The bespoke pea coat had many inspirations. Among its foremost influences were the personal creations of Davide (Taub, Gieves & Hawkes head cutter); the Gieves military and naval archive; and the embroidery designs of lovely Claire (Barrett) at Hawthorne & Heaney.
All three came together in the details shown here. We had our second fitting on the coat last week – having missed the last Winter by some margin, the project had been taken up again last month, to have it ready for October. The fit of the big, structured coat over a suit is wonderful, but I’ll post more on that at another stage. For the moment, here are the details.
Above, the quilting in the chest of the jacket. Quilting doesn’t necessarily require any filling, as a reader questioned in the first instalment. Rather, it is the sewing of regular lines in order to create greater structure in a chest, without any more canvas or other lining.
The pattern worked by the Gieves tailors here is a sunburst, radiating from the armhole. Under the new creative management Gieves is finally making all its bespoke in-house (no outworkers) creating a greater cohesion and stronger direction. It’s something Davide has always wanted, and it’s great to see it in action.
Next, the embroidery. Davide and I went through the Gieves archive looking for examples of designs we liked on the cuffs and backs of naval coats. There was a lot, and most of it far more intricate than the designs here. Frogging like this was nearly always used to finish off the cuffs of jackets, creating decoration and hiding the transition from cuff to sleeve. It would usually reflect work elsewhere, such as on the cuff, epaulettes or back.
In the end we picked two simple designs that we liked – one for the cuff (below) and one for the back of the neck (above). By rendering them in black the effect is much more subtle than any of this coat’s naval antecedents, but also more modern. The frogging is made up of Russia braid (the two shiny lines) and an additional line of black silk. The latter was added to increase the contrast in texture between the lines as well as against the coat itself.
Actually, it’s wrong to say we picked the designs. We gave Claire some rough ideas and pictures, and she came up with the designs herself based on Austrian knots. She deserves the lion’s share of the credit.
Hawthorne & Heaney now has new digs, by the way, sharing with Dugdale’s on Mill Street at the top of Savile Row. Claire is therefore around the area far more than she was (the workshop is up in Islington) and can take appointments for anyone that wants to discuss work on a bespoke item. As a guide, this work on my coat cost £210 and the beautiful gold leaves Claire did on my velvet jacket cost £93 (both inc. VAT).
You can see some pictures of the coat in its current state on Davide’s blog.