This was fun.
In 2005, one of my great customers, Neil Alston said he wanted something different. Really different.
OK, he’s got the beautiful clothes already.
But now what he wanted was something special for his 50th birthday party.
The theme of the party was “Sparkly”.
So what do you do? Simple. Order a hand-made, black, sequinned suit.
Not any black sequin, but with material supplied to me directly by Mr. Alston himself.
As he said to me in an e-mail:
“The cloth came from Dame Shirley Bassey’s supplier – and I think its Viennese sequinned material – hand stitched – I do remember getting a long, long lecture on it from the very knowledgeable guy when I went to get it – went up the Edgeware road a bit and turned right – there was a street market (no, the material did not come off a street stall) but there in this street was this fantasy fabric store.”
Now the fun begins, when you get to see the fear in your tailor’s eyes. Why? Because the prospect of having to witness my eighty-year old cutting blades trying to follow a clean line through hard-glazed sequins. Enough to grey the hair on a baby.
I pointed out to Mr. Alston that the material wouldn’t wear very well. Sequins don’t. He calmed me down, letting me know it only had to last one night. Fair enough.
It turned out a great success, thanks to the great skill and patience of my very tolerant sewing tailors (with this cloth, they needed to be).
Mr. Alston wore this little number at a very fine celebration at Morston Hall, a small hotel in North Norfolk owned and run by Michelin-Starred Chef Galton Blackiston and his wife Tracy.
Mr Alston’s business is farming, but he has a great interest in the tailoring craft, as he is a bit of an artisan himself. A superb chef, he even helped Galton Blackiston with his first book, “Cooking at Morston Hall” which was such a great success that they worked together on a second book too.
I suppose tailoring is like any other business – the best clients feel more like allies than customers. Mr Alston’s like that to me.
Image reproduced from englishcut.com
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