Quercus Books is releasing a 296-page volume on Anderson & Sheppard this October. It’s titled A Style is Born, and looks to be very promising. For those unfamiliar, Anderson & Sheppard has one of the most distinctive cuts on Savile Row (though, technically, they’re located right off the Row, on Old Burlington Street). Their shoulders are soft and their sleeveheads are large. The canvases they use are lightweight and loosely attached, so as to allow greater movement. Together, these aspects give Anderson & Sheppard’s suits a very relaxed look.
More importantly than that, however, is their signature “English drape” cut, which is a derivation of Frederick Scholte’s original drape style. Here, the chest swells, and extra fabric drapes over the shoulders, creating vertical folds at the ends of the chest. The softly tailored, draped look differs from the more “authoritative,” square shouldered, clean chested tailoring you’d typically find on Savile Row, but it’s a unique, relaxed, masculine style that has made the house famous.
Two months ago, I was talking with a store manager of Neapolitan menswear boutique. As he put it, the English, generally speaking, like everything to be rigid and visually clean; everyone should look like perfect little soldiers. The Italians, on the other hand, want a bit of life in their suits – the fabrics should drape, roll, and have some body to them (he was wearing a Rubinacci suit, I believe, which also has a swelled chest). For me, Anderson & Sheppard suits are attractive for just that reason. Real elegance is more nuanced than the “clean and lean cut” mindedness that is so hegemonic these days.