What is it that Napoleon III, the Russian tsars, English kings, the last four princes of Wales (George IV, Edward VII, the Duke of Windsor, Prince Charles and other crowned figures) have in common with such notorious personalities as Valentino, Fairbanks, Gable, Astaire, Cooper, Olivier, Coward, Dietrich – not to mention Paul Bettany, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, and David Beckham ? What unites these icons in a common tradition, and to what ends ?
The answer to the question, “Sir, could I ask the name of your tailor?” should always be the following : “This suit is simply my own, and has been conceived as such…”
It is common knowledge that there is no admittance more vulgar and shameful than giving the name of one’s tailor. After all, there are some secrets that we do not share just for the great reason that excellence cannot be shared but just treasured. This motto is the heritage of Savile Row and those who recognize it, as a keystone of excellence in the birth and evolution of men’s fashion.

“Nowadays, used more popularly than ever, the term “bespoke” refers to a suit designed exclusively for an individual. It consists of a process by which a client’s measurements are taken manually, a fitted pattern is cut out of fabric by hand, whose pieces are then sewn together by several assistants – a feat necessitating on average three separate fittings. The complete operation requires around fifty-two hours of labor, with three months of time between the moment of order and the delivery, and has barely changed since its description in 1838.”

縱觀歷史和現今的風雲人物,我們可以去那裡尋找拿破崙三世、俄國沙皇、英國國君、最後的四位威爾士王子(喬治三世、愛德華七世、溫莎公爵、查爾斯王子和其他加冕的人物)的共同點?或者Valentino, Fairbanks, Gable, Astaire, Cooper, Olivier, Coward, Dietrich這些人的共同點?抑或是Paul Bettany, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, 以及David Beckham?是什麼把這些名號聯繫在了一起?而這種聯繫有多緊密呢?
這個問題的答案可能來自如下的對話:『先生,請問我是否能知道您裁縫師的大名?』,而答案往往是:『這件西裝是我獨享的…』,這是一個眾所周知的常識,沒有任何的名號比探聽【某人的裁縫師】更為顯得庸俗和讓人自卑,畢竟;很多時候我們選擇不與人分享的秘密往往是由於這些秘密本身過於卓越。這個座右銘是來自Savile Row(薩維爾街)裁縫師留給世人的特別遺產,”它“以及另外幾名優異卓絕的裁縫師定奠定了男裝時尚的基石。


The core of this timeless tradition rings in the above words of James Sherwood who describes the quintessence of savoir-faire: the art of the Savile Row tailors and the universe of masculine elegance…
Born in the heart of London’s Mayfair district in the eighteenth century, Savile Row has become a temple for fashion and dandies. Its character has survived through the ages and today, the “Row” continues to be the only place on Earth to embody this unique idea of elegance. It has always allowed and continues to allow individuals to rise through the ranks of society by mastering the art of image and self-perception. This particular landmark owes its namesake to the Count of Burlington, who built himself a palace in Piccadilly, and gave the name of his wife, Lady Dorothy Savile, to a  street situated behind his residence.

Savile Row’s true heritage lies in the military tailors of the British Empire of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. At the time, the sun of the Empire shone brightly, having widespread global power through the strength of its military. In 1898, the British Army consisted of 99,000 professional soldiers based in the islands of the United Kingdom, 75,000 in British India and 41,000 in the rest of the Empire. The British monarch functioned as head of state and as figurehead of the Empire, also acted as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Soldiers of the Empire had always had the habit of dressing differently from civilians in order to be publicly recognised, but also to differentiate themselves as men of war. Their titles and statuses were reflected in dazzling outfits reminiscent of military uniforms worn during parades, which demonstrated the grand power and tradition of the Army. This was the inspiration of the first tailors of the Row, who designed the ceremonial costumes of officers appointed by the British monarch. This “savoir-faire” has sanctified the official military attire and eventually the outfits worn by the royal family members themselves in certain cases.

In the early nineteenth century, after the French Revolution had swept the courts, civilians were finally able to access the heritage of Savile Row. This caused such a marked change that another set of trends, based on rural and equestrian outfits, defined the opening collections of the first “Bespoke” fashion houses. Indeed, they quickly adapted the tailor’s art of customization to the emergence of that new trends. However, it was Henry Poole in the 1850s who truly rendered this ordinary street in Mayfair the paradise of men: connoisseurs of “custom” and “handmade” suits.

