To bespoke customers, the name is synonymous with Turnbull & Asser. Mr Quin became the Royal Warrant holder on April 23, 1999. The Prince of Wales passed the Royal Warrant to him following the retirement of head cutter Mr Paul Cuss after the brand was first bestowed with the honour in 1980. Responsible for fitting Prince Charles whenever he is in need of a new shirt, Mr Quin currently heads up the bespoke store on Bury Street. We sat down with Mr Quin to talk all things Turnbull & Asser.
What, for you, makes a great bespoke shirt?
A combination of things go into making a great bespoke shirt but, most importantly, it has to be the fit. The shirt has to fit the customers’ specific requirements and general lifestyle – whether that be a loose/easy fit or a tailored fit. Then, of course, the styling of the shirt. This factors in the collar and cuff detail and any special requirements or personalisation that they [the client] would require.
You are the current Royal Warrant holder. How does that impact what you do?
I have always thought it to be a great honour to hold the Royal Warrant as shirtmaker to the Prince of Wales, but it does come with great responsibilities. We have had the good fortune to have made shirts for His Royal Highness for the past 40 or so years and I have personally had the privilege for 19 of those years, but it is truly a real team effort. The skills required through every process – from the factory production to the merchandisers to the sales team – help shape and retain the standards and quality for which we pride ourselves upon.
Can you share any anecdotes about working with a legendary customer?
We had made shirts for Mr Daniel Craig’s inaugural turn as James Bond in Casino Royale. Unfortunately, Mr Craig had broken his arm during the tour of worldwide premieres. We were asked to visit his hotel suite in London to measure him for a bespoke sling, made from a black fabric that would complement his dress suit that he tended to wear to these events. Imagine that, a bespoke sling.
T&A have notably made shirts for films including Bond and Kingsman. Dressing gentlemen for high-octane action sequences must come with certain challenges?
For the Pierce Brosnan Bond films, we would make several dozen shirts of any particular style and then a similar amount for the stuntmen. The number of shirts required could exceed well over a hundred shirts per film. As the Bond films naturally became more action-packed, we developed different fits for Daniel Craig: a very tailored fit for the more scripted scenes, to something more forgiving for the action/fight scenes. This was also the case for Colin Firth and Taron Egerton for the more recent Kingsman films.
If you could pick a favourite shirt from your personal collection, which would it be and why?
Impossible to say! I have so many Turnbull & Asser shirts that I would consider my favourites, and then the latest editions to my wardrobe would become my new favourites, so, from work shirts to less formal shirts and half-sleeve shirts, I enjoy them all. I suppose I just love shirts.
What shirt(s) should every gentleman have in his wardrobe?
Several good white shirts that will cover most, if not all, occasions and a good fitting dress shirt. When dressing for a black tie event, a great dress shirt can make the outfit.
What are the most important rules of dress?
The most important rule of dress is to wear what you feel comfortable in. You should not feel as though you have to be wearing the latest fashion. Style is as much about how you feel as what you wear.
And finally, what should gentlemen take into consideration when shopping for shirts?
Always ensure the shirts are of 100 per cent cotton and a good quality two-fold 100s or two-fold 120s cloth. This will give the shirts longevity and a good feel when worn.