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February 9, 2024
Huntsman’s 175th Anniversary

There are surely no names on Savile Row more evocative than that of Huntsman, which this year celebrates its 175th anniversary.  That trademark, tricky-to-execute single-button coat, those confident checks, the long, seriously starry client list…

Founded in 1849 as a breeches maker and sporting tailor (the house was awarded the first of its many royal warrants in 1886 as Leather Breeches Maker to HRH the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII), Savile Row Bespoke Association (SRBA) member Huntsman first gained a name for contemporary style in the feel-good Roaring Twenties when the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) became a customer. Many eminent names in the performing arts – Cecil Beaton, Laurence Olivier, Clarke Gable, Rex Harrison, and David Niven, amongst them – soon followed suit. And then came the likes of Paul Newman, Dirk Bogarde, Katherine Hepburn (Huntsman has been something of a pioneer in women’s tailoring) and, famously, Gregory Peck. Huntsman dressed Peck for half a century, from 1953 until 2003, and cut the grey flannel suit that gave its name to the 1956 film The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit for him. More recently, David Bowie was a customer. So too now are Eric Clapton and Marc Jacobs. And in 2013, underlining its long relationship with the performing arts, Huntsman famously served as both the inspiration behind and the set of the smash film Kingsman: The Secret Service, which was directed and co-produced by Matthew Vaughn, another Huntsman habitué.

The distinct Huntsman one-button house style derives from a riding jacket. With higher armholes, a suppressed waist and sharp shoulders, it is slightly flared and cut a touch longer than average, which reflects its sporting heritage. It has been subtly refined and contemporised along the years, but legendary cutter Colin Hammick is the man who is credited with making it Huntsman’s own. Hammick, who joined Huntsman as an apprentice in the ‘50s and worked his way up to become Head Cutter and Creative Director, was named Best-Dressed Man three times by Tailor & Cutter magazine in the ‘60s, and was known to change his own suit up to four times a day…

Big and bold checks, often produced in limited numbers and keenly collected by its clients, are the other thing that famously sets Huntsman apart. Milled on the Hebrides in Scotland, Gregory Peck was a particular fan, and Huntsman made many of his on-screen clothes for him, including the iconic tweed overcoat that he wore in the 1976 film The Omen. In 2007 Anthony Peck returned over 160 of his father’s check garments to Huntsman, and a number of the cloths have been made available again, including a markedly unusual pattern that is now known as The Peck Check.

From founder Henry Huntsman, to cutter Colin Hammick and the current triumvirate at the top of Chairman and owner Pierre Lagrange, Managing Director Taj Phull and Co-Head Cutter and Creative Director Campbell Carey, Huntsman has quietly evolved while retaining a unique identity and true Savile Row bespoke values. As they like to say at Huntsman themselves, it is a tailoring house that has been ‘contemporary since 1849’.

Look out for news of special events to mark Huntsman’s 175th anniversary on the house’s website and Instagram.




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