這個跨越時間的傳統的核心可以由James Sherwood的描述中管窺。James Sherwood描述了Savile Row(薩維爾街)裁縫藝術的精髓,以及這個陽剛之氣和優雅之美並存的【境界】。於18世紀在倫敦核心的Mayfair區誕生的薩維爾街,目前已經成了時尚和紈絝之風的『聖殿』,它擁有一種穿越時光的氣質。『那條街』至今仍是地球上唯一一個充溢著優雅形象的小街,它也一直通過掌握『形象的藝術』和『自我認知的藝術』,讓人們在社會階層中不斷地提升。這個指標性的地點源自於伯靈頓,伯靈頓給自己在Piccadilly建立了一座宮殿,而將宮殿後的一條小街以他夫人的名字Savile(薩維爾) 命名。

在十九世紀早期,法國大革命對王室進行衝擊之後,平民百姓終於擁有了接觸到薩維爾街的機會。這一現象誕生了另外一場潮流——以農民和馬術服裝為背景的設計,最終奠定了第一批【定製】商業服裝的誕生。他們迅速地汲取了裁縫師們【個性化】的藝術和這一新流行趨勢的能量。而真正讓這條曾經只是Mayfair地區的普通街道成為男裝天堂的是19世紀:50年代Henry Poole和以他為首的【個性服裝】和【手工定制】的鑑賞家們的功勞。


The story of the infamous suits of Savile Row began at the end of the eighteenth century. At that time, menswear was poised to undergo a small revolution led by George Bryan, nicknamed “Beau” Brummell (1778-1840). This prince of fashion and dandy supreme popularized darker, unadorned outfits, as well as the replacement of high-breeches with trousers. Beyond fashion, Dandyism also embodied a certain social and societal attitude in England during that period. It was a movement which redefined the relationship between the individual and his appearance with a dose of feel-good impertinence. Beyond English aristocratic circles, this new attitude surfaced throughout Europe and the United States within the realms of fashion and high society. Under the influence of masters like Henry Poole, the reputation of London’s tailors subsequently grew. The demand generated by the social elite – members of the aristocracy, rich bankers, political circles – became so important that London soon became the world fashion capital in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

臭名昭著的【西裝薩維爾街】的故事開始於十八世紀的末期。當時在綽號花花公子Brummell(1878至40年)的George Bryan的手下,男裝正在歷經一場小型革命。這位有著『時尚花花公子』綽號的王子使得深色,樸素的服裝更為風行,以及以馬褲的設計來取代高腰長褲。在當時的英國,超越時尚,紈絝也成為了某種社會風氣和生活態度。這是一場革新運動,它重新定義了個人與『自我感覺良好的外在形象』之間的關係。除英國上流貴族圈之外,這種新態度也在歐洲大陸和美國的上層社會掀起了一陣風潮,在剪裁大師亨利·普爾(Henry Poole)的影響下,倫敦裁縫師們因而聲明大噪。社會精英們的需求也不斷上漲,從王公貴族到銀行家、政客圈,都成為了使倫敦成為十九世紀下半葉世界時尚之都的推動力量。


In the early twentieth century, the attire of the modern gentleman as we know it today, started to take place. While in the ancient times men wore a frock coat, a waistcoat, or jacket with a vest and trousers, with each cut in a different fabric, the “full” suit was re-constructed: trousers jacket and vest, made of the same fabric (preferably wool). This trend was definitively established in the 1930s. The sleek English silhouette, symbol of the masculine elegance of the twentieth century was born, and the aura and the refinement of Savile Row started to shine. The Savile Row tailors knew the importance of reinventing style according to the changes in men’s fashion. For example, even before the world wars, several new developments influenced by celebrity clients happened. The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII (who took the title of Duke of Windsor after his abdication) greatly influenced the fashion of that period. Known for his bold choices in color and combinations of material and patterns,  he advocated the use of the belt in place of suspenders, and even caused the vest to fall out of favor. In the 1960s and 1970s, the designer Tommy Nutter created “signature” outfits for the celebrities of “Swinging London,” such as Terence Stamp, Michael Caine, Mick and Bianca Jagger.

Today, a new generation of tailors have taken over, with Ozwald Boateng at its head.  However, the Row’s enduring legacy shows how one can maintain the virtues of the traditional cut while remaining at the forefront of fashion. The creative process of Savile Row’s tailors has become a sort of incubator of trends, on one hand developed by the expertise of artists, on the other, guided by the style of aesthetes. The smoking suit, for example, is an accidental creation of the “Row,” a proof of the mutual inspiration which takes place between designers and their clients.

