In London, the bespoke tailoring scene is every bit as close-knit as you’d expect. And one thing you can be sure of is that tailors like to gossip.
Visit any pub within a quarter-mile of Savile Row on a Friday night and you’ll find well-dressed men huddled in corners, giggling like they’re in the school yard. “You’ll never guess who had an ear-full from that fussy customer today…” or “You-know-who dropped his shears in the middle of the cutting room this morning. The boss didn’t half have a go at him.” But, even in a world that cherishes friendly competition the name Henry Poole generates hushed, reverential whispers.
After all, the house is the oldest on Savile Row. One of the street’s founding fathers (Poole can trace its roots back to 1806) and known for dressing men of note from Sir Winston Churchill to Emperor Napoleon III as well as inventing the Tuxedo, the company isn’t short on claims to fame.
Now, Poole has one more accolade to add to its list: a collaboration with another British luxury stalwart, Range Rover, to celebrate the car’s 50-year anniversary. This meeting of minds came about through a mutual friendship as Jaguar Land Rover’s chief design officer, Gerry McGovern OBE, has been a loyal Poole customer for years. “I started to commission clothes with Henry Poole around 15 years ago,” McGovern explains. “I was getting to the point where I’d tried all the designer brands I could find, and I came to the realization that if I wanted clothes that fitted perfectly, I needed to get them tailored. All these years later I would never go anywhere else—they’ve got me for life.”
To mark half-a-century of Range Rover, McGovern has worked with Poole to design a unique houndstooth fabric woven by Fox Brothers & Co. in the south west of England. Today, we think of the Range Rover in dark silver or black, but the 1970s original was available in three distinctive shades: Davos White, Tuscan Blue or Bahama Gold. This trio of archival hues colors the exclusive new textile. When tailored, the result is a smart-casual jacket that’s easy to pair with everything from gray flannels to indigo jeans or denim shirts.
They’ve only milled enough cloth to produce 50 bespoke sport coats. While the styling is at the discretion of each customer, Poole recommends a two-button jacket with slanting flap pockets, lined in matching Tuscan Blue satin, finished with a Bahama Gold under-collar. It’s a look that communicates Range Rover and Poole’s shared ethos perfectly. “Like us, the Range Rover is a contemporary design that’s underpinned by real heritage,” says Simon Cundey, Poole’s 7th generation managing director. “It made perfect sense for us to work on a jacket that’s suitably ‘sporty’, given it was inspired by an iconic British sports car.”
This tie-up is timely for one other reason, too. It’s the perfect vehicle (so to speak) for an exciting development that Henry Poole has been working on for close to four years: its new ‘super lightweight’ jacket construction. Savile Row customers will know that British suits can be somewhat heavy—the jacket’s chest is shaped with dense layers of horsehair canvas, while the shoulders often feature thick pads made from layers of felt and wadding. Now, Poole’s craftspeople have found a way to reduce their tailoring’s internal structure without compromising the house’s cut. For Savile Row’s elder statesman, such an evolution is no small news.
“We’ve had clients asking for a classic Henry Poole silhouette with the comfort-factor of lightweight tailoring for some time, and it’s been an interesting process to work with our customers on these requests,” says Cundey. “The result is a jacket that still has our trademark drape, but which feels surprisingly light and airy to wear. Conveniently, a lambswool jacketing fabric like the Poole x Range Rover cloth is ideally suited to this new construction, so it’s great to be able to share news of both together.”
In many ways, this innovation in the way Poole constructs its bespoke garments is the perfect case-study in why this thoroughbred Savile Row name compliments Range Rover so well. “At our age, we’ve celebrated some landmarks,” says Cundey. “We love to work with fellow heritage brands and like Poole, Range Rover has evolved gently over the years but it’s still instantly recognizable and timelessly elegant. Fifty years of Range Rover is the perfect meeting of all the things we value.”
To discuss ordering an exclusive Range Rover fabric sport coat, email firstname.lastname@example.org