Bespoking a Gentleman
Timothy Everest, the face of bespoke tailoring recently hit the Indian shores, and we just had to capture him in our pages.
Having dressed a series of Bonds, yes, James Bonds, film stars, musicians and politicians from across the globe, Timothy Everest, recently showcased an exclusive line of garments during Raymond’s SpringSummer collection launch in association with the Woolmark company. Is this your first time in India?
No, this is my first time in Delhi. I have been to southern India a few times, but that was a long time ago. I was excited to come here. It’s quite different coming here and seeing and smelling it yourself rather than reading about it on the internet. It’s very personal and emotional. I had an opportunity to chat with a lot of people within the industry as well, so it’s quite interesting.
You’re here in the middle of the quintessential Indian heat. Which fabric would you suggest for an Indian summer?
I think wool is a very good fabric, particularly a cool tropical wool. I cycle a lot and I’d forgotten the properties of wool. I would associate wool as being kind of itchy and warm. I’d never think of wearing wool in the real heat. Then I worked with Rapha, a very successful English cycling brand. Their base layers are a very fine tropical wool, a fine micron. One thing about wool is that it wicks away the sweat and doesn’t smell. It’s all about the structure. So obviously if it is 40 degrees outside and you have a meeting, wearing a heavy jacket would be very difficult, but a properly constructed cool wool would actually recover you from that. People want to be casual but they want to look elegant at the same time. So your fabrics have to reflect that. With wool it has to be very fluid, it can’t be too structured for the summer. On a trend point of view washed cotton would last very long. I see a big return of linen.
What is the concept of cool wool?
Well, it does keep you cool. And if it is actually woven properly it should breathe really well. The other concept is that a lot of my Indian friends want to wear something tailored and they want to look very sharp. And cool wool performs better than, say, cotton or linen.
You have spoken against the bespoke garments becoming elitist. But the prices they are marked at make them vulnerable to fall into that category. How do you explain this paradox?
Yes, I am against that. I think everything should be value for money. That’s what I was trying to say at the beginning of my business. We had to accept that the price point of bespoke is going to be expensive but it doesn’t have to be elitist. But from my point of view, being a British gentleman, that’s not what we should be doing. We should be inclusive. That’s why a lot of projects I have done, all the way down to the high streets, are trying to take the little bit of what we have learnt to produce that other people can afford. But again that is premium, so it would cost just 10 per cent of the bespoke. But it’s still premium. Having said that, there are consumers who still want to be elitist, so if they want that we can make them elite suits (laughs).
The concept of fine casual is not very popular in India. How will this trend catch on in India?
I think this is an educational process. You’ve got to hold people’s hands and guide them to it. It’s a process of evolution. There is a very famous restaurant in London where lot of businessmen go for lunch. You’ll see three types of people there… An English gentleman possibly with a bespoke suit, looking very traditional. Another person with no idea at all. He’d be wearing a formal suit with an open neck shirt that should have a tie, trousers too short and a suit one size too big. Then you see a person that they probably call a metrosexual. He’s much more aware. He may be wearing a little tan coat with a cashmere roll neck and a very clean pair of trousers, or a fitted blazer with an open neck shirt, good belt, watch, and may be some clean jeans. So it’s casual and still quite smart. And I would rather someone dress like that than a shirt that wouldn’t fit, or something too formal.