二十世紀早期,當代紳士的服裝造型也逐漸成型。在早些年間男性的衣著大多是工裝外套、背心或者外套搭配背心和褲子,每個部分的面料都不相同,而現在的『全套西服』則是褲子、夾克衫加上同樣質地的背心(最好是羊絨)。這種潮流在二十世紀三十年代最終成型。圓潤的英式剪裁成為了二十世紀陽剛而優雅的男性服裝的符號,而這種風格也誕生於薩維爾街不斷改善的光環中。但就像【紈絝】是一種必然要超越傳統的重量的新審美,薩維爾街的裁縫師們知道根據男裝時尚的潮流而重塑設計風格的重要性。比如說,甚至在世界大戰之前,極大重要的設計改革也由精英客戶們的需求所推動。威爾士王子之一,後來的國王愛德華三世(退位後成為溫莎公爵)對他所在時代的男裝設計就產生了重要的影響。最主要的影響來自於他對顏色的大膽選擇和對材料和圖案的自由組合。他主張在吊帶的地方改用腰帶,並且使得背心退出了時尚潮流,也有像在二十世紀六、七十年代期間,設計師Tommy Nutter創造了為『搖擺倫敦』潮流的名人,比如Terence Stamp, Michael Caine, Mick和Bianca Jagger等量身的設計【簽名】系列試裝..等。

今日,新一代的裁縫們也如春筍般成長起來,他們這代的代表包括Ozwald Boateng,薩維爾街的故事告訴我們在保持傳統的同時,也可以走在時尚的最前沿。裁縫們的創作過程已經成為了一種新潮流的孵化器,一方面來自於具有專業知識的藝術家們,一方面也來自於推動風格更新的美學家們。吸煙西服(Smoking Suit,一種晚禮服)就是一個很好的例子,它誕生於薩維爾街的一次【意外】的常識,卻大為風行,證明了專業裁縫和客戶之間互動產生的靈感的力量。

How about Asia?  亞洲又是如何呢?

Asia is a very diverse region when we talk about men fashion. Indeed, Asia has been driven by different cultural and historical legacies that have shaped and impacted Asian men wardrobe. For example, the history of textile in Asia is not only a tremendous and fascinating standpoint to observe and acknowledge the authentic Asian touch in men clothing tailoring, but also a wealthy inventory of know-how, textures, styles and influences…


To some extent, the art of the bespoke suit for men has a different resonance in Asia. In the modern tailoring history, it seems that two Asian countries have surfaced with a specific inclination for our topic: I am referring to India region and Japan. On the contrary to other Asian countries in the region, India and Japan have developed and empowered an authentic tailored made suit culture and know-how. In India, there is obviously a cultural echo to the British suit history and its influence on Indian men tailoring approach. But the most remarkable thing is that, Indian people have also re-invented the art of men tailoring on their own terms. The Indian-born tailor Loquacious Sam is definitely one of those iconic faces, recognized all around the world as a great influencer in the tailor made suit universe. Sam suited-up so many gentlemen such as Georges Bush Senior, Luciano Pavarotti and even David Bowie for the most famous…

從某種程度上說,在亞洲的定製西裝有不同的藝術感。在現代的剪裁歷史,有兩個亞洲國家似乎已經浮出水面,有著與我們所討論的話題相互呼應的能力;我指的是印度地區和日本。不同於其它在該地區的亞洲國家,印度和日本已經制定了擁有自身規範的訂製西裝。在印度男性衣物的剪裁方法,顯然是因為備受英國西裝的歷史文化影響。但最顯著的一點是,印度人民也重新發明定製自己衣物的條件和藝術感。印度出生的裁縫師Loquacious Sam絕對是那些指標性的人物之一,與Sam合作過的有名的各界男士,Georges Bush Senior,Luciano Pavarotti至David Bowie…,這些來自世界各地的名人,都公認在其對裁縫界來說是位很具影響力的裁縫師。

Japan has also a very strong men’s elegance flair. A chic tailor made suit is a prerequisite for the Japanese male figure. For example, we can find a lot of tailors who went to Italy to craft their know-how in Naples in order to offer a unique experience in men’s tailoring back in Japan. As a result, many Japanese dandies have developed a passion for sartorial Italian suit cutting. Today, it’s not idle to pretend that Japan has its own style mainly influenced by Italians. “Nothing comes from nothing”. To me it is just the theory of evolution, which applies also to men tailoring trends. Asian influence, mainly through Indian and Japan, has its own “bespoke” approach. Interestingly, the self-determination of Asian men’s elegance borrows inspiration from the pioneers from Savile Row… Nothing comes from nothing…

日本男人也有很強的優雅氣息。有著精緻裁縫的西裝是日本男性對西裝的先決條件。例如,我們可以找到在Napoli提供的男裝裁縫師,在體驗了意大利工藝的訣竅後回到日本,發展了一種獨特的裁縫。結果是,許多日本的時尚人物都已經接受了的意大利西裝剪裁的熱情。對我來說,這只是一個理論的進化,但也適用於說明現在男性西裝剪裁的趨勢。主體來說,通過印度和日本的自定【定製西裝】來影響整個亞洲的風格。有趣的是,Savile Row的開拓者還依然是這些亞洲男性服裝的主要靈感來源。