Something Sparkly Please

Mr Alston & Thomas Mahon on Savile Row

Mr Alston & Thomas Mahon on Savile Row

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.

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About Thomas Mahon

Thomas Mahon is one of the most experienced tailors on Savile Row with a list of clients including royalty, celebrities and business icons. Tom has almost thirty years experience of hand tailoring in Savile Row including five years at Savile Row’s most famous and respected tailor, Anderson & Sheppard. His clients experience the traditions and expertise of the finest bespoke tailoring available today using a soft and unstructured style typical of Anderson & Sheppard. His workshop is based at Warwick Hall in Cumbria and also meets clients at his office in London, Tom also makes regular trips to visit his growing international client base in Europe, the USA and further afield. When not creating beautiful bespoke suits, travelling to see clients or sharing his sartorial advice with his internet followers, Tom enjoys teaching sailing and is the boats officer for the Sea Cadet Corps near his Cumbria home. For the full story visit
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