Yesterday was the grand opening of the new Gieves & Hawkes, after an extensive refurbishment and the inclusion of several friends of Permanent Style.
Tim Bent has his dedicated room at the front of the store, as well as some beautiful pieces scattered about the place. Unlike other stores that borrow antiques like this to give the appearance of longevity, Gieves has its own, grander traditions and has informed sales staff to tell you about the luggage (though rarely Tim himself – you have to journey down to SW3 for that). I fell in love with a Louis Vuitton travelling wardrobe, complete with branded wooden hangers. Unfortunately it is in the tens of thousands of pounds.
Round the corner is Deborah Carre and James Ducker’s new bespoke workshop – the goldfish bowl, as they like to call it. While the glass frontage might make them feel like they’re on display, it is the best place in London to watch bespoke shoemaking first hand.
And lastly there’s Justin Fitzpatrick, the Shoe Snob, who now has his own cubby hole in which to work customer’s shoes up to a military shine.
The rest of the store is a big improvement on the old Gieves, particularly the inclusion of archive military pieces at strategic points. It now feels like a destination for any tourist interested in British menswear.