James Sherwood’s latest book, The Perfect Gentleman, is almost as lavish as his definitive work on Savile Row. It begins with spread after spread of shops and products, giving the reader a feel for every aspect of London’s luxury retailers. It is illustrated throughout by great archive shots and original photography by AndyBarnham.
The focus is very much on history, as it was with Savile Row. This is about the provenance and traditions of Floris, Garrard and Asprey, and the gentlemen that frequented them over the years. This is a particular love of James’s, as reflected in his work as an archivist, and indeed he is at his best in the introductions to each section (as again was the case with Savile Row) where he can use a broader brush to paint the social background to the coming chapters.
For my part, I would have liked to know more about the craft itself – why Garrard is such a good jeweller, rather than who it has served – but that is a personal preference.
The selection of companies in the book is broad, from jewellery to wines to guns, but includes some very new brands among the old, such as Emma Willis shirts and jeweller Shaun Leane. It was lovely to see Gaziano & Girling included too, though Fox Brothers sits a little oddly in a list of Mayfair retailers.
The Perfect Gentleman should and will be popular amongst all fans of London’s luxury houses, particularly those abroad.