Think of Knightsbridge, and what images flicker in you mind? Luxury. Elegance. Ridiculously over-priced obscure drinks made of ingredients no one in the world has heard of sold in Harrods, you know, to name a few. The cornerstone of sophistication that Knightsbridge is known for comes from its distinguished approach to style. Perhaps no other garment typifies the apogee of men's style more than the bespoke suit. I've always said that above all, fit is the most important when it comes to a suit You could have a suit made fabrics worth more than your own life, but if it doesn't fit, well, then what's the point?
The suit is a piece of evolution. It does not, as most clothes do, have a particular origin and instead is interlaced with histories. The latest strand of this suiting evolution comes from the tailoring company Sean Christopher, who have made their home in Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge. I was delighted to be invited to a private store visit by POP PR.
When you enter, it's as if the lavish luxury of the area is carried on into the store. "It's yellow!" most people will think of immediately. The colour is associated with creative stimulation, which, for a place like Sean Christopher, is nothing but apt. I was greeted by the POP PR representative Zain. Dressed in a navy turtleneck, Zain cheerily greeted me and led me into the sartorial camaraderie. Propping himself up, the right hand man to Sean, Giacamo, heartily shook my hand and was dressed to match the mannequins. He set the scene quite nicely: time for me to suit up!
Giacamo chose for me this awesome number for me. A beautifully polished suede blazer, complete with oversized shawl lapel, haughty silk pocket square and decadent button fastening. Being a single breasted blazer with one button, its allusions to the debaucharous Jazz Age and rounded dynamic complimented my shorter frame, #ShortPeopleProblems. I feel that this blazer encapsulates the versatility of functional, modern tailoring, and the need to update the familiar with a flit of the new.
The titular Sean has many embellished accreditations to his name, having previously worked at Yves Saint Laurent an Chanel. His suiting aesthetic ticks off everything from the British Heritage tweed blazer to a resplendent purple navy suit.
I really empathise with Sean, who chooses not to pan to trends, but instead, uses tailoring as an opportunity to bring a voice to the client. To let them tell their own story, unlike the generalised ones that the high-street try to do (I mean, Topman's 'longer fit' trend might as well be readying me up for my role as a Munckin in Wicked). The first baste curated, with each stitch, each button and each inner lining, every bunce chronicles and weaves together a narrative. Sean and his raconteur crew guide the client, helping to choose the most flattering fit and cut for them.
When I shop around, the feel of the garment is the most important. A beautifully sculptured piece may be pleasing to the eye, but bristly on the skin. I wouldn't really want to wear a knitted jumper that's as rough as David Beckham's 2003 braids. Ariston Napoli are one of the cornucopia of fabric delights that supply a bounty of mixed and pure wool, breathable silk, tweed, dulcet cotton, corduroys and velvets that shape the suits. Napoli's clinquant fabrics radiated in the light. They were so nice to touch, my H&M suit just doesn't feel the same anymore...
The sheer variety of fabrics on offer compliments the equally varied designs; everything is customisable. The Spring / Summer 2015 breeze has fluttered in window patterns and chalk stripes. Deconstructed jacketing shifts the suiting dynamic to one that flirts in-between the casual and the formal, with colours being a palette of gentle pastels, fresh and Prince of Wales checks, alongside the rich, shimmering tones of navy. Sean pampers you with everything and more you could look for in a bespoke suit experience.
The Sean Christoper experience. What is it exactly?
As only the most supple of fabrics surround you, you can freely make the suit to your liking. Right down to having the option of stitching your phone number underneath the lapel, as Giacomo told me!
This tragic bar story aside, Sean Christopher delivers an au fait example of suit craftsmanship that I would willingly not eat for a month to be able to purchase. The finish of the suit lends not to glossy trends for meaning, but to self-interpretation. In a world of fast-food fashion churned out at every second, a hand-tailored and self-customised suit is a treasure. I know where my student loan is going next semester...
"A Fashion, is really just dress up. It is a costume that either echoes our identity or allows us freedom to dress and be whoever we want to be on any given day. I incorporate style with art visually by narrating the client's style and story." - Sean Christopher.
What do you all think of the collection?
You can follow Sean Chrispher on both Twitter and Instagram.
copyright © josh milton 2017