Monday, 27 September 2010
The commissions of Timothy Everest
Timothy Everest is a beast of many parts. A tailor who began his career sketching designs for Tommy Nutter, lauded at one point as a saviour of Savile Row alongside Ozwald Boateng and Richard James, he now keeps a delightfully eccentric townhouse in Shoreditch that produces true bespoke clothes for some rather flamboyant clients.
On the other side of his enterprise is the consultancy, design and licensing work, which includes advising Marks & Spencer for the past 10 years and launching a branded Autograph line, designing the suits for the 2010 World Cup England team, performing similar services for various Olympics teams and helping Asian clients style ‘English’ collections. Oh, and he also did the outfits for a variety of films, including Eyes Wide Shut.
Fittingly, this advisory side of the business is situated on the other side of Commercial Street, in an old block that looks very different from the Georgian tailoring house on Elder Street. It is the latter on which we will focus here.
I am particularly interested in the way Tim’s advisory work informs unique bespoke commissions for some individuals and companies. Indeed, the terms commission and collaboration merge very quickly, as one suit becomes a uniform or a product line. I highlight four such commissions here.
The first is for the renegade Swiss watch company Urwerk, which produces traditionally made pieces that are so modern I frankly don’t know how to tell the time on them (check out the website). The team of three (Felix, Martin, Jancine) went to Tim to commission a set of suits they could wear as a kind of uniform to presentations and meetings.
Tim came up with charcoal suits (13 ounce Lesser) that use occasional yellow details to make each one individual (black and yellow are the company colours). Each is also a different ensemble – one a three-piece, one with a skirt, one with an action back. Keeping the traditional in mind, the suits have a grosgrain inlay in the lapel that then runs down the whole facing of the suit. That design is echoed on the waistcoat.
The second commission was a cycling jacket for Luke Scheybeler, the co-founder of cycling brand Rapha. This went through many iterations, the first of which you see here and the last of which became a collaboration sold by Rapha. The colours here were a little experimental, therefore.
This version features three pleats across the back (two at the side, as in an action back, and one in the centre, the top of which is shown here) to enable the cyclist to reach the handlebars comfortably. The foreparts button up underneath the pocket flaps, to give the legs room to swing and reveal reflective material. The same happens with the turn-back cuffs and melton under the collar. The back has two buttoned pockets, later reduced to one. In a nice twist on tradition, the jacket was fitted on Luke while he was sitting on a bike, rather like the way tailors used to riding britches sitting on a saddle.
I love the detail of the hand-sewn triangle stopper at the top of the centre pleat.
Commission number three is a copy of an old Brioni travel blazer from the 1960s, made for Julian Koski (though his was navy with red stitching). Aside from the beautiful hand stitching around all the edges, the jacket features a cigar-case pocket in front of the right-hand outbreast pocket, a strap to hold your Financial Times in place in the hip pocket (originally, with Brioni’s ads, a Wall Street Journal), and – purely for the eccentricity of it – one epaulette.
The jacket has proved very popular with Tim’s customers since it was first made, perhaps because this version has hung so temptingly in the cloth room ever since it was made as a prototype. Customers have had versions with the strap on the other side, no cigar pocket, a bigger cigar pocket and a glass-case pocket, as well as different colour cloths and stitching.
Tim is a big believer in marrying retail and tailoring. Customers are used to the retail experience and find it a double challenge to describe what they want and then wait months to get it. To make the first easier, Tim keeps items like this around the Elder Street house to inspire people.
Which is my excuse for showing the last item. Not a commission originally, but a summer blazer in pale grey with plain silver buttons. It is cut short and, at least partly as a result, has appealed to younger customers. Doubtless the trousers they were with it will be equally cropped. Pulling back the cuff reveals some pale yellow lining, as well as the handwork that keeps the cuff in place.
Details soon of a design of my own.
Photography by Andy Barnham