When I was in our London office recently I had the chance to have a good chat with a friend who’s been on Savile Row longer than we’d both care to remember. Peter Day of Denman & Goddard was telling me all about this lovely garment that was made around 1895. It’s a junior diplomats uniform, or secretary to the ambassador with the diplomatic corps. This is a rather grand uniform but these were the grand days of the British Empire when dignitaries from around the globe wouldn’t have expected anything less.
The workmanship on this material is incredible. Let me elaborate on a few things. First of all every stitch is by hand, every one, even the the long side seams. Also the doeskin it’s made of is far superior than anything available today. Sadly, you can’t feel the texture but to give you some idea the bottom of the coat is a raw cut edge. As in there’s no turn up or seam. The fabric’s so tightly woven it’s not frayed in the slightest. Of course today we’d never dream of leaving a raw edge like this. However, if we could you couldn’t get anything as clean and elegant.
When this was supplied by the military tailors of the day they took care of everything the hat and even the sword. As you can see below the tailors name of Meyer & Mortimer can be seen on the sword blade. Obviously it comes as no surprise to find all the gold leaf embroidery is done by hand using 2% gold over silver wire laid on silk velvet. There was a few people who specialised in gold embroidery at the time such as Hands & Co, Hobosons of Tooley Street. There were more and it’s amazing they employed a lot of people creating the beautiful embroidery that was needed in those grand old days.
I can’t thank Peter enough for such an insight and I must say he always makes time for people. Apart from being a very nice chap there’s no doubt how respected a figure he is in our craft. However, what made me smile most that day was how after all these years he was still so excited when he was looking at such beautiful work. After all that’s why we’re in this business.
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