Gents Sartorial Blog

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Anniversaries certainly do come around like buses or, more appropriately, Rolls-Royces when one is stood on the corner of Savile Row, Mayfair. A street steeped in history, heritage and enough flannel-clad fellows to change a Buckingham Palace lightbulb – we imagine those crystal chandeliers hang rather aloft, requiring a human tower six storeys high to perform the act. And, of course, Her Majesty wouldn’t be too pleased with her royal palace being overrun by leotard garbed gents, so they’d all be dressed in their Sunday finest. Obviously. But we digress.
The Row originally housed stables and servant’s quarters for the Burlington Estate, now the Royal Academy of Arts, at a time when London’s architectural makeup was a single stitch, now a completed garment. Rolling hills ebbed all the way down to Green Park, and beyond. How times change. Military officers and their wives then took up to dwelling on the Row, which made it the opportune location for any military tailor to set up shop. Gieves supplied garments to the British Royal Navy, Hawkes the British Army. Their partnership saw the birth of the eponymous Gieves & Hawkes, and they took pride of place at Number 1 Savile Row, and an array of Royal Warrants followed.

In 1846 came Henry Poole; 1849, H. Huntsman & Sons (no spies reside here we assure you); 1969, Tommy Nutter, the gentleman responsible for dressing Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Elton John to name but a few. But Penhaligon’s aren’t ones for the ostentatious pomposity that could accompany a client book of celebutantes – not to say this is true of Nutters – but we took a shining to another name on the Row; Norton & Sons, founded
in 1821. 

It was whilst stopping by at Norton & Sons to visit our dear friend, Patrick Grant, in 2010 that Penhaligon’s bowler hat was knocked off by a mélange of recognisable scents. Beeswax used to strengthen the thread, steam to press razor sharp creases into trousers and manipulate the cloth whilst constructing hand rolled lapels, and the metallic scent of the pattern cutter’s shears, passed down from master to apprentice, generation to generation. Once we’d picked our clean-shaven jaw up off the floor, we realised that we were on to something. The foundation of masculine perfumery, a fougère like no other. A triumph of tailoring… bottled! Sartorial was ready to wear, albeit utterly bespoke. All that was necessary now was a touch of panache, a Penhaligon’s bow. Perfection one care wear. A seamless weaving of violet leaf and leather, a harmonious outfit of amber and woods. An echo of hay, bitter almond and tobacco to portray personality – because that’s what tailoring is; an aesthetic expression of one’s charming personality.
 

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