This weekend, Goodwood Revival is the perfect opportunity for its founder to don dapper-with-a-twist tweeds cut by Terry Haste. But everyday suits have a quirk or two too
I first met Terry Haste when he was a tailor at Hackett. I used to live in Fulham and when the shop was in Parsons Green, I knew Jeremy [Hackett] and his partner Ashley [Lloyd-Jennings] well, and bought second-hand shirts and first world war officers’ boots from them. I loved all that stuff. Then they got rather grand and went to Sloane Street: Jeremy set up a full tailoring operation – and Terry was ‘the man’. I had my first pieces made by him in about 1992 and we hit it off immediately; since then I have followed him wherever he has gone. After Hackett, he went to Huntsman – where he was head cutter/managing director – and then a few years ago he opened his own business with John Kent and Stephen Lachter. They now have the royal warrant for the Duke of Edinburgh. Terry’s a great character – we have a laugh and he’s very good at what he does.
Terry comes down to Goodwood when I need him to and I also see him in London. He knows how I want things done, what’s good for me and, like me, he is a perfectionist and will persist until he’s got things right. He also understands the importance of detail: for example, I like to have the jettings of my jacket inbreast pockets in a contrasting colour to the rest of the lining – a little touch that only I will see.
Recently, Terry has put me onto this wonderful lightweight fabric called Panama. I especially like it in this colour [first picture], which is a wonderful royal blue, so had it made in the three-button, single-breasted style that Terry has been making for me since I first met him, the lapel width of which has remained unchanged for over 20 years: a rather narrow two-and-a-half inches. I am so fond of this cloth that he’s now making me a double-breasted suit in the same fabric.
Terry also understands my love of old fabrics and has made me some wonderful suits for the Revival [the vintage car racing festival held at Goodwood every September]; I have got a spectacularly spiffy brown chalkstripe and all sorts of old tweeds. For summer, he makes me linen suits, which are of course what Goodwood’s race meeting is famous for.
One year Edward VII turned up in a white top hat, and so the next year everyone turned up wearing white top hats, but that year he turned up in a white linen suit and a Panama hat. From then on, Goodwood was much more relaxed. Terry has been creative in making me garments that capture that sort of spirit: one of my favourites is a slightly weird, very short black evening jacket; it’s sort of Scottish, but really he made it up. I wear it with a yellow waistcoat, collarless shirt and trousers in the Gordon hunting tartan, so it’s quite casual, but at the same time a rather formal-looking evening outfit.
Of course, the great thing about having suits made by a tailor is that if you choose well in terms of fabric and cut, then look after them well, they will last forever. I am a little hard on my linen suits, but everything else Terry has made seems indestructible. I still have the first suit he made for me – it was double-breasted in a grey Prince of Wales check, and I’m very pleased that my son is now wearing it.
Fitted suits from tuxedo maestro Henry Poole – complete with an iPhone pocket – are the paradigm of bespoke tailoring for Aston Martin’s towering design director
I had my first bespoke suit made back in 2005, coincident with becoming Aston Martin’s design director and wanting to understand the nature of bespoke and what that actually offers a customer. Thinking from an Aston Martin perspective made me think about my own personal perspective as well, and I went along to Savile Row. I wanted to experience the process because I’d heard so much about it, and at 6ft4 I’m quite tall, so suits off the rack were always a compromise.
As Henry Poole is one of the oldest tailors on Savile Row and the inventor of the tuxedo, the first suit I had made was a tux. I wanted to celebrate and have something for special occasions, and I could think of no better thing that would last me forever – your dinner suit is something that you’re going to have for the rest of your life.
Since then I have had a suit made every year or so. What’s important for me is the choice of cloth. Quite often, when you’re buying off the peg, you don’t get to choose the material, you’re just choosing the style; whereas the reason you go to a tailor is to pick the material and turn it into a suit style that you like. I have a lot of mohair suits because the smartness of the fabric and how it keeps its form and shape – its precision – appeals to me. I’m not into an excess of material; I prefer my suits tight fitting – I was a punk in my teens and I’ve always worn very tight trousers. I also don’t like pleats at the front. At the moment I am having a suit made in a wonderful Donegal cashmere with a very tight leg, a 14-inch drainpipe. It is also waisted and fitted, to accentuate my height and form.
But of course, a suit is about much more than just the aesthetics. It’s very important to me from a functional point of view – if there is a button on a suit, on the sleeve, it should actually hold something together rather than be decorative, so if I want to open my sleeves and roll them up, I can. I also specify a separate pocket on the inside to fit an iPhone 6+, another for my business cards and one for credit cards that has a little button closure so I don’t have to carry a wallet. I hate carrying wallets around as they always bulge. And talking of bulges, being quite vain I suppose one of the other things about having a suit tailormade for you is that it forces you into maintaining a certain body type!
Pared-down tailoring from Huntsman and Anderson & Sheppard reflects the relaxed style of the environmentalist and founder of new green investment fund Menhaden Capital
My father used to have his suits made at Caraceni in Milan, but they were all too big for me, so I gave them to my brothers Zac and Jethro, who had them taken in. I still wear my father’s top hat once a year to Ascot, but that’s also too big for me and I look like the Artful Dodger.
It was my mother who sent me to Doug Hayward on Mount Street, because that was where her first husband, Mark Birley, used to have his clothes made. My father and Mark were two people who really knew how to live, and I learnt a lot from them both.
Around the time that Doug died, a friend of mine, Stephen Murphy, bought Huntsman and asked me to go there. Funnily enough, it is now owned by another friend, Pierre Lagrange. Doug’s had been very informal; he always sat in a chair at the front of the shop and chatted to whoever was on the sofa, people like Michael Caine and Terry O’Neill. Huntsman is very different – the whole vibe reminds me slightly of Eton. I remember first standing in the fitting room and seeing Clark Gable’s pattern hanging on the wall, which I thought was amazing. Although head cutter Dario Carnera [fifth picture] has not quite managed to make me look like Clark Gable, the three-button blue suit he made for me works perfectly.
I’m actually rather relaxed in my style inasmuch as I do not give too much thought to my clothes: I only have five or six suits that I wear for work. I’ve got plain navy and plain grey suits traditionally cut like this one [fourth picture], with as little extra detail as possible. For instance, on this suit I do not have pocket flaps.
Recently, my half-brother Robin Birley sent me to Anderson & Sheppard. Robin dresses beautifully, but I am rather less fastidious and there are times when I find that my ‘suit’ is actually from two different tailors – earlier this year you could have seen me wearing the Huntsman jacket with an Anderson & Sheppard pair of trousers, which more or less match. This was my brother’s fault really; I went to his house to collect my children and left my jacket hanging on the door. By the time I was ready to go, he’d managed to pick up the jacket and wore it for three days before he noticed. I’m not sure I’m going to get it back!