Americans have a longstanding appreciation and fondness for Savile Row tailoring, and the feeling is mutual among British tailors, who have been crossing the pond for decades to serve the sartorial needs of North America. Among these are veterans Richard Anderson and Brian Lishak, the owners of Savile Row’s Richard Anderson, who recently visited Manhattan’s Carlyle Hotel to visit with clients. This year marked Lishak’s 61st on the Row, and he recounted his first foray to New York at age 17.
“Back then, we’d all come together on the Queen Mary,” he says. His first voyage, he recalls, was beset by a fierce storm. “The old lads advised me to walk a lot, eat a lot, and drink port and brandy.” In New York, “we all stayed on the 22nd floor of the Biltmore,” where customers went from suite to suite for fittings.
Today, Lishak and Anderson, who left the venerable tailoring house of Huntsman to set up shop together in 2001, make the trip to America three times a year to measure and fit clients for bespoke suits. Starting at about $7,650, the final suits are delivered in 6 to 8 weeks. “New customers are often recommended by old customers,” Lishak says. “But today, others come to us having done research online. All of the Savile Row tailors have their own style, and this helps people make informed choices.” The Richard Anderson style? “A very slim shoulder, a slim sleeve, and a trouser cut accordingly.”
Both men are fine raconteurs and enjoy sharing stories about the heritage of British tailoring and their own influence in forging new concepts. Lishak persuaded Huntsman to branch out into velvet suits during the Swinging Sixties, and Anderson has experimented with materials such as seersucker and Japanese denim for both ready-to-wear suits and jeans. Over the years, fabrics have become lighter, while the range of sizes has grown. “We have more Asian customers today, but also men work out more, which means less shoulder padding,” says Anderson.
As for their division of labor, Anderson says he does “all the cutting, and I’m in charge of all the design,” while Lishak runs the company and deals with marketing. Though a generation apart, the pair make an excellent team. As Lishak notes, “All this time working together, we’ve never really had a cross word.”