MASON AND SONS | Tailoring House of James Bond

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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What to Wear for a Regatta, Horse Racing or Summer Event | Men's Style Edit

This morning whilst walking down the Kings Road in Chelsea on my way to today's KOBOX class, I passed a couple who looked like they were dressed for the races. Being in men's fashion, I tend to look into what people are wearing more than anyone else and my opinion was that he could have styled things a lot better, so here are my top tips.

I'm a massive fan of double-breasted suits, you'll stand out from everyone else who plays it safe with single-breasted blazers. Remember that a double-breasted blazer is normally tailored slightly shorter than its single-breasted cousin. Always only do up the middle of the 6 buttons and leave the bottom button undone. Navy is a great choice for the colour of your suit, it's easier to accessorise with different colour palettes and less common than a light-grey suit, which I personally think can look a little cheap.

A crisp white shirt is a must. Usually these type of events are summer based, so make sure you pick a shirt with a breathable weave such as a poplin, in a fine yarn count such as a twin-100 cotton. The higher the yarn count, the finer the cotton so therefore a twin-100 shirt is a high quality shirt. Go down to twin-60s and the shirt may seem too heavy or go higher to twin-160s and you'll end up paying a fortune. A great statement shirt would be a pin collar shirt or tab collar shirt, available from London shirt makers Hawkins & Shepherd.

Simplify your accessorises. Basically don't over do the colours, I've seen so many people wear different colour socks, tie and pocket square and it just screams you are trying too hard and in all honesty, it looks cheap and tacky. If you are wearing a multi-coloured tie, keep the socks & pocket square plain and simple. Alternatively draw attention to your pocket square my styling a simple tie. Always wear a watch and shine those shoes.

 

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THE NAVY SUIT | Ties and Pocket Squares Combos

In the post 90's Neil Strauss world of Peacocking, men's tailoring has found its dimmer switch. Between the garishly elaborate 'statement pieces' and the monochrome mundanities of men’s tailoring, lies a convenient halfway house that is accoutrements. In particular ties and pocket squares. Today I want to zero in on the Navy suit and what ties and pocket squares make a good pairing.

Whilst doing some research for the post I took to the net in true Arnie with a mini-gun mode, bouncing between blogs, Insta and Pinterest posts with equal and efficient precision. A lot of people will talk about colour wheels and triadic colour schemes, which is all great and if you'd like to take a deep-dive on that then I'll need to credit the guys over at Deep Knot for their Tie and Pocket Square Combinations Editorial. But I'm going to offer you more of a broad view of combinations that catch my eye, and maybe worm a little science along the way. For more fashion inspiration, you can check out my look book article on How to wear Your Navy Suit 5 Ways

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The Future is Orange

The aforementioned colour wheel will highlight orange as the colour diametrically opposed to Navy Blue. Known as the complementary colour scheme. There is no starker contrast on the planet than a Navy/Orange combo. Credit goes to the Silver London for demonstrating how to subtly peacock with this Reiss navy suit and orange accoutrements. If you're looking to flirt a little with the pocket square then you might want to dull the orange slightly, allowing room for manoeuvre in other departments such as a polka dot pattern and a pin stripe shirt.

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Micro Check Shirt/Gingham Shirt

Look I've made it into this collage, how did that happen haha? I think this is one of the most underused combos in men’s tailoring right now, the gingham shirt and Navy suit combo. I've paired my own Hawkins & Shepherd Gingham Shirt with a Navy Knitted tie. However, whereas mine and the others featured are micro-check, Ewan to the right of me went for a bolder separated gingham keeping close to a monochromatic colour palette (a scheme that involves pairing darker and lighter variants of the same colour). 

Kudos also goes to Lookastic.Com for showing us how it's done with the Navy Vertical Striped Blazer, adorned but not distracted by the Charcoal Pocket Square and Brown Plaid Wool Tie. 

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Paisley Crazy

When it comes to pairing paisley patterns imagine being a movie director trying to reign in a Jim Carrey in his prime. His exuberance is off the chart and destroying the picture, it's your job to mollify him but not brow beat him into thinking he can't go off-piste now and again. So Paisley is all about showing restraint. It doesn't need a partner in crime, it just needs others to do their job. You'll find patterns and textures the most exciting part of pairing because you'll get to exercise your creative muscle. I've highlighted some less bilious pairings, but as Bukowski once said 'Some people never go Paisley. What truly horrible lives they must lead.' Or something like that. 

