By request: A modern guide to London bespoke
Words by Fiona Symington-Mitchell
Beyond the world of luxury brands and global adverting campaigns is the quieter and more private world of bespoke goods, where a dress shirt, a perfume, a pair of cufflinks are a statement of personal style and enduring craftsmanship.
“Bespoke should be and is much better referred to as an experience,” shares Jamie Davison-Lungley of E.B.Meyrowitz, one of London’s best-known spectacle makers. “It is wonderful thing to undergo – uniquely personal. We have clients who still have their first pair of glasses that they had made fifteen-to-twenty years ago.”
From their store in London’s The Royal Arcade, clients commission bespoke eyewear selecting from materials such as cotton-based acetates and naturally-sourced buffalo horn before choosing the style of arms, pins and hinges for their glasses. With each pair made to last a lifetime, over twenty measurements are taken before being manufactured by hand. “A millimetre can make quite a difference between a heavy statement to a very subtle whisper of elegance and refined style,” explains Jamie.
E.B Meyrowitz is one of the many stores like Bellerby & Co and Floris London that have benefited from the renaissance in bespoke goods and attire in London. The last decade has seen a new generation of clients investing in truly unique, handcrafted, and quality statement pieces. While many luxury brands now offer bespoke among their repertoire, none compete with the heritage and service offered by these custodians of British craftsmanship.
“People are most often surprised by how involved they can get; as it is so rare to be involved in any type of commissioning process,” explains Peter Bellerby of his company Bellerby & Co, one of only two in the world that make globes of the world by hand.
For each commission, private and corporate clients work with the in-house team to individualise their globes – highlighting towns and cities of significance, adding navigation routes, and illustrations such as diving with whales. Even the meridian can be inscribed, with one couple requesting, “Where you go, I will go”.
From small desktop globes to the iconic Churchill spanning 127 cm, all globes are feats of technical skill. Of the latter, up to 100 illustrations can be added. With only forty destined to be made, Peter adds “the exclusivity of it is quite important as it is an incredible piece of art to see.”
Such is the experience of bespoke that a commission is not simply a statement of individual taste and connoisseurship but frequently a very personal narrative of how an item was made and why.
At Floris London, its signature perfume service is held in the store’s private perfumers room. Here among the family’s personal memorabilia and the original Spanish mahogany cabinets purchased at the 1851 London Great Exhibition, signature perfumes are crafted for exclusive use. The formula created is added to the store’s private ledgers.
Inspired by and reflective of the individual, the creation of each perfume is truly autobiographical and typifies the essence of bespoke. “Fragrance is so emotive as it has been made with someone’s memories specifically in mind,” shares Edward Bodenham, Floris’s ninth-generation nose. “There is also a certain legacy to it. They will have a fragrance that will go to future generations. So should their great-grand daughter or grandson enquire, it can be ordered.”
London address book
Essential guide to bespoke with most companies delivering overseas.
Cufflinks: From their first appearance in the early 1600s, cufflinks have always been a gentleman’s accessory of choice. At Longmire, gold hand-enamelled cufflinks take from 10-12 weeks. £3,900. longmire.co.uk
Eyewear: Michael Caine, Jackie O, and Superman all wore E.B Meyrowitz. Prices range from £595 for acetate glasses to £8,000 for tortoiseshell. Completion time is usually 12 weeks. ebmeyrowitz.co.uk
Globes: Crafted entirely by hand, waiting times for Bellerby & Co globes range from 4-5 months to two years depending on the size of the globe commissioned. Prices begin at £1,199. bellerbyglobemakers.co.uk
Necktie: Whether you prefer a Duke of Windsor spot or zig-zag silk jacquard, Drake’s online tie service allows you to design your own tie including selection of fabric, length, width and tip. £175 per tie. 6-8 weeks from ordering. drakes.com
Panama hat: Lock & Co’s Superfino Montecristi panama is the perfect travel accessory. Add your monogram and a wider brim. £6,500. lockhatters.co.uk
Perfume: Taking six months over three consultations, Floris London will create a signature fragrance for exclusive use. £4,500. florislondon.com
Pocket square: Self-confessed dog lovers Turnbull & Asser has added a bespoke pocket square service – All About The Dog. Upload a picture of your canine to receive a silk pocket square. £295. turnbullandasser.co.uk
Shirts: To achieve the perfect fit, New & Lingwood shirts are crafted over four fittings. £275 per shirt with an initial order of four per new customer. 6-8 weeks. newandlingwood.com
Shoes: Founded in 1750, Henry Maxwell is the oldest-established boot and shoemakers in England. Bespoke riding boots cost £5,500 and shoes from £2,450. Three-to-six months. henrymaxwell.co.uk
Umbrellas: Lockwood Umbrellas create their solid-stick umbrellas using material such as hickory, ash and chestnut. Each commission arrives in a bag hand-printed with the owners name and details. £420. lockwoodumbrellas.com