party came about. Apparently various other more fashionable tailors had been asked to submit designs for the Beadles’ liveries. I was told this by the Arcade’s then PR the Communications Group. Sticking my beak in as usual, I said the only house who had the legitimacy to tailor those liveries was Savile Row’s founding father Henry Poole and the only man up to the job my friend Keith Levett.
As for the party, you know it is in conjunction with the debut London Collections: Men, our first bi-annual men’s runway show season. The event was masterminded by GQ editor Dylan Jones who was told rather late in the day by the Savile Row powers to call the whole thing off. At this point Anda, Poppy and I were having our usual pint of Prosecco in Cecconi’s and had a ‘come on kids, let’s put on a show in the barn right here on the farm’ epiphany. Cecconi’s is opposite the Burlington Arcade North entrance hence the brainwave to co-host an event.
It didn’t take a huge leap to suggest a 4pm-6pm Open House event allowing the international press and British fashion industry to come and have a look at the showrooms and workrooms on the Row in advance of cocktails at the Arcade. Key new team member was Ellen Lewis who works with the Burlington Arcade’s investors. Whip smart Ellen knew Brett at the Savoy who gave us a pop up American Bar serving our Savile Row Collins and a Burlington Beadle plus a Maserati Bespoke snifter in honour of the sponsorship put together by Poppy and lovely, legendary Louisa at Neville McCarthy. Louisa is one of the prettiest women in Mayfair.
Miraculously the Woolmark – who have always been our friends and allies financing the various global London Cut exhibitions – found some shekel to support our event. Savile Row is always proud to stand up next to Woolmark and bang the drum for their latest campaign. This year we are championing Cool Wool: lightweight cloth as suitable for Detroit as Dubai. I believe Sheika Yourassa has ordered yards of the stuff to dress her personal bodyguard.
The British Fashion Council are putting all their considerable organisational skills behind the fashion guest list. It is lovely to expect the David Gandys and Lily Coles at the bash though I suspect the Savile Row houses would be much more honoured by the presence of Land Rover Design Director Gerry McGovern and the divine Mr Biffa. Handsome men in handsome suits is our business.
The icing on the cake for all of us was the participation of the Evening Standard as co-hosts for the event. Wouldn’t London be a duller place without Maurice Mullen? I had a cockeyed scheme to do a spot of subtle branding by lining Savile Row with old fashioned A-frame hoardings bearing the West End Final legend ‘Jolly Good Show Savile Row’. Maurice delivered. We received the posters at Anderson & Sheppard today and one is destined for a wall of Bloomsbury Towers after the event.
Speaking of which, news flash. Guy Hills and Kirsty McDougal won Textile Designer of the Year at the annual Scottish Fashion Awards. I believe it was a tie between Patrick and Sharleen Spitieri for Rear of the Year. Corrie Neilsen should, of course, be designer of the year but all of these things are political, no? Feet up in front of Agatha Christie’s Marple with a bottle of Valpoliparrot tonight methinks.