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M&S Men’s Tailoring Launch with the Appointment of David Gandy as its First Ever Ambassador of Tailoring

This week M&S hosted a star studded evening to mark the launch of its biggest ever men’s tailoring range and the appointment of David Gandy as its first ever Ambassador of Tailoring. I'll tell you what, M&S know how to put on a party, it's a Great British brand steeped in history and they know how to tailor for every gent in the UK regardless of shape and size. For a lot of men out there M&S has always been an introduction into wearing suits, whether it's for your first interview, your first day at work or for a special occasion such as a wedding, M&S has always been there for us - helping us dress better with affordable suits.

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Hosted at the incredible Scarfes Bar in Rosewood Hotel, M&S held a Tailoring Talk with a stylish panel of industry experts including M&S CEO Steve Rowe, supermodel David Gandy, uber stylist, Sarah Ann Murray and industry expert, Terry Betts, and was hosted by style icon and influencer, Jack Guinness. The Tailoring Talk panel deliberated the past, present and future of tailoring, discussed M&S customers and their input into shaping the new range, as well sharing stories on first suits and debating ultimate suiting icons. The talk went on for about 30-45 minutes with a knowledgable audience hanging on every word of the panel. It was also very interesting to hear the panels style icons. For me, when I need inspiration for formal attire it has to be David Gandy and Cary Grant (right).

 Media, iconic menswear influencers and a number of special guests attended the event, including face of M&S Autograph Oliver Cheshire, Jesse Metcalfe and Cara Santana, Toby Huntington-Whiteley, Jim Chapman and Eric Underwood.

The event marked the launch of M&S’ biggest ever tailoring range across more sizes, lengths and fits than ever before with 65 colour style options across four fits, giving customers their most personalised off the peg fit.  This ties in with the introduction of M&S’ first ever tailoring ambassador in the form of global style icon, David Gandy, to bring the tailoring collection to life for customers, offering style inspiration and advice on ways to style and wear suits.

I am honoured and excited to be named as the first ever M&S Ambassador of Tailoring. Ironically my first ever suit was one of my Dad’s M&S pure wool suits that I had altered to fit me, ever since then I have had an interest and love of British tailoring. I have been part of the M&S family for over six years now, both as a face and as a designer for my own collection, which have proved to be very successful.  My role has now evolved and expanded to working behind the scenes with the creative teams on the new suit style section of the website, and on the art direction and styling of the new tailoring campaign. I am delighted so far with the results and I’ve enjoyed watching the ideas and concepts come to life, and hope the new tailoring styles in the imagery and videos inspire M&S customers. 
— David Gandy

It wasn't all cocktails and canapés, there was a real purpose to the event, bringing everyone together so we can spread the word that from Winter 2017, all customers will receive even better service in M&S stores with suit advisors being up-skilled through the introduction of a new nationwide training programme.

A brand new suit style section is now available online, housing editorial content, video, as well as tips on how customers can wear suits for different occasions from the different ranges within M&S.

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I have long-standing love of the suit, I’ve worn a suit every day of my professional life at M&S and for me, the suit stands for quality, craftsmanship and heritage, much like this great company I work for.
— M&S CEO, Steve Rowe

Label Online collaboration with Ted Baker

Isn't it great when your local coffee shop serves your favourite homemade velvet cake, when your barbers sells your favourite hair product or the supermarket also sells office supplies? Okay okay, enough of the analogies, I'm sure you understand what I'm getting at! When one of your favourite clothing brands starts selling another one of your favourite clothing brands, it makes shopping a whole lot easier and most importantly quicker! For me that is Label Online where they also sell other popular, designer brands making shopping simple.

Label Online have just launched their Ted Baker menswear collection, making it one of the premier online marketplaces for other great brands.

Ted Baker has always been a brand that approaches menswear design with a clear focus on quality, attention to detail yet with a quirky sense of humour. Their suit blazers have a unique printed silk inner lining, a lapel pin and the inner lining of the breast pocket can be pulled out and used as an impromptu pocket square. 

This outfit which I picked out from the Ted Baker collection features their crosshatch charcoal matching suit blazer and trousers. I've paired this charcoal grey suit with a wardrobe classic - a crisp white classic collared shirt with double-french cuffs, which you'll need cuff-links. Finally I love brogue shoes and these dark tan coloured ones from Ted Baker work extremely well with the suit. You can finally style the look with items from your wardrobe as I have done, such as a tie, overcoat and classic watch. 

Ted Baker now have a wider collection available online at Label and it encompasses tailoring as well as their main range. They also have a great range of bags and accessories, perfect for Christmas gifts, just check out my top picks at the bottom of this email...get shopping people!

