February 02 2011
One Savile Row outfit has found a stylish way to combine fine art with bespoke suits. While the mention of a collaboration between tailors and artists could conjure up images of creations suitable for the bold and the beautiful, though not necessarily for the boardroom, Cad & The Dandy’s approach satisfies both.
Founded by former City workers James Sleater and Ian Meiers in 2008, Cad & The Dandy offers bespoke tailoring – machine- and hand-stitched – from three London locations (the other two are in the City and Canary Wharf). Underpinning a serious commitment to time-honoured techniques of cut and construction, and “the conviction that high-end bespoke tailoring should be accessible to all”, is a leaning towards the “totally unique and radical” – and it’s all in the lining.
In December 2010, Cad & The Dandy teamed up with progressive Austria-based fashion label BusinessPunks, which produces fine-art fabrics. With the option of using its bold designs as a lining, customers can add a sub-layer to their pinstripe – perhaps a vibrant graffiti-print by Buntlack (second picture) or quirky comic-style illustrations by Ohyun Kwon.
“The linings have been popular,” says Sleater. “Lots of women have bought them as gifts for their husbands, and fathers for their sons.” Building on the success of this “Rebel of Uniformity” option, Cad & The Dandy has added designs by British painter Paul Karslake, a “modern surrealist” whose subjects include icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Keith Richards, and even the infamous Kray twins. And to make things even more individual, its latest collaboration is with DNA Art UK, which creates a visual interpretation of a client’s chromosomal make-up (cells are collected from the client by rubbing a swab inside their cheek). The unique genes in the DNA are made visible with dye and ultraviolet light, then captured with a special camera. Cad & The Dandy turns the resulting image into an eye-catching silk to a client’s colour specifications (first picture).
So what does the print of a unique human genome look like? Well, surprisingly like a fabric design – and surprisingly cool, considering the geekiness behind it. There are no cell structures or molecular strands, and the result is bold and blocky with bands of colour resembling neon lights. Quite literally a flash of personality in a sea of suits.