Earlier this year I helped write the Gieves & Hawkes book, One Savile Row: The Invention of the English Gentleman, contributing the bespoke chapter. It came out a couple of weeks ago, and I highly recommend it – not for my small section, obviously, but for the photography.

As is hopefully evident from the images here, the team did a fantastic job of bringing alive archive jackets, coats and military paraphernalia. There are some exquisite details, with pinpoint focus bringing up the gold, buttons and braid. The settings at various grand houses around the country also lend everything a very suitable, brooding atmosphere.

Gieves and Hawkes jacket3

Gieves and Hawkes jacket coat

Among the rest of the text, there is a history of 1 Savile Row, one of Gieves & Hawkes, and an entertaining history of the English gentleman by Malcolm McDowell.

The depth and size of the book make it a highly pleasurable, immersive experience. Something to sit with on the sofa with and absorb. It is available on Amazon, or in store at Gieves.

The braiding on the final jacket below, by the way, was part of the inspiration for my pea coat. You can see some of the similarity between the pattern on the back and the reworked designs on my coat by Hawthorne & Heaney.

For those that have asked, next year I should also have at least two books out – one the True Luxury coffee-table volume being published by Thames & Hudson, and the other from Prestel on English factories. 

Gieves jacket

Gieves and Hawkes jacket cuffs

Gieves & Hawkes


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Much as I try, I am weak and my inner pedant will out: isn’t that actually ‘frogging’ rather than ‘braiding’.

Apologies. Petty, I know, but my fingers couldn’t resist!



For the life of me I cannot find the name for the “toggle” made from braid that is used on that Hussar-esque doublet. IMO they are the only acceptable version of closing a smoking jacket and look more masculine than a Trinity/Chinese knot.


Be sure to let us know when your books are out please?
I am completely taken with the fabric on the front cover of the G&H book – do you know what it is and is it readily available?


Bradley, it looks like a Donegal tweed to me.


A thought has just come to me about books.
Why do you not have a book made up on all the clothes you have ever commissioned (photographed on of course in various stances as one never sees much of the rear of garments in magazines/The Rake etc.) and then a discourse on all the information, design, fabric, good points and bad, and so on. It would make for fantastic reading in one book rather than all the to’ing and fro’ing on your site. This would indeed be well worth investing in from my point of view and, i am sure would be an outright success.

Paul Weide

I think we’ve found the 19th century Royal Artillery tunic that inspired G&H’s Autumn / Winter 2009 black bespoke evening coat with frogging detail on page 129 of James Sherwood’s “Bespoke: The Men’s Style of Savile Row.” N’est-ce pas?


Beautiful examples Simon. I`ve oftened wondered whether the craft skills and tailoring found in antique pieces is superior to more modern pieces. I ask as, historically, the volume of hand craft workers (vs. machinists) would have been greater compared to now (and thus the overall knowldge/skills base). Some tailoring blogs also show some amazing vintage work on items such as button holes, lapels etc. Do you have a view on this (I assume you saw some of the items first hand..)? Re. Bradley`s book idea`Permanent Style – the Bespoke Collection` …it would be great to see.


I’d add a hearty +1 to Bradley’s request. The best thing about the bespoke projects is being able to understand exactly why you chose certain features and how they impact the overall aesthetic. A book to document this would make an amazing guide.

Johann Perzi

No, it is the Brilliance of the British

Johann from Vienna



wonderful article and wonderful pictures. Too bad something similar does not exist for Germany. But, of course, we never had an Empire ;)!


Maybe it’s just me but they could’ve tried harder with the tie knot on the front cover photo. I’d much prefer the Four-in-Hand as it has a bit more flare (unless that was the reason against it) if done right, but even with the Windsor you can try and make it more 3D and less flat.



Just read the book and it goes into very much detail on the history, except curiously neglects to mention that G&H is now owned by the Chinese.


Simon, have you seen the vicious review of the book (and your good self) on the ‘A Suitable Wardrobe Blog’? First and last time that I visit that cretin’s blog.

Ian Guild

Greetings from Downunder Simon,
I picked up One Savile Row yesterday and have just flicked through it once. Whilst military uniforms are covered in great detail, I was hoping it would feature past and present customers and some if not all of their staff. To me, the A&S book set the template for such books, therefore, I’m a little disappointed with OSR. I hope the 2nd edition will include more on G&H’s present rather than their past. Cheerio for now. Best, Ian.