 

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SHOP TED'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Photography by Ella H

What to wear for work in Canary Wharf

Are you new to working in the city of London? Have you just got your first job out of university or college and struggling to know what to wear to the office? I've been there and had to work it all out for myself - so here are my tips on what to wear to work so you don't turn up with a Simpsons novelty tie and therefore ruin any promotion opportunities for the next few years! 

 

SUITS

Invest in a good well tailored suit, it makes a big difference if you invest in something that will last. A cheap suit will wear out quicker and the fabric will not wash as well as a higher quality yarn. 

When choosing a suit colour avoid black, as although it may feel like your first day in the office is like a funeral, it is not. Instead opt for more warming, approachable colours such as a navy or grey. You'll find these colours will also be easy to style with different colour ties, shirts & pocket squares.

Have your suits on rotation. It is always best to have 3 suits, rotate so that you avoid wearing out the fabric and for hygiene reasons. I mean wearing the same suit everyday on the tube is bound to kick up a little bit by the end of the week.

Do not iron your suits, or you'll be left with a shiny look to them and when that happens, it is time to get rid.

SHIRTS

Keep colours simple and if in doubt you cannot go wrong with white and a variety of different shades of blue. Pattern, check and striped shirts are acceptable, although they are harder to match with ties and better worn with the collar undone. A general rule would be that if you are wearing a check, pattern or striped shirt, then match it with a plain tie. 

Join a Shirt Subscription Service, so you are never running low on shirts and keep up to date with new trends and fabrics. Hawkins & Shepherd offer a variety of different Shirt Subscriptions at discounted prices.

Always have a spare shirt and tie in the office. I've lost count of the number of times I've had after work drinks and had to sleep in the office, having a crisp shirt, toothpaste and toothbrush is critical. Or what about that time when you had your yearly appraisal and spilt a whole mug of coffee down your favourite shirt? 

Have a Friday shirt, one that has a foot in formal and a foot in casual, so you can keep things professional in the office then let it all hang out (the shirt) after work.

SHOES

Wear something comfortable as the chances are you'll be doing a lot of walking to and from the office and once you are there walking too and from the coffee machine. In my work photos in this post, I absolutely love these shoes come slippers from Donhall & Bell. My footwear tip would be to have a pair of these in the office to wear around the office and use a more hardier cheaper pair to walk to and from the office. Wearing these powerful, striking shoes you'll stand out for all the right reasons.

If you are wearing leather shoes, it's simple but make sure they are polished regularly or if you are wearing Donhall & Bell suede footwear, invest in a suede brush and give them a brushing every time you have worn them - this will help keep them looking pristine.

ACCESSORISES

Wear a watch. A watch will complete any outfit and they do not need to be expensive. There are many more fashion watch brands out there producing affordable stylish watches. I've recently found this watch brand called Kartel from Scotland and every single one of their watches are modern yet classic but most importantly only around £90.

Do not be afraid to accessorise with socks and pocket squares, although keep things relatively simple and not too over powering. Subtle hints and sartorial touches should be discrete. For example don't wear a bold red tie, red pocket square and red socks - it's too much.

 

 

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Photography by Ella H

FROM PITTI TO LONDON

It was about 3 months ago now when I first 'bumped' into founder Francesca Serafin of this incredible Italian brand Sera Fine Silk. As brand owners we both attended the same event, Francesca selling her Italian, silk scarves whilst myself selling British Hawkins & Shepherd Shirts to a sartorial audience. This seemed like a perfect match, so I have combined the two brands and come up with these two looks. 

Within a week, I had purchased my first one. At €195 per scarf they are in the designer luxury market and are totally worth the price paid. Where else can you get this fine design and quality silk fabric for less than that?

Serà Fine Silk is a brand of luxury silk accessories aiming to provide customers with unique pieces. The passion of the designer Francesca Serafin for Italy and the Italian lifestyle led to the realisation of collections with the purpose of providing customers with a little bit of an Italian experience every time they wear a Serà Fine Silk creation. Every product is made in Italy with ancient refined silks, rigorously handmade, in limited edition and characterised by high quality materials, colourful prints and refined patterns.

I wish I was walking along Lake Como taking these photos however these styled looks may seem straight out of Florence but are taken on a grey London Sunday morning!!!

 

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*Some items have been replaced with alternatives as the ones used in the images are no longer available.

