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’

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