The company that has single handedly resurrected the original tailoring house of James Bond. Mason & Sons are an established e-tailor that house many concessions from established British fashion houses such as John Smedley, Baracuta and Fred Perry to name but a few.
They also provide a bespoke service run by appointment only from their Headquarters in Montagu Square, the very building where John and Yoko resided in the 60’s and was subsequently owned by Ringo Starr.
It’s argued that the brands USP is their ownership and revival of classic heritage brands such as Mr Fish and the original tailor to James Bond himself, Anthony Sinclair.
I reached out to Elliot Mason (the ‘sons’ of Mason & Sons) and asked him how they managed to acquire the lost brand and what are the younger generation looking for when it comes to tailoring.
How did Richard Payne, an early apprentice of Anthony Sinclair get to inherit the Anthony Sinclair brand?
In the 1980's Anthony handed down the keys to his shop and his shears to his apprentice Richard Payne. Richard was there when Anthony was making suits for Connery, he knows all the tales and legends of Sinclair.
When Anthony passed away Richard carried on the business, cutting suits with the Anthony Sinclair label in, this went on for many years. Sadly, Richard fell ill and for years, the company fell dormant. When Richard was fighting fit again some years later he started cutting suits but putting his own name in.
How did your father David Mason get to meet Richard Payne and inherit the brand from him?
My father was on Savile row and they (Richard and David) followed each other round the tailoring houses and they became quite good friends, and in 11’12 Richard unearthed how he was Anthony’s apprentice and owner of the business.
My father obviously couldn’t believe this and encouraged Richard to start up again and in 2012 together they relaunched. That same year the barbican announced the exhibition ‘50 years of Bond Style’ and went on its world tour. EON productions approached Richard and my father to recreate the Dr. NO midnight blue dinner suit and the Goldfinger suit.
How did they get blueprints to replicate the suits?
Well funnily enough there was one customer of my fathers who owned a suit from You Only Live Twice. It was a light grey suit in a herringbone and Holland and Sherry still make the same cloth because we’ve made them for a few other customers.
So Richard was able take the pattern from that suit, it was an original Connery suit. I don’t know how many are still alive, maybe one of two suits that are still in existence or that anybody knows where they are.
Are the younger clientele looking to dress more Connery?
For the past 3-4 years any of my friends that would need a suit for interviews would come in and ask for the conduit cut. They are taking inspiration from the way Connery dress. (Elliot is 25).
Nowadays most men want a slimmer fit, suppressed waist, less flare in the skirt, less drape in the chest, in the past 6-9 months its going the other way. Our clients want less fitted trousers. They’re adding pleats to their trousers, pleated trousers always have a wider fit. People don’t want the shrink to fit in the jacket so there is more drape in the chest. It’s going backwards, these things are cyclical, we’re almost at a halfway house between Connery-Craig, and its going towards Connery in terms for fit.
They tend to take some time, so you’re see them on the catwalk, pleats on the catwalk but will take some time to hit the high street.
Can you give me an update on the Mr Fish collection please? I noticed it’s not on your website anymore.
Our first collection on Mason & Sons was a collection of printed shirts and we sold out. Then we did a collaborative version, that was always going to be for a limited time, now all those styles are available under the Mason & Sons label.
We are currently working on a new collection of Mr Fish ready-to-wear whilst working on bespoke orders for customers. More Mr Fish tailoring will revolve around double breasted garments.
Michael sadly passed away last year in August. We are very much in contact with his family and they are in full support of what we’re doing.
Who is your favourite Bond when it comes to style?
Outside of Sean Connery it would be late Sir Roger Moore, he came to Montagu square, we made his clothes for his last few years of his life. I had the pleasure of answering the door and letting him.
My favourite scene is Goldfinger when he’s about to be chopped in half. The glen check 3 piece is the most iconic and is my favourite. Also in that film, he wears the casual long sleeve black polo that is very similar to the one John Smedley does now. So elegant.
And the next thing for Mason & Sons?
The next thing for us we’re remaking the barleycorn hacking jacket and cavalry twill trousers that Sean Connery wears in Goldfinger. It’s taken a very long time to perfect, but it’s there. We’ll do made to order for our customers.
Catch the full interview with Elliot Mason on the From Tailors With Love Podcast available to download now in iTunes.