Richard James is a bespoke Savile Row tailors and contemporary menswear company. It was founded in 1992 by designer Richard James, a graduate of Brighton College of Art and a former buyer for the London boutique Browns, and his business partner Sean Dixon. Richard James has won both the British Fashion Council's Menswear Designer of the Year and Bespoke Designer of the Year awards
The first of the "new establishment" or "new bespoke movement" of Savile Row - the new, more fashion orientated wave of tailors who moved onto the street in the nineties - Richard James is widely credited as having done much to revitalise the reputation and fortunes of what is widely acknowledged to be the world centre of quality tailoring.
Richard James's trademark slim, modern tailoring and bold use of colour have earned it a large celebrity following. Mark Ronson, Pierce Brosnan,[David Cameron, Daniel Craig, P Diddy, David Beckham, Jude Law, Tom Cruise, Benicio del Toro, Bryan Ferry, Christian Lacroix, Sir Elton John, Hugh Grant, Manolo Blahnik, Mario Testino, Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Paul McCartney number amongst the company's customers.
Richard James is a founding member of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, the trade organisation that represents bespoke tailoring on Savile Row, but Richard James' fashion led approach, marketing techniques and introduction of Saturday opening to Savile Row was initially met with concern by some of the street's established tailors.
One early supporter of Richard James, however, was established British couturier Edwin Hardy Amies who had opened his business on Savile Row in 1946. "Sir Hardy Amies was marvellous," recalled James. "I well recall his chauffeur-driven car pulling up outside Richard James and Sir Hardy emerging like Lady Bracknell. He'd cast a lugubrious eye over the bright pink and acid green jackets in our window before shaking his head at us in mock disbelief. And then he smiled."
Richard James now has two shops on Savile Row, one of them devoted to bespoke tailoring. Bespoke suits start at £3,500 (~US$5,600). The company's ready-to-wear collections are also sold worldwide through stockists such as Harrods, Selfridges, Bloomingdales, Barneys New York and Lane Crawford
Richard James's tailoring has always centred on what has become known in the style press as its 'modern classic' style: one or two-button single-breasted suits with slightly longer, more waisted jackets, incorporating deep side vents and a slightly higher armhole to give a slim, definitive silhouette. The overall design philosophy is to produce classic clothing, but to push the barriers through experimenting with fabrics and making bold use of pattern and, particularly, colour. The British fashion writer and academic Colin McDowell has described James as being 'the best colourist working in menswear in London today'.
THE SAVILE ROW ELITE, FROM LEFT, RICHARD JAMES, ALAN BENNETT (¬DAVIES & SON) , EDWARD SEXTON, FREDERICK WILLEMS (¬GIEVES & HAWKES ), ANDA ROWLAND (¬ANDERSON & SHEPPARD) , NICK HART ¬(SPENCER HART) , PATRICK GRANT ¬(NORTON & SONS ), GUY HILLS ¬(DASHING TWEEDS ), PATRICK MURPHY ¬(HUNTSMAN ), JOHN HITCHCOCK ¬(ANDERSON & SHEPPARD ), WILLIAM SKINNER ¬(DEGE & SKINNER) AND KATHRYN SARGENT ¬(GIEVES & HAWKES )
Men's Notebook: M&S goes Savile Row
Marks & Spencers latest tailoring collaboration with Savile Row.
BY DAVID WATERS | 10 MARCH 2012 in The Telegraph/ In http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/article/TMG9131557/Mens-Notebook-MandS-goes-Savile-Row.html
Developed over the past eight months, Marks & Spencer's latest tailoring collection is a collaboration with the Savile Row tailor Richard James. The new line includes seven suits, and 11 shirt and tie styles. In the autumn shoes, socks, cufflinks and pocket squares will be added, too.
The label inside these smartly tailored clothes reads 'Savile Row Inspired', which is most appropriate because Marks & Spencer has recently opened a menswear-dedicated showroom and design studio at the north end of Savile Row in London. It is a large airy space with glass partition walls that separate off minimalist meeting-rooms where spacious white design tables are artfully littered with advertising images. Against the unadorned white walls mood boards sprout swatches of shirt and suit fabrics with colour charts denoting the suit shades we could be wearing next season.
'Richard James has been hands-on developing this collection,' says Richard Price, the M&S head of menswear, who approached James two years ago with the idea of working together. 'It just blew me away to see Richard's fantastic attention to detail.'
Richard James opened his first eponymous shop on Savile Row in 1992 and is known for his creative flashes of colour on suit linings, shirts and ties. The M&S range's slimline suits and accessories feature these signature James flourishes, with one- and two-button jackets, side-adjusting as well as belt-looped trousers, hand-finished stitching and his bold use of colour. Who will fail to be impressed by the hot-pink silk tie over a sky-blue shirt in luxurious 120-fold cotton under a pale grey, one button suit? And with the most expensive suit costing less than £500, it makes economic sense.
Keeping to a best-of-British theme, which is central to M&S's current thinking, the suit fabrics are sourced from Alfred Brown in Leeds and silk for the ties is from the British silk weavers Vanners.
'My favourite suit is the two-piece two-button in mid-grey wool and mohair,' James says. 'This suit can be worn to the office, but it looks perfect when worn for a special occasion.'
Savile Row Inspired by Richard James for M&S suits from £299-£499 in sizes 36-46; shirts £49.50, ties £29.( marksandspencer.com )