CEO of Carter Savoy Ltd and a well-known figure in London’s luxury bespoke tailoring community, Sunil Chopra says an expertly crafted handmade suit can help define your political message
The diplomatic community in London is a melting pot of languages, cultures, religions and continents. But what this group has in common is looking sharp and appropriate to the task at hand: the business of diplomacy. As CEO of Carter Savoy Ltd, a bespoke tailor based in Berkeley Street in Mayfair, I’ve worked in London’s luxury bespoke tailoring community for 21 plus years. More often than not, this business of diplomacy involves a tailor-made suit. Carter Savoy’s master tailors are creators of the finest British handmade bespoke suits, both for women and men.
Throughout the ages, world leaders and heads of state have become associated with certain outfits and accessories. In the UK, when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher placed her handbag onto the Cabinet table, she became known for ‘handbagging’ her opponents, and her ‘handbag diplomacy.’ During his tenure in government, charismatic Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru popularised a closed-neck, coat-like garment usually considered court dress for Indian nobility. When the jacket was marketed to Western audiences, it took the ‘Nehru’ title.
Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was responsible for some of the most absurd outfits to appear on the geopolitical stage. Oversized sunglasses, leopard-print, robes and a gold sceptre came to define a man crazed by power.
Nelson Mandela’s brightly patterned ‘Madiba’ shirts became a symbol of post-apartheid South Africa. During his 30-year reign in China, Mao Zedong’s four-pocketed tunic earned the nickname ‘Mao suit.’ Even today, the suit almost always in a stale gray, green or blue colour, and tends to be representative of communism as well as Mao himself. Now of course, Chinese leaders are more likely to wear Western business suits, except perhaps during important state ceremonies.
More recently, Hilary Clinton became known for her trouser suits, and the current UK Prime Minister’s taste in shoes (and leather trousers!) has been well-documented. In contrast to the more gaudy traditional styles championed by his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis’ look is much plainer and more practical than that of his predecessors, tending towards simple, lightweight fabrics. His humble, undecorated image is associated with his liberal politics, his humility and concern for the poor.
Closer to home, my previous clients over the years have included presidents, prime ministers, high commissioners and ambassadors, the military (two Field Marshalls at the last count), plus the late Lord Rees-Morg and Lady Rees-Mogg, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC MP.
Why do these important figures keep coming back to the tailor-made suit? If cared for properly, a bespoke suit will last for decades. ‘Off-the-peg’ suits often perish after a few years. Rather than enforcing a house style, at Carter Savoy we believe in the old adage: ‘The suit shouldn’t wear the man; the man should wear the suit’. Customers can therefore create any style they want.
Despite our established history, our bespoke suits can be as contemporary as you would like, which is refreshing in the antiquated world of chalk stripes and measuring tapes. Belt loops or side fasteners? Braces buttons? Lapel style? Working cuff buttons? Pleated trousers? Turn ups? Single or double breasted? Classic two or festive one buttons? Fancy jacardi linings or plain cupro twill? We have an impressive selection of cloth on offer. From fine wool blends, light to heavy worsted, vicuna, pure cashmeres, to tweeds and harris tweeds. Let us know your preferences, or we’re here to help you make these decisions.
Carter Savoy also has various luxury finishes on offer, including a gold thread and a diamond dust fabric, as well as a pinstripe that can be personalised into any repeated script in any language. Perhaps you’d like your name embroidered on the pinstripe of your suit?
No matter the political statement that you’re making, whether you require a day-to-day suit, a garment of ultimate luxury or even festive attire, my team and I are here to help. Please contact us to make an appointment at our private tailoring studio on Berkeley Street in Mayfair.
Carter Savoy, 16 Berkeley St, Mayfair, London W1J 8DZ +44 (0) 20 7112 9298