Here is the fourth and penultimate chapter of our Savile Row adventure.
On a cold Autumn Friday, we arrived to the venerable house of Norton & sons, one of the oldest of the Row (1821), re-launched a few years ago by the ubiquitous Patrick Grant.
This blooming house is smaller than the two preceding ones, with “only” 350 suits made each year, much less than the 1,500 sold by Anderson & Shepphard and the 700 by Huntsman.
Here again, I am cordially welcomed by the man in charge, before a particularly enjoyable and relaxed visit. This casualness was no doubt due to my timing, as most tailor crews on the Row were by then already getting their weekend on at the corner pub with pints of pale ale. Therefore, I was unfortunately unable to see the entire workshop in action.
However, I was able to freely discuss with head cutter Stephen Allen and watch a few sewers still at work. There was no doubt that I was watching true bespoke unfold before my eyes, and the actions and gestures I saw performed were well indeed those of traditional tailoring work.
As per the Norton & Sons style, it seemed to have a much less clearly defined character, and hence could be thought as standing somewhere between that of the two previously visited houses, with a rather structured shoulder work, pretty cinched waist (but much less marked than Huntsman’s) and, in the end, fairly classical lines.
Patrick Grant, assuredly one of the most elegant men on the Row, likes to bring to mind that one of his creeds is to avoid any blatant details as much as possible and to favour instead simple, fitted and very clean cuts.
This very nice human-sized Bespoke house, classical and respectful of traditions made a very good impression on me. This came as a good surprise, as I had entered this very soberly decorated space with a few prejudices, based on the overexposure of Mister Grant as well as some of his questionable “partnerships” with (very) poor quality brands, including the horrible The Kooples in France…
Needless to say, it is not my place to assess the relevance of such partnerships, so I will stop at the good impression I had after visiting what is, without a doubt, a beautiful bespoke salon that produces very beautiful classical suits, all in discretion and understatement.
All photos © Andy Barnham for Parisian Gentleman
Prices at Norton & Sons are average for the Row - a two piece suit starts at £3,450. It is worth mentioning that the house also owns the traditional ready-to-wear label E.Tautz, also re-launched by Patrick Grant and that will be explored in an upcoming article.