Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rebel on the Row

While the women of the swinging sixties in London were decked head to toe in Biba, the men were wearing Tommy Nutter.

Nutter was the avant-garde Saville Row Tailor (who originally started off studying plumbing and architecture), who in the sixties single-handily reconciled the centuries old traditions of Saville Row tailoring with the so-called “peacock revolution” sweeping men’s fashion at the time. Nutter and the men he dressed were the new dandies of the twentieth century.

His initial business took London and the preconceived notions of how men should dress by storm. Tommy Nutter produced lively, contemporary tailoring whose roots were deeply embedded in the craftsmanship and knowledge of Saville Row. He designed for the Hardy Amies range, and then for the man himself. His clients included his investors, plus Sir Roy Strong, Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger and Elton John.

Nutter’s clients apart from the rich and famous also included the aspiring dandies from London’s East End who aspired to nothing more than owning a suit from Tommy Nutter.
Nutter also applied his craft to dressing female icons of swinging London society at the time, including Cilla Black, a close friend, and Bianca Jagger, who was much photographed at the time in a white dinner jacket with white satin facings. Nutter also made a red velvet suit for Twiggy which became a celebrated and much-copied look when she was photographed wearing it in the early Seventies.

In 1971 he was elected to the Best-Dressed List in the United States, along with the Earl of Snowdon and Hardy Amies. At the time, American Menswear magazine said of Nutter that he was 'tradition spiced with daring'.

'He never got things wrong about clothes,' said the restaurateur and bookshop-owner Stuart Grimshaw, who was a client of Tommy Nutter's from the late Sixties. 'He really knew what he was talking about. One would go in and say, 'What do I wear to go on safari in Kenya?' and Tommy would make one an absolutely correct safari suit, a proper one with all the pockets in exactly the right place’


  1. Mick and Bianca were a great pair, he's always had good women.

    Aren't we though sort of glad that these styles have moved along and are gone? I mean, yes, we like to be properly dressed, but white suits, white gloves, white shoes--no. Five inch wide lapels, no. Blouson trousers, no.

  2. This posting certainly brings back memories of a maroon suit I owned in 1971. It had lapels five inches wide. I wore a white and maroon striped shirt with it, and a maroon polka dot tie that was also about five inches wide. I have a funny memory of passing my parents on my way out the door and seeing their jaws drop.

    My next suit was dark blue, from Brooks Brothers.

  3. It was the time indeed; he was genius and exquisite in his tailoring and panache!


    Art by Karena

  4. Love the history behind this! Ha, although I think I would get shot if I walked the streets wearing this today.. Nonetheless, it is classy!

    LOVE!, Angel

  5. Hello David:
    We were there! But not, unfortunately, in a Tomy Nutter suit. Biba was our Mecca, Barbara Hulanicki and Mary Quant our muses. However, Roy Strong continues to this day in the dandy about town look which TN made so famous. Indeed, at a mutual friend's funeral Sir Roy appeared in a white, three piece suit which could have been straight from the TN cutting room.

    All such fun, just as fashion should be in our view!

  6. Hellooooooo Super David !

    It's me, Jean-Pierre MATTEI ( i tell this in case my avatar still doesn't appear )

    Forgive me to be so " unhere "....but it was also the same on my own blog .

    Hope everything s still fine and you have a wonderful summer.

    I do !
    Here, on the French Riviera the weather is perfect ! Not hot, not cold ! ( and that's very rare here at this period ! )

    I didn't know Tommy Nutts at all !
    And sure the shape of it's suits must have been very different at time !
    ( and made for me too !^^ )

    I aslo liked the new Lanvin's world ! Fantastic pics !

    And as for Shaun Samson : great great great !

    Have a beautiful wednesday Wonder Dav !

  7. NICE! I wish there were someone designing the like today!

  8. Your blog is really great and interesting.
    Tommy Nutter was so talented.
    Great post.

  9. Hello friend!
    Thank you for the affection he left the Soul!

    I've been letting my embrace and honor of its space-happy!

    I'm waiting for you at the Soul!

  10. What rad suits! Love the history behind this designer. Umm ... he dress Elton John & Mick Jagger ... pretty dang sweet!

    ♥ Cat brideblu

  11. Jane and Lance, how fascinating both of you are! You are able to give such a personal slant on my posts sometimes!

    CAt, yep he dressed them all!

    Vinicius, You are so very welcome. See you there!

    Dimitri, One of the most talented menswear designers of the time

    Il Duce, we could dress up together!

    Angel, you could try , you would look smashing!

    KArena, yep lots of panache

    Mark, you have just reminded me that I had a pair of maroon elephant cords which I used to wear with a white belt!

    Joseph, don't you think you are being a little harsh?

  12. Lapels, lapels, lapels. It is rather startling to revisit the menswear lapel at its widest Nutter incarnation when the current fashion is so narrow, and I feel, stingy. Although not this wide, Tom Ford seems to prefer a very wide lapel. I also opt for the slightly generous one. They're more flattering. The narrow cuts look Pee-wee Herman-ish, and are only suitable for teenage beanpoles. Now that fewer and fewer men wear tailored garments, they need to understand these distinctions and how, more than exercise, they determine the appearance of the body.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin