Patrick Grant: Making Savile Row relevant
Sartorial legend, Patrick Grant, talks style and Savile Row swagger
By Blokely HQ, 19 February 2014
You recently launched a new limited edition tin with Chivas Regal, where's the connection for you between tailoring and scotch whisky?
For me, the collaboration with Chivas was a natural alliance of artistry and shared vision. Ultimately, we both strive to give our customers stand out experiences and luxury goods of lasting value. The tailor’s obsession with mastering complexity in achieving perfect balance in form and finish are values also held dear by the master blender of Chivas.
Can you make an Old Fashioned [cocktail]?
Yes, I was recently taught how to make an Old Fashioned by Max Warner, Global Brand Ambassador for Chivas. It’s actually quite easy to make. I have a great recipe for anyone who wants it: Using the back of a spoon, crush the sugar lump with bitters in the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. Add a cube of ice and 15ml whisky and stir into sugar crystals until the ice cube has half melted. Repeat 3 more times, then rub orange around the rim of the glass, add cherry and stir.
What led you to work in fashion?
It was very much accidental. I had always loved clothes, and tailoring in particular, but I'd never thought of making it a career.
You're working with Norton & Sons right now, what is your role and how does creative direction involve exactly?
I'm the sales person. I help those customers that want help with cloth and style selections. Help them choose outfits, build wardrobes. In terms of creative direction it’s ensuring we carry great fabrics, and have great new pieces for customers to take inspiration from when ordering their clothes.
Where do you see yourself in five years? What ambitions are you yet to achieve?
I’d like Norton & Sons to continue to be a thriving and happy tailoring shop, making fine clothes for men, and I'd like E. Tautz to be selling beautifully engineered tailored sportswear in its own store and the best menswear boutiques and department stores around the world.
You're a proponent of fine tailoring, why, what makes Savile Row so sought after?
No one understands bespoke tailoring better than the tailors, cutters, and sales people from the world-famous Savile Row. They have a certain expertise which is the culmination of more than 200 years of heritage, leading to an uncompromised knowledge of timeless style unparalleled across the world.
Do you think Savile Row is still relevant to a wide audience/to modern gentlemen?
I don't think discerning men will ever get tired of fantastic personal service, and the limitless choice that bespoke offers. And in a world where luxury has become very much mass market genuinely luxurious offering like that of a Savile row bespoke tailor will always find a market.
For those that can’t afford great tailoring - what's the solution?
There is no option really but to save up. There is no real substitute.
What three style tips would you recommend to style conscious men?
Firstly, find a uniform – figure out what your personal style is and stick to it. Secondly, find a couple of brands that suit you and stick with those too. Finally, take pride in your appearance! Well-pressed clothes, a polished pair of shoes and paying attention to the little things speaks volumes: keep it simple and make it perfect.
What are your thoughts on ‘London Collections: Men’?
The London menswear collections are by a long stretch the most exciting on the menswear circuit. The world is really taking notice.
Beyond tailoring, which international and British designers inspire you and why?
My favourite menswear lines are mostly British: Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Shaun Samson, Agi & Sam, Craig Green, James Long, Lee Roach. I've always marvelled at the work of Raf Simons, especially at Jil Sander. And Miuccia Prada is always inspiring. And that ignores all the great furniture and industrial designers and architects I've long admired.
Do you think "Made in The UK" is set for a new industrial revolution?
I hope so! If what I think about the world is of luxury goods is true, I think the revolution is likely to happen in textiles: I truly believe we produce some of the best in the world. I think for 30-odd years the Italians shouted much louder and carved out a strong position for themselves, but this isn’t necessarily a clear reflection of superior skill, rather a case of being more vocal – this is often not the British way.
I think we are making progress in two central ways. Firstly, we’re part of a big movement back towards a greater valuation of the authentic – from clothing to whisky to anything where the integrity of the product is key. This philosophy can be applied to fashion lovers and non-fashion lovers alike. But we’re also making headway culturally. British products are getting a much fairer share of the limelight, especially in men’s fashion. This is particularly evident with the evolution of MAN [the menswear showcase at LFW] over the past 6 or 7 years towards today’s 3-day menswear showcase. I hope we’ll continue to thrive and expand because there’s a fantastic pool of talent in menswear in this country.