Royal visit honours Henry Poole & Co celebrations
HRH The Princess Royal attended a reception for Henry Poole & Co last week, hosted by Coutts, in her role as President of the UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT).
Boasting a rich history dating back to 1806, Henry Poole & Co is credited as establishing London’s prestigious Savile Row as the leading destination for gentleman’s tailoring and has dressed some of the world’s most important men and women for over two centuries.
The family-owned and run business held the event at Coutts, 440 Strand in London, to celebrate its 200-year relationship with the bank. To mark the occasion, Henry Poole launched a new Coutts 200th Anniversary House worsted cloth in a 10oz weight. The background is an Indigo blue with a double pinstripe in sky blue, representing one for each century. The cloth has been made in the UK exclusively for Henry Poole and will join the tailor’s existing range of exclusive house cloths including the Churchill, William Randolph Hearst and the Lord Seafield check.
It comes as Henry Poole Chairman Angus Cundey is preparing to hand over the reigns to his son Simon, after being in the business since the early sixties and central figure on the Row. It was fitting that HRH The Princess Royal was there to wish him a long and happy retirement as when he won the Queen’s Award for Exports in 2013, he specifically requested that HRH The Princess Royal present it to him as President of UKFT.
The firm is also the subject of a new book entitled Henry Poole: The First Tailor of Savile Row, written by London-based style journalist James Sherwood and published by Thames & Hudson. The book charts the stories of Poole’s most colourful characters, with fascinating insight into 60 iconic customers. Each client is profiled with details of their signature garment.
Paul Alger MBE, International Business Director at UKFT, said: “In its 200 year history, Henry Poole has dressed emperors and maharajahs, kings and queens, heroes and villains, politicians and statesmen. That the firm still remains in private hands is a testament to the vision, skills, a lot of hard work, not to mention a little artistry of everyone who works for Henry Poole from the directors down to the cutters on the Row. We are delighted that our President has recognised the dedication and commitment of companies like Henry Poole and the Cundey family to producing the best tailored clothing and having the global vision to export it around the world.”
In 1964 Henry Poole & Co was the first Savile Row tailor to enter the Japanese market and more recently has opened stores in Beijing and Hangzhou in China, as well as making regular visits with its Trunk Shows to France, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Japan and 10 major cities in the US. In London, customers come to the store at 15 Savile Row from every corner of the globe.
The store has a showroom and cutting room on the ground floor, with tailoring workshops and the Livery Department located just below ground level. Henry Poole tailor makes everything from scratch and to order, from morning and evening dress and bespoke suits to top coats, overcoats, blazers, sports jackets and shirts. Customers can choose from a selection of more than 6,000 fabrics ranging from luxury worsted cashmere suitings from mills in Huddersfield, Yorkshire and pure cashmere to rich flannels from the West Country and fine tweeds from the Islands of the Outer Hebrides and the Scottish Borders. Henry Poole continues to support UK textiles, creating employment and skills both on Savile Row and in the rest of the country, from the West Country to Yorkshire and on to Scotland; with firms including Fox Brothers, Reid and Taylor, Taylor & Lodge and Vanners.
The company is also focused on ensuring the bespoke tailoring process can be passed on to the next generation in order to secure its future as one of the world’s most renowned tailors. Its apprenticeship programme is designed to ensure that exceptionally high standards of cutting and tailoring skills are nurtured and preserved. Apprentices train at the firm’s premises, learning the family secrets that have been passed down seven generations.
In her role as UKFT President, Her Royal Highness is keen to recognise the exceptional skills, craftsmanship and talent within UK fashion and textile manufacturing businesses. This year she has embarked on a series of visits, from central London to Ayrshire in Scotland and Flimby in Cumbria.
UKFT is working closely with the industry, as well as lobbying Government, to ensure that we create the right conditions for businesses like Henry Poole to thrive.
As the Sector Skills Body for fashion and textiles, UKFT is also working to secure more training and investment in the industry. Read more here.