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The soul of the suit
IT is as elegant as a man can be. It is to wallow in sheer unashamed quality.Imagine this. You walk to the heart of Soho...to Berwick Street to have a suit fitting at Lutwyche Bespoke Tailor.
You would wear that suit and feel like a king.
To be part of the British legacy of tailoring that remains unequalled throughout the world.
For once in your life, you would feel impeccable.
That is a particular dream of mine and one which is unlikely to ever be realized. But I like the notion of being (literally) wrapped in perfection.
Tony Lutwyche is at the heart of this tailoring phenomenon. His reputation as a ‘bespoke tailor of London’ is such that a string of high profile clients queue for his services.
"Saville Row tailors would travel up to Chester Barrie to learn from the people they regarded as the finest of all."Tony Lutwyche
From Prince Charles and Prince Harry to Jamie Cullum, Simon Callow to Gordon Ramsay.
All know how incredible it feels to wear the finest bespoke tailoring.
It is a habit that, given a serious clothes budget, would certainly stick.
Even Ricky Hatton found himself in an unlikely state of opulent sartorial elegance via a Lutwyche suit.
What is more, and perhaps not surprisingly, there is a Cheshire connection.
Two years ago, his reputation firmly established, Lutwyche formed Cheshire Bespoke, from the ashes of the Chester Barrie and Cheshire Clothing Company Workshops in Crewe.
To some, it may have seemed a curious move.
Tony however, had no hesitation at all.
“At Chester Barrie they had a remarkably skilled workforce. In fact, a level of sheer indepth quality that has been handed down the generations since 1935,” he said.
“Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Saville Row tailors would travel up to Chester Barrie to learn from the people they regarded as the finest of all. That was exactly the level of craftsmanship that I was seeking...and I found it.”
Cheshire Bespoke has quickly developed an international reputation.
As if to emphasize this, Tony Lutwyche’s suits were the talk of the Pitti Uomo trade show in Florence, where buyers flocked to place orders, stocking their outlets with coveted ‘made in England’ garments.
Many have subsequently made the pilgrimage to the Crewe workshop to see the artisan skills that have been the bedrock of his success.
Such a positive and thoroughly British success story may surprise those who have seen this country’s reputation slide over the past few decades.
“No I don’t see that,” stated Tony.
“This country still has a reputation for quality in so many areas of manufacturing. Why do you think that Formula One teams tend to base their technical teams in England? I could cite a great many similar situations and English tailoring is just part of that.
“I knew that we would be able to achieve a world-class quality product and that fact would help us achieve fantastic sales, which it has.
“Many large companies have been moving deliberately downmarket, focusing on cheaper imports. We simply have moved in the opposite direction.”
Even Japan has started to take notice...and how.
When Tony recently attended an international showcase for English tailoring at Japan’s leading department store, Isetan, he was selected to be among an elite group representing the forefront of British talent.
And it was his clothing that raised the most press interest.
“Japan is a country that cherishes true quality,” he said.
While Lutwyche suits are priced from £1,500, there are occasions when the ceiling is blown clean away and he wanders into areas of unrestrained opulence.
”You are going to ask me about the ‘most expensive suit in the world, aren’t you?” he said.
“That’s ok...everybody does. It was a suit made from an extremely rare Pashmina and Vicuna wool blend with a platinum pinstripe. I don’t know if it really is the most expensive...we sold it for around £30,000. That was obviously a highly specialist job and not something we encounter everyday.
“It’s not really what we are about although it gained a lot of attention.”
While Tony has flown to Hollywood for a fitting, he is now making it easier for those based in the north west to enjoy the fruits of the workshop with a tailoring room based on-site where advice can be given and orders taken.
Those who do go to Crewe will receive a significant discount.
“Really, it is the craftmanship that exists within Cheshire Bespoke that sells the suits. Crewe may be home to Bentley but, as any Saville Row tailor will tell you it is home to the best made suits in the world.”