Respect for Slow Tailoring
It was while attending the last London Collections Men for Spring Summer I was introduced to the style of Hu Bing at the Belstaff presentation. Aside from his great look, he has a presence that has you take notice. Since then, I have followed more of what he does, so it was a pleasure to see him back last month at London Collections Men for the Winter collections, once again as the British Fashion Council’s only International Ambassador. In particular, I was interested in his time with Huntsman of Savile Row.
Hu Bing’s work stretches across many avenues – he is prolific as a top model, actor, singer, presenter, sportsman and philanthropist. Not a man who goes unnoticed by any means, Hu has modelled for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Dunhill. His acting skills have also seen him receive a nomination for Best Actor at the Rome International Film Festival for his role in The Back. The list is extensive and impressive, one that covers these, plus so much more.
Huntsman, established in 1849, has a strong history of bespoke tailoring for a refined and highly regarded clientele. Priding itself on its rich heritage, it was started by Henry Huntsman, with the bespoke fashion house moved to Savile Row in 1919. Huntsman has carried through to our current day with a history to be proud of. From the early days, Huntsman captured the attention of a high-profile clientele including King Edward VII amongst other royalty over the years such as King Alfonso of Spain. Amongst an impressive list of clients, you will find Viscount Winston Churchill, Rudolph Valentino, Clark Gable, Lawrence Olivier, Bing Crosby, Cecil Beaton, Paul Newman and the wonderful Gregory Peck who started a 50-year relationship with Huntsman in 1953. You may also remember Huntsman as a key feature in the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, which I featured one year ago (read here). With such a rich history and story, this is only a small piece of the Hunstman story.
Senior cutter at Huntsman, Robert Bailey, together with Ross Carson, Special Client Manager, measured Hu during his past summer visit for a three piece suit. Further fittings took place in both Shanghai and London in preparation for Hu’s return to London for the Winter events. The suit is in a luxurious, charcoal grey super 150s micro stripe, woven by textile house Scabal at its mill in Yorkshire.
The time taken to put together a suit and the attention to detail in the fitting alone is one of the reasons I am drawn to menswear. Yes, you can always get a quick fashion fix, but for me, I always have so much respect for what is referred to as “slow fashion” or “slow tailoring”, a conscious consideration to the timelessness of each piece of clothing. Not only in the aesthetic and experience in workmanship, but also in the use of quality merino wool, furthering the sustainability and quality of the suit.
A single breasted suit with one button fastening keeping within the distinct Huntsman house style, Hu’s suit is given a more contemporary finish with the suit being cut with peak lapels. To enhance the suit, a matching double-breasted waistcoat is added. The waistcoat in itself creates a separate look when worn on its own. A detail worth mentioning, although discreet, is on the in-breast pocket of the suit. Hu’s initials along with a small monkey are embroidered in red, in reference to Hu’s Asian roots and the approaching Chinese New Year.
In all the tradition, Hu’s eye was also drawn during his earlier June visit to Huntsman bold pink tweed, cut into a sports jacket. The soft pink ground and blue overcheck look wonderful and Hu was seen wearing this for his reminder of this stay in London.
I’m looking forward to June and being in London for London Collections Men, to visit Huntsman and once again share my fascination with their creations.
Be sure to take a look at the Huntsman website: www.h-huntsman.com
Further reading on The Man Has Style: “Kingsman”, January 2015.
Words and Interview by Sarah Crawford, Founder & Editor