Savile Row is not old-fashioned or nostalgic. It merely recognises that bespoke clients expect service as immaculate as their suits. Henry Poole & Co prides itself on giving a warm welcome to all its customers. Cutters on Savile Row may be as highly prized as surgeons but it is the customer’s requirement that always takes precedence.
The word bespoke is derived from the verb to bespeak, to “speak for something”, in the specialised meaning “to give order for it to be made” or commission, first cited from 1583 by the OED, with the adjective in its alternative form “bespoken” first quoted from 1607 in this sense. In tailoring terms, a bespoke garment means one designed from a blank canvas, which is to say, the client. At Henry Poole, each new client is a fresh and unique canvas to us. The new client will have his own individual pattern stored on premises at our headquarters on Savile Row, in Mayfair, where our tailors make all the bespoke items we create..
Throughout this bespoke process, the cutter will work with the client’s waistcoat maker, coat maker and trouser maker, adjusting the pattern at the various stages of the tailoring process, thus creating the perfect paper pattern.
The bespoke service, as the phrase implies, may be slightly different for each cutter and his client, depending on the client’s requirements and the desired garment, from tailored suits to court dress formal wear. From inception through completion, however, each bespoke garment goes through set phases, each of which centers on personal choice and hand work. First comes pattern cutting. Once done and except as later modified to account for changes in physique, the client’s pattern remains a constant. Next comes cloth selection; the client’s requirements are discussed, options are considered, and the cloth is selected for cloth cutting. Next comes the trim, where the suit is given its classic Henry Poole silhouette. The task of ‘putting together’ is assigned to the particular highly skilled tailor who will be assigned to all the particular client’s garments thenceforth; during that stage, the garment is canvassed by hand for the next step: the first fitting. After the fitting is concluded, comes the ‘marking up’: the garment is taken apart, re-cut and given back to the tailor to be prepared for the second fitting. The final stage of the bespoke tailoring process is the application of hand finishing to the inside and outside—before the imperative final fitting, during which any last, minor adjustments are made, concluding the process.