The guide brings to fruition a long-cherished dream of Fitzdares' CEO William Woodhams. Told by William Wolfe it is this decade’s required reading for Londoners, newcomers and discerning tourists alike. Taking in top tailors, outfitters, shoe-makers, bars, hotels and restaurants, as well as stationers, florists, wine-dealers, grocers and dry cleaners - including many Walpole members - it is the ultimate survey of the best on offer in London today.
Over the next few months we will explore the bastions of London that keep craftsmanship and excellent service alive. Read on to discover the first stop on our journey: Henry Poole & Co.
Between them, the storied tailors of Savile Row have dressed virtually every gentleman of wealth, power and distinction of the last two centuries. Yet only one was, in his lifetime, truly at home in the uppermost drawer from which he drew his clients: Henry Poole. Patronised by crowned heads across Europe, and eventually as far afield as Persia, India, Japan and Ethiopia, he was even name-checked in Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence as the tailor of choice of Larry Lefferts, the arbiter elegantiarum of Old New York.
With no need to proclaim its awe-inspiring credentials, Poole occupies slightly worn but utterly authentic premises that reek of class. Unpretentious, uncontrived and the opposite of brash: much the same can be said of Poole’s suits as of its décor. Although it doesn’t claim an instantly recognisable style, the firm has sufficient confidence to gently – oh so gently! – steer the wavering client away from possible missteps towards the cut that’s exactly right for him. Having spent this long at the top of the tree, it’s learned a thing or two about what does and doesn’t work. It’s telling that it’s Poole expertise behind the dazzlingly rich and complex state and ceremonial liveries of the Royal Household.
Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle didn’t agree on much. On the merits of Poole, their mutual tailor, they were unequivocal and unanimous.