1. a pt. and pp. of bespeak.
2. British. a. (of clothes) made to individual order; custom made: a bespoke jacket. b. making or selling such clothes: a bespoke tailor.
This is the true-life story of a boy who quit school to become an apprentice on Savile Row, home to London’s most venerable tailors, and wound up owning his own shop on the world-famous ‘Golden Mile’, where he hand-cuts exquisite suits for a clientele including royalty, politicians, literati, business tycoons, and media stars.
On a bright, bitterly cold and snowy morning in January 1982, 17-year-old Richard Anderson made his way with his father to an interview at Savile Row’s illustrious Henry Huntsman & Sons. They were late, but Richard got the job, with its meagre salary of only £2,000 a year, and his life was changed forever.
Huntsman was arguably the world’s most prestigious tailoring house, and Richard’s apprenticeship proved a humbling ordeal overseen by three titans of the trade: the formidably debonair Colin Hammick, fellow chain-smoker and grumpy eccentric Brian Hall, and Dick Lakey, the company’s heroically overworked ‘leg man’. Training under these men in the arcane art of making trousers and coats that could cost as much as £10,000 was an inspiring but also gruelling game, yet ‘Young Richard’ persisted for 17 more years of rigorous practice in perfectionism and prestige – to become, at 34, the youngest head cutter in Huntsman’s 150-year history.
Witty and told with great candour, Bespoke is a fascinating behind-the-scenes exposé of life on Savile Row from one of the world’s most celebrated and successful tailors.