Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hunstman, Ripped and Smoothed

I just finished reading Richard Anderson's recent book, Bespoke: Savile Row Ripped and Smoothed. It tells of his apprenticeship and work as a cutter at H. Huntsman, widely regarded as the Row's best and most expensive tailor, and how a change of ownership and some questionable practices led him to leave and start his own bespoke house, Richard Anderson, Ltd. I rather enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Savile Row and the business of tailoring.

Having read the book, I thought it only fitting that my next dissection should be a Huntsman bespoke garment dated 2000, right around the time of his departure from the house. I don't think we'll ever know who cut it or if it was off an earlier pattern, but that's not really relevant to us right now.

Label

There's a lot to show so I will do this in several installments. I also now realize that I need some better lighting and a macro lens (thanks NOBD); I hate what flash does to these shots and daylight is in short supply these days......

To see bigger versions of the photos, click on them which will bring you to my Flickr site. Click on "All sizes" above the photo, which should give you the full size, or the ability to select it.
The coat is their typical one button, with a notch (or step) lapel.
Lapel

Functional sleeves buttonholes (the quality of which are just ok) are a little close to the hem, suggesting alterations. Strangely, one sleeve has four functioning buttonholes, the other has three functioning buttonholes and one sham hole.

sleeve

Here's a shot of another coat. This was made for Voxsartoria by Steed Bespoke Tailors.

steed

Now a trick question. If I hadn't told you which was which, but instead told you one was from the house reputed to be the absolute best and most expensive, and the other was from a much less-expensive off-Row tailor, would you have guessed right? If you guessed wrong, go get Edwin to make you a suit. Not that we should judge the merits of a suit on buttonholes alone, but Edwin's seem just a little neater, and it should be the other way around.

Back to Huntsman.

Now notice the two-hole buttons and the fold-up hem. Most RTW and MTM is not done like this as it is quite bulky BUT it allows alterations to the sleeve length after the holes have been cut. Ebay scroungers take note.

slv underside

The front buttonhole. Notice the off-coloured pad stitching peeking through under the lapel.

front hole

Underside of the lapel, where you see more of the padstitching peeking through.

lapel underside

Notice the font configuration- unlike most modern garments there is no separate side body so the underarm seam stops at the pocket. The front dart, however, extends to the hem, a detail often associated with drape cuts.

front dart

And finally, for today, the side vent, with an extra-wide underlay. Notice how the finishing of the lining is done.

vent

Check back soon for more, as there are more interesting details in the coat, and tons in the trouser. There's also a Henry Poole sportcoat coming so SR fans stay tuned.

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4 comments:

BENEDICT17 said...

This Huntsman dissection may be as illuminating as it is disillusioning. On one hand, never having closely examined a bespoke garment from Huntsman, I rather imagined there would be oodles of details and nuances not normally seen on a hand-tailored suit. On the other hand, given the astronomical price charged by Huntsman, it seems to be nothing more than rank greed. Perhaps subsequent updates will be more revealing and surprising, but for now Huntsman leaves me underwhelmed.

JMB

Fatto a Mano said...

Yes, I imagine it will be a bit of both. I don't want to speculate on the price issues, but in that price range, one would hope for a neater execution. This, however, may not be isolated to them, nor is it particularly new; a friend recently sent me an article from a German trade magazine from the 70's, recounting a trip some German tailors had made to the Row. They were surprised at some of what they saw and the Row tailors told them they worried too much about buttonholes and stitch quality; the overall appearance is all that mattered. I am of the opinion that the little details tell a lot about the care that goes into the garment- if the little things that ARE visible are neglected, what can one assume about the details which are NOT so readily visible?

But I shouldn't get to far ahead of myself for now. In the case oft his garment, compared to some of the positively shocking things I have seen recently from some of their competitors, this is a jewel.

J

BENEDICT17 said...

Jeffery, there are any number of examples of your own work on this site that far surpass Huntsman. Then there are those dropdead gorgeous gowns that you made for the bride in England and your sister.
It's interesting, sometimes fascinating, to have a close look and explanation of how others make clothes, but your own handiwork is a plenty potent force with which to contend.

JMB

Anonymous said...

You're welcome!

(Waiting for moving pictures now — I read Santa delivered...)

Regards,

NOBD

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