I love Davide because he opens up a whole world of possibilities in tailoring for me. He regularly works with bespoke raw denim; bespoke leather jackets; other things developed while he was at Maurice Sedwell. He is the kind of guy who has designed, cut and sewn his own pigskin wallet, based on a random idea. And talking to him about the structure of the new Gieves bespoke silhouette is a revelation in how closely associated tailoring and architecture are…
Where do you work?
Gieves & Hawkes, cutter, 11 months. I started working as a tailor 12 years ago, making coats at Kashket the military and ceremonial tailors.
How did you get into bespoke?
I had studied architecture, but wanted to be more hands-on in my work. Bespoke tailoring offered that and then I grew to love the challenge of exceeding customers’ expectations of their clothing. To try to be uncompromising in the fit, making and developing their own personal style.
What do you like about Savile Row?
I guess it’s the atmosphere with its mixture of characters, ages, backgrounds, nationalities and politics in the warren of workshops. Also, being handed down a skill from a line of craftsmen that enables me to create something so unique from so little.
Describe your style
I don’t like to take anything for granted, I like challenging preconceived notions of what is correct, especially when the origins are totally obscure anyway. I am open to many influences, feminine and sculptural, that add a bit of darkness, fragility and edginess to an otherwise classical look.
What’s your favourite style aspect of a suit?
The chest, armhole, shoulders and sleeves… this is where I can feel I’m a sculptor. Cutting, moulding and manipulating the shapes to create real character into the garment for elegance and comfort.
What’s your favourite cloth and why?
Any flannel because they tailor so beautifully, look and feel special and have a good longevity. I also like Cacciopolli’s winter cottons for waistcoats and making skinny jeans. Twill covert cloth makes great rugged and versatile suits that can be mixed and matched with other cloths to create different looks. Super heavy hopsack linens (Cacciopolli or Loro Piana), because of its ability to confound people’s expectations, the contrast of a cloth that crumples but still has a weight and weave that can be tailored with real boldness.
What’s your favourite piece of tailoring you own?
Nothing gets more of a buzz from a customer than swooping into the fitting room wearing a super close fitted double-breasted suit; bold lapels, shaped shoulders, high roped-sleeveheads and slim trousers. My two favourites are a black Hhopsack and a brown/light grey blockstripe flannel. Next year I’ll try find time to make myself a black/dark grey one…
(From a cutting point of view, for me, there’s almost nothing more satisfying than fitting a beautiful double-breasted dinner suit)
What tailoring are you going to make yourself next?
A slightly oversized barrel-shaped DB overcoat. I cut it purposefully with a short balance at the back so it sticks out, enabling me to scoop it in at the bottom even more to accentuate the bell shape. I was influenced by the Dior/Balenciaga ‘new look’ silhouette, but took some of the styling from a Great Coat with a dramatic rolling collar and lapel and deep inverted box-pleat (closed at the bottom).
Davide second from left. His girlfriend Jennie, with the brown hair, is wearing a silk pleated bomber jacket that Davide made
What’s your favourite accessory?
Not sure, but I get pissed off with myself if I leave home and forget to put one if my vintage Tie-Tacks on, so I guess it must be that. I also always carry my own designed handmade pig suede cardholder.
What do you wear at the weekend?
Mostly stuff that I’ve made myself: a patch tweed curved-seam sports jacket, quilted ‘winter cotton’ zipped bib, vintage silk scarf, buttoned down micro-collar shirt, skinny curved-seamed jeans, bashed up white brogues (NDC). If it’s cold I wear my military-inspired Top Coat with an over-sized stand collar and deep inverted box pleat. If it’s wet I have a grey parka and my trusty German military para-boots.
What designer brands do you like?
A few years back Rick Owen’s ‘tailored’ pieces were interesting in the way that they show it is possible to play around with conventional proportions but still be very wearable. I loved the extremely close-figured body, very narrow structured shoulders and over long, tight sleeves… paired with low slung, baggy seated trousers.
Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo are amazing, the way they can take traditional techniques but deconstruct them in a critical way to make you see beauty in the unconventional. Also The Non, produces stunning clothing with lots of great tailoring and cutting techniques that I wish I knew!
What high street brands do you like?
I like checking out Present in Shoreditch, Stone Island in Soho, Oi Polloi in the Northern Quarter. I like the functionality, detailing and hard thought that’s put into the clothes that have not forgotten their working-class roots. Otherwise, All Saints sorts me out for chunky hand-knits and cigarette cords. American Apparel make the only t-shirts that don’t ride up at the front and choke me…
What’s top of your clothing wish list?
Things that there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that I could make for myself. I wouldn’t mind one of Nigel Cabourn’s limited designs like the sleeping bag coat. I’m also always on the look out for a cool leather jacket; I’d probably go vintage, but I like the gear Lewis Leathers produce.
What blogs or websites do you read?
Jocks and Nerds (Style magazine)
Another Nickel in the Machine (London history)
Upset the Rhythm (Gig guide)
Davide, right, with Dan from Graham Browne. Photos: Luke Carby