Thursday, 19 March 2009

E. Tautz over tea

The art of wardrobe building with E. Tautz.

Over the last couple of weeks we have been looking at luxury in the downturn and discussing the brands we love... there is now another name to add to our list of favourites. Given that many analysts are predicting doom and gloom for months to come, most people would be dissuaded from launching a luxury brand label on to the scene. Fortunately Patrick Grant is not one of these people. As the steering force behind the revival of the 187 year old Savile Row firm of tailors, Norton & Sons he has turned his attention to the resurrection of E. Tautz.

We posted previously that the list of designers at LFW's extended menswear day gave reason to be optimistic about the state of menswear in this fair city, but I was intrigued most by E. Tautz . The label is rooted in history and history seamlessly runs through the whole collection. Patrick and his team were inspired by the photo archive of the Sandringham Estate, both in terms of its colours and landscape and there are more than a few sartorial nods to Edward VII.

As the presentation was over subscribed I was unable to see it on the day but Patrick Grant extended an invite for me to view the collection over a cup of tea at 16 Savile Row. It was a fittingly quintessentially English date because the collection could not be more English and it took place the evening of last Friday. Over tea, I was able to marvel at the quality on offer throughout this collection and was fortunate enough to have a piece by piece commentary to learn much more about this label than what has previously been made available. Over the course of this post I will attempt to offer the same journey I was fortunate enough to take supported by quotes from the man himself and a further post (in a more standard interview format) will follow shortly. I had close to two hours of material to transcribe - it was an absolute pleasure and privilege speaking to the youngest guvnor on Savile Row and I hope you enjoy it.

The knitted ties and relaxed bow tie make for very appealing every day looks.

The English Way of Clashing...

"There is this classic English way of clashing patterns. A quintessentially English way of mixing patterns together which seems to have disappeared. The only people it seems who are rejoicing in this are the likes of Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers. There is a terrific book written by the Duke of Windsor about clothes and style which includes many pictures of Edward VII who was his hero. There are some great images of him wearing Bengal striped shirts with big brown checked tweed and different handkerchiefs which came together to create a riot of texture with all these elements coming together."

The Shetland knitwear is a real talking point

Back to School
"The aesthetic is much softer with a knitted tie rather than silk. It is almost dare I say it school boyish. Until recently I've not worn a V neck jumper under my suits since school and now I really like it. The Shetland knits are of course handknitted and the felt badges are sewn on by hand. Talking of which these were inspired by colleges using similar crests to differentiate themselves from another, so we have taken something old and forgotten and created a much talked about feature"

The perfect fit and softest leather in hand

Provenance is key...
"You could cycle around London and go to our shirt works in Hackney and go up to Walthamstow along the canal down Kingsland Road and stop off at the leather goods, along Clerkenwell Road to where the ties are made and cycle to here where we make the suits. It is amazing really, apart from the sweaters which are knitted in Shetland, everything else could be picked up by bicycle. I'm so pleased with this network of suppliers, everything that isn't currently made in Britain,will when we are more established. The British thing is certainly not a gimmick. We are competing with labels like Hermes and we are striving for the best. If a British supplier is not quite there yet we will work with them to get them there. The only materials that we buy from outside of the UK, are the shirt cottons which come from Italy and the leather for the bags which come from France - we don't do calves leather because we don't eat enough veal here, we need to change our diets before we get that sorted. I really enjoy that all of my suppliers are in the same time zone and speak the same language and it saves so much time and money."

These two looks sum up the main inspirations behind the collection, old colleges and the military.

Patrick Grant and his team create clothes that last. To illustrate the point, he pulled out an old E. Tautz jacket and its label had a 1910 date scribbled on it. The jacket was 101 years old and aside from a little wear and tear from the wearer's hunting exploits the jacket was in amazingly good condition. Grant himself, has three suits which were his Grandfather's, his evening tails, morning suit and one of his dinner suits which were all made in the 1930s (between 1933 and 1936).

Clothes should last...
"These days people will try things on twice and the garment starts to fall apart and he wants to change this, wanting to create garments which can be passed down from generation to generation, a piece of history. It is just a shame that so little of what is made today, particularly clothing, which will be worth tuppence in ten years time. We've got to the point where we would rather have ten cheap things than one good thing. There is something very charming about building a collection of clothes, every piece has a position in a wardrobe. As you build a wardrobe of clothes, starting in your 20s and continue doing so throughout your adult life and if you bought the good stuff then you will still have it at sixty years old, your wardrobe will almost tell the story of your life. One of our longest clients here died last year after being a customer since 1945 and had an extraordinary wardrobe. He wasn't an extravagant man but bought wisely and it certainly told a story. It is something of a lost art that a lot of people just don't consider anymore."

E. Tautz is a label which champions the notion of dressing properly and of men taking pride in what they wear. It adheres to the age old belief that how you dress reflects your respect for the event and for your host. Unfortunately, this sartorial mentality has been lost over the years but Patrick Grant is certainly helping us all remember. Edward VIII said it best. 'Be always well and suitably dressed for every conceivable occasion.


Anonymous said...

Loving your blog! So stylish and yet so witty at the same time...keep up the good work.

Giancinephile said...

It's nice to know that there is a certain appreciation on the behalf of the younger generation on Savile Row. It has always been aspirational and will continue to be so with such enthusiasm...

Anonymous said...

The quote "we've got to the point where we'd rather have 10 cheap things than one good thing" really sums it up for me (and I'll admit to being guilty on it)

Anonymous said...

There are so many great quotes from this post. Great post guys! Any idea where this will be stocked and a rough idea of price?

Ca said...

The English way of clashing patterns - a sartorial skill I truly admire.

Anonymous said...

anyone know the name of the model?

StyleSalvage said...

rachel holland: Thanks so much, you make us blush.
giancinephile: It has such an important street for 700 years now, I'm sure it will continue to be so and generation after generation will fall for its charm.
mrjameskent: Couldn't agree more.
James: There is more quotes and news to come
Ca: You admire well and have made it your own!
Chris: The model is James Cooper from Premier.

Anonymous said...

The model is James Cooper (my brother)a quintessential English look due to his red hair! But he has a real contemporary/edgy image too, check him out.
Louise Cooper


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