Savile Row’s Finest Sound Off On Shoes At Bespoke Exhibit in DC

Last night in Washington, D.C. the smart set gathered to celebrate ‘Savile Row Bespoke and America: A Sartorial Special Relationship’ – an ode to the transatlantic mutual admiration society that exists between England’s finest tailors and American icons of style.

The exhibit was curated by London writer and fashion journalist Nick Foulkes. British Ambassador to the U.S., Sir Peter Westmacott, who called it “a celebration of British-ness and what we do best,” turned over his residence’s grand ground floor to Foulkes, who covered it top to toe in suits worn by everyone from Michael Jackson to Buffalo Bill and Gregory Peck, whose son Anthony was on hand to highlight his father’s special relationship with the house of Huntsman. “My dad would pick me up from school wearing a suit from them and driving a Bentley,” he said of his father, a quintessential leading man during cinema’s silver screen era.

Savile Row Bespoke and America Exhibit
A mannequin on display wearing Manolo Blahnik dress shoes.
CREDIT: Greg Kahn.

Speaking of toes, Foulkes chose multiple pairs of Manolo Blahnik brogues, wingtips and kiltie loafers from the designer’s new men’s collection for fall ’15.  They were well paired with suiting from the likes of Gieves & Hawkes, Henry Poole, Dege & Skinner, Alexander McQueen and Davies & Swon among others. Houses were also commissioned to create new driving jackets in collaboration with event sponsor Bentley. Poole’s particularly striking take by dashing Master Cutter Craig Featherstone, who was on hand, featured suede elbow patches by Alcantara, which often line the interior of the British luxury automobiles.

“This really is a celebration between the partnership that has been formed between some of the world’s best dressed and those responsible for taking care of them,” said Pierre Lagrange, Chairman of The Savile Row Bespoke Association and owner of Huntsman, who spearheaded the exhibit and enlisted Foulkes. He also used the trip across the pond to announce plans to open the first Huntsman store off The Row this fall, in New York City. “We don’t currently do our own shoes, but with our signature deerskin, it’s something worth looking at,” he told FN.

Savile Row Bespoke and America Exhibit
A mannequin on display wearing Manolo Blahnik sude brogues.
CREDIT: Greg Kahn.

For his part, Foulkes impressed the importance of British tailoring now more than ever. “It continues to be the archetype for menswear for a reason,” he noted, adding that for him, a custom suit demands equally bespoke footwear.

Foulkes cited cobbler George Cleverley as a favorite and offered the following top five tips for men looking to follow in his stylish footsteps: “Quality is number one, quality is number two, quality is number three, quality is number four and quality is number five. It’s as simple as that,” he said, calling to mind the same sentiment Ambassador Westmacott shared by quoting Winston Churchill. “My tastes are simple. I am easily satisfied with the best.”

Savile Row Bespoke and America Exhibit
Michael Jackson’s stage regalia by Gieves & Hawkes with Florsheim loafers.
CREDIT: Greg Kahn.
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