Restaurateur Juan Santa Cruz’s favourite hatmaker

The investment banked-turned-restaurateur heads to Huntsman for bespoke caps to match his tweed suits

Juan Santa Cruz, left, with senior client manager Ross Carson at Savile Row tailor Huntsman
Juan Santa Cruz, left, with senior client manager Ross Carson at Savile Row tailor Huntsman | Image: Jooney Woodward

“I go through hat phases. I’ll wear one almost all the time, then you won’t see me in one for months. I never fall out of love with hats, but, if I am wearing my hair longer, I would rather not have hat hair when I take it off.

Since I moved to London five years ago to open my restaurant Casa Cruz, one of the many things I have discovered that I love about England is the wonderful tradition of hats. The best discovery was tweed caps, which I came across for the first time when I was invited shooting. I had done some duck shooting in Argentina, but nothing had prepared me for driven shooting in England. I will never forget that morning I woke up, had breakfast and looked out of the window to find it raining sideways. It being my first time, I did not have the right kit, so I was soaked before the end of the first drive. I thought, ‘This is not that much fun’.

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But then there were elevenses with all the drinks and the friends, and lunch was so much fun that by the final drive of the day I was totally in love with shooting English style. Now it is one of my favourite things to do. As a foreigner, I have got to know England and Scotland through shooting and seen how beautiful and varied this enchanted island is. 

Shooting has meant a whole new set of clothes, and as my friend Pierre Lagrange owns Savile Row tailor Huntsman, it is there I go for most of my tweeds. Of course with tweed suits I wear tweed caps – they are warm and surprisingly waterproof; I usually buy them ready-made, but I have just had a bespoke eight-piece cap made from the same cloth as a new suit – a green flannel from [Belgian textile company] Scabal that I picked because it is similar to but lighter than tweed, and perfect for grouse shooting. At first, I was reluctant to have the suit, breeches and hat in the same fabric, but Huntsman handled the making perfectly. It may be a bit of an indulgence, as I have only shot grouse a few times, but I found the experience thrilling. I couldn’t wait to wear them when the season began.

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During the summer, however, when I travel to Italy or Greece, or if I go back to South America for Christmas and spend New Year in Punta del Este, you will see me in a Lock & Co Panama. I don’t know how many I have bought since moving here, but they are my constant hot weather companion. The folding kind is the most practical for travelling and they are almost perfect. The only thing I change is the band; I prefer a colour or a stripe. I also adore the fedoras that Borsalino makes for Lock & Co and, even though I only wear the navy-blue ones in London, I also have grey and green ones. It didn’t take me long to discover Lock & Co on St James’s Street after I moved here – I was completely smitten then, and I still am.”

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