I remember being too scared to enter Anderson and Sheppard during my first couple of trips to London. It reeked in its patinated propriety, of the Empire. And I reeked, in my skulking around London digging for old books and prints casualness, of American savagery. Even though never during those times that I walked by 30 Savile Row, did I sport a fanny pack or baseball cap. It made no difference. I had no business going in there. Literally.
So the first time I darkened the doors of Anderson and Sheppard, my augmentation for trace elements of legitimacy and purpose was my wife to be. We were dressed for an early dinner and the theatre. With her—and a decent Flusser sportcoat on, I felt brave enough to go in. These first two pictures capture the stodgy elegance of the old Anderson and Sheppard shop on Savile Row. My condolences to those of you who missed it.
They were predictably poised, reserved and accommodating. I was, predictably, flushed with all of the good neurochemicals that washes over one when amidst…you know…those moments. I was in fellowship with all of the massive bolts of textilian beauty that inhabited the showroom tables. But more so for me, the excitement came from knowing that I was where, literally, Astaire, Cooper, Beerbohm and scores of others had come to execute their sartorial desires.
My always (things change…shut up) pleasant wife-to-be was a great buffer and conversationalist and…enabler of my wandering the bolts and rows till it was time to leave. They took down my details and for years, I would receive one of the most modest brochures imaginable, announcing their visits to the States. Marriage, other expensive proclivities and a devotion to Flusser always kept me from pulling the A&S trigger. And it’s a good thing that I’ve never imbibed. For having done so would have assured that my currently negative net-worth would be negative-er.
Anderson and Sheppard…A Style Is Born won’t equal the Flusser tomes in offering sartorial instruction but it knocks it out of the park otherwise. It’s very well written and is the antithesis of the recent and slapdash, thrown together kids coloring book, Preppy—Cultivating Ivy Style. This is a book for grownups.
Graydon Carter et al have created a structural thing of beauty and made sure that the occupying content equals the configuration. It’s a coffee table book. With an erudite expression of Anderson and Sheppard’s genesis as well as a nice glimpse of what I’m gratified to see, a seemingly bright future.
The soft suit—Scholte drape antecedent to Anderson and Sheppard is more clearly and thoroughly explained here than in any other source I’ve encountered. And, at least for me, another general interpretation of the Row and the business of cutting and making clothes is part of the narrative here.
I knew before I got my hands on this book, that if Christopher Simon Sykes, an A&S customer himself, had any input on the visual parts of the A&S story, it would be stellar. Some of my favorite books…those that I pull down from time to time just to get an aesthetic bolus, are illustrated with Sykes’ photographs.
I’m not a book reviewer and LFG is gonna wake any moment. So let me cease gushing about this treasure of a book and just throw some additional visual candy out there for you.
A Prince...in A&S double breasted casual splendor. Thomas Mahon, late of A&S and now Lord of English Cut, used to fit Charles' sloped shoulders.
Cecil Beaton in seersucker...the most frivolous material to request Savile Row caliber interpretation and workmanship. I've done it. Twice.
Clothes. In work.
Trouser treatments. I'll have one of each. I've had. One of each.
Oppenheimer and Capp. Two unlikely A&S bookends no? Shut up already. Of course Fred damn Astaire is in the book.
Onward. About to feed my tiny dancer daughter Krispy Kreme donuts. We're out of money for a proper breakfast. Now go online and order A Style is Born. Right now.