In my second look, I have tried to switch it from firmly in the formal sector to a little more smart casual by adding a pair of chino trousers.

 

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*Some items have been replaced with alternatives as the ones used in the images are no longer available.

Photo Credit Kylie Eyra

SAVILE ROW LOOKBOOK

As the home a great tailoring, Savile Row has long been a major inspiration for me. I love the history that engulfs it, the buzz that you get when walking down the 'Row' and watching the steady hands of the tailors cutting fabric in the basements. If I'm in need of some influences when designing the perfect shirt for Hawkins & Shepherd, picking the finest fabrics or just personal styling, I find it right there on Savile Row.

I would love to be in a position to have a lookbook full of Savile Row tailored pieces, however as I'm a poor blogger still trying to make it big, I have put together all my favourite formal looks from recent posts. These looks are all available for a reasonable price online or via the highstreet. A perfect compilation of looks for you to to use for interviews, weddings or office attire.

So what is Savile Row? Firstly it is a street in Mayfair, London, England synonymous worldwide for great bespoke tailoring. British tailors have been settling here since the 17th century and now is a street that is protected to keep only the highest level of tailoring companies trading on it.

You would think that Savile Row has had it easy, but they haven't. Competition is high and it has been a constant battle trying to reinvent themselves for different marketplaces like younger professionals, classic gents or international clients. Some tailors have kept to their heritage whereas others such as Oswald Boateng and Richard James have reinvented themselves as what I would call, new Savile Row - focusing on the modern market and breaking the so called 'mould'.

Take yourself down there, be inspired, be different, be confident and be stylish.

ALL ABOUT WINDOW PANE SUITS

It absolutely astounds me how often the windowpane pattern comes in and out of fashion. Well currently it is back in, so if you want to flex your sartorial muscles, its time to get on-board as this time the trend is here to stay (probably!). As seen recently during London Collections: Men SS16 shows this style has at least another year to run and I'm hoping longer.

Taking its name from the wide windowpane like checked pattern, this style has recently been brought back from sartorial exile. A windowpane suit isn’t for the light-hearted; it’s a bold print of retro elegance that makes a statement.

In my look above, I have styled my light grey with light blue trim windowpane suit with a crisp white tab collar shirt. The squares in the suit detail match the cut edges of this straight collar of my shirt. I have then worn my wardrobe staple white tab collar shirt and navy knitted tie which goes with pretty much everything!

When colour matching window pane suits, I think the best that work best are greys/blue, navy/orange and brown/tan.

One of the main reasons to buy a window pane suit, is that the blazer works great in a smart casual look. Throw on a pair of dark jeans and some shows and you have transformed the look simply and effortlessly.

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Photos by Sophie Milner

HOW TO DRESS FOR AN INTERVIEW OR IMPORTANT MEETING

Dressing for an interview is not the time to start experimenting.
— Carl Thompson, Founder Hawkins & Shepherd

Interviews and important meetings can be a very stressful time wether it is getting your presentation right, making sure your voice doesn't get that embarrassing shaky tone or what to wear to make the best impression.

Although I'm a dab hand at PowerPoint, I'm probably best qualified to help you out on the styling aspect and leave someone else to deal with the other stuff!

Firstly the most important thing is that you dress in something which you are comfortable in both physically and mentally. So pick a shirt that fits you well, not too small that the buttons are screaming out for extra stitching or the shirt is cutting off your circulation under the arms. What I mean by dressing comfortable mentally is just dress in something that doesn't make you feel anxious. Wear something you have worn before and liked what you felt and looked like. An interview is NOT the place to start experimenting with different colour combinations. Focus on whats important, which is getting that job!

Don't go over the top. Choose a plain Navy/Grey suit or if you are fashion forward maybe opt for a subtle window-pane or Prince of Wales Check suit. You should avoid bold tones, black or brown suits, as these can be seen a depressing colours.

Saying that, you need to stand out. So you can best do this with either the shirt or the accessories. In this look, I have gone for a gingham check red and navy extreme cutaway shirt which is bold however I have kept the tie simple with a knitted navy design and not worn a pocket square.

Do not over accessorise. There are many options when accessorising your formal look. Pocket squares, socks, tie bars, flower lapels, ties etc. Do not over use all of these accessories and do not match the colours as it can be too over powering.

Be yourself and be confident, now get out there and smash it!

 

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Hawkins & Shepherd Shirt | Suit Supply Suit | Gibson London Tie | Hawkins & Shepherd Socks | Dune Shoes | Tie Bar by Stytched

Photo Credit Sophie Milner