Thursday, April 26, 2012

Off Savile Row: Douglas Hayward

It was a couple of years ago when I first heard that a couple of former Kilgour cutters had decamped for Douglas Hayward on Mount Street. But it was only on my most recent London trip that I managed to finally stop by. And it was long overdue.

Douglas Hayward shop

Hayward is located in Mayfair on Mount Street, within easy walking distance of Savile Row. There I met Ralph, who works the front of the house, and chatted with him a bit before one of the cutters, Campbell Carey walked out to greet me. Amazingly, Campbell remembered my name after having last met some three or four years ago when he and head cutter Ritchie Charlton were working at Kilgour.

Hayward cutter Campbell Carey
Cutter Campbell Carey

I have fond memories of the previous incarnation of Kilgour when they offered full bespoke (cut and made in Savile Row) and entry level bespoke (cut in Savile Row but made and finished in Shanghai). I still think they make the best-looking one button peak lapel jackets around.

Kilgour's new ownership decided to offer only full bespoke as a way to move squarely back into high-end luxury. However, I think it's very commercially astute of Hayward to offer an entry level bespoke (in fact the same Shanghai program from the old Kilgour offering), given the expanding market of discerning male customers in the last few years, mostly in the younger demographic. This younger demographic typically has the will and desire but not the pocketbook for full bespoke, which smells like an opportunity to me.

In fact, Hayward offers three price levels: full bespoke (cut and made in London), entry level bespoke (Shanghai) and a MTM program (made in Portugal, and allows for modifications such as adjusting the armhole). A 2 piece suit currently costs (inclusive VAT): full bespoke 3,300 GBP, entry level Shanghai 2,000 GBP and MTM Portugal 1,700 GBP.

After Douglas Hayward passed away in 2008, Campbell and Ritchie, backed by their investors, acquired the Hayward name and store, which was redone to open up the ceilings and windows which look into Mount Street Gardens. Their cutting table commands perhaps the best view of all the Savile Row tailoring houses. It certainly has the most bucolic view.

Ritchie and Campbell have created a hybrid style amalgamating the original Hayward cut and Kilgour's, resulting in a full chest like Kilgour but a softer shoulder, less aggressive semi-slant pockets and a more "squared" notch on the lapel, which effectively makes for a fuller lapel compared to a Kilgour lapel. It's a terrific look in my opinion. When I visited, I saw two great examples: an 11oz tweed coat made of Islay Woolen Mill fabric with vintage stag horn buttons and a dark navy blue velvet jacket (in the very elusive silk velveteen weave that I had been looking for).

Hayward tweed jacket
Hayward Islay Mill tweed jacket 

Hayward tweed jacket stag horn buttons
Close-up of vintage stag horn buttons

An interesting side note. When it came to pattern making, Douglas Hayward practiced a different cutting style than is traditionally taught. Both Ritchie and Campbell rely substantially on the paper pattern to create the garment, whereas apparently Hayward started essentially from scratch, relying on memory to cut and tweak the customer's pattern afresh every time. For him, the paper pattern was less important than the fitting process.

Thanks to Campbell, I also finally found a source for silk velveteen in the same 81%/19% cotton/silk composition as the old Richard James Weldon book. The key advantage of silk velveteen is that the pile is less visible than pure cotton velvet, which can look a bit dull compared to its more lustrous cousin. Incidentally, the shop uses a local husband and wife team for the special frogging and braiding required for smoking jackets.

If you're serious about a smoking jacket with distinction, I'd suggest having a chat with Campbell and Ritchie. They're also pictured in the nice Savile Row photo spread in the new Esquire Spring/Summer 2012 Big Black Book (p. 100).

7 comments:

Roger v.d. Velde said...

The squared-off lapel notch was actually a sign of a Douglas Hayward suit. You see it on suits he made for Michael Caine, Terence Stamp, Michael Parkinson, among his celebrity clients.

Андрей said...

Unfortunately, Audie Charles and Lesley Haines don't work here anymore.

This is "Hayward" only by name; more like "Kilgour 2" to me.

Андрей said...

BTW, let me use this opportunity to say that I enjoyed your blog so much -- especially entries on London tailors & shops.

Anonymous said...

As much as I enjoy your blog, I have noticed quite a few inaccuracies as of late.

Take the example of this post on Hayward - they do not offer a Shanghai bespoke product - only the Portugese MTM and their own bespoke.

sleevehead said...

Roger and Andrey, many thanks for the comments.

Anonymous - When I visited Hayward, we discussed the Shanghai program at some length, including pricing. Perhaps I was imaginatively interpolating everything that transpired but even on my best days I am not that creative!

sleevehead said...

I recently have been in touch with Campbell and my information on the Shanghai entry level is indeed correct. However, he clarified that it is not offered to new customers.

I am glad to convey that clarification, as I don't wish to confuse matters for anyone. At the moment, I am leaving up the entry-level reference, but may remove it in the future pending further guidance from the folks at Hayward.

If I may modestly point out, my apparent "misinformation" is actually useful, inside information for those interested in bespoke ;)

Anonymous said...

Who makes the silk velveteen? Cheers, DR