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Press Releases > Henry Poole & Co. Founder of Savile Row: The Art of Bespoke Tailoring and Wool Cloth at The Bowes Museum
Supported by The Woolmark Company; The Drapers’ Charitable Fund; The Daphne Bullard Trust and Kathy Callow Trust
Henry Poole & Co, the company that created the dinner jacket and which established Savile Row will be the subject of the inaugural exhibition of men’s tailoring and craftsmanship at The Bowes Museum.
Founded in 1806, Henry Poole & Co was granted a royal warrant by Queen Victoria in 1869 and has continued to hold the royal warrant ever since.
In 1865, Henry Poole & Co made the original dinner jacket for the Prince of Wales, a garment which transformed men’s fashion and etiquette, and in the USA became known as the Tuxedo.
The exhibition, to be displayed in The Bowes Museum’s internationally renowned Fashion and Textile Gallery, will include a contemporary dinner jacket, a single breasted jacket in Churchill stripe, a tweed shooting jacket with waistcoat and plus twos and a sports blazer which bears the Napoleonic Eagle, all made by Henry Poole & Co using fine Merino wool fabric and wool tweed.
The exhibition will be a celebration of the art of bespoke tailoring and look at the history of high end British tailoring and the use of wool in fine clothing. The wool fabrics used in the exhibition have been sourced from British mills and include a Churchill stripe; the fabric created for Winston Churchill, one of Henry Poole’s many famous clients. Complementing the contemporary clothing will be ceremonial outfits from Henry Poole’s archive and garments from The Bowes Museum’s fashion collection never previously exhibited, including: court dress with an embroidered floral waistcoat reflecting Georgian taste by Henry Poole & Co; hunting dress and a rare man’s wedding suit of 1842. A 19th Century portrait of Emperor Napoleon III by Jules Vignon from The Bowes Museum’s permanent collection will also be displayed. Napoleon III is depicted in full ceremonial outfit tailored by Henry Poole & Co. Napoleon III was Henry Poole & Co’s first warrant holder in 1858.
A programme of events to illustrate the art of bespoke tailoring will include live demonstrations by tailors from Henry Poole & Co.
HENRY POOLE & Co
• Henry Poole & Co was established in 1806 and is located at 15 Savile Row, a street synonymous with men’s fashion.
• Since Queen Victoria’s reign, Henry Poole & Co has made state livery for the Royal Mews, holding the Royal Warrant to King Edward VII, King George V, King George VI, and HM Queen Elizabeth II.
• In the 1890’s Henry Poole & Co was the largest tailor in the world with over 300 sewing tailors and 14 cutters. They had branches in London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna. The First World War had a severe impact on their business immediately closing the Berlin and Vienna branches and affecting their customer base. World War II had a further negative impact. Henry Poole & Co tailored for Generals such General de Gaulle, and General Montgomery.
• Henry Poole & Co made numerous ceremonial garments for the Coronation of George V in 1911. They made civilian clothes and uniforms for the aristocracy, and their households, including the significant state and livery uniforms used on formal and state occasions e.g. Head coachmen (at that time Henry Poole & Co had two entrances one for the aristocracy and one for their households/ servants.)
• Henry Poole & Co does not divulge the price of its tailored garments nor the identity of its clients whilst they are alive. The company has historically created outfits for Winston Churchill, the Tsars of Russia and the Italian royal family and virtually every royal household across Europe and heads of state.
• Since being founded every Henry Poole suit has been pure bespoke: measured, cut, fitted, sewn and finished entirely by hand in a process that involves at least three fittings and over 80 man hours.
• Henry Poole & Co houses extensive archives with records, ledgers of sales and weights of all their clients.
THE BOWES MUSEUM
• The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by John and Joséphine Bowes. Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building in Barnard Castle to house them in. The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods.
• For much of their lives they lived in Paris. Josephine was formerly an actress and performed in the Théâtre des Variétés, which John Bowes subsequently purchased.
• John Bowes was the illegitimate son of the Earl of Strathmore and an ancestor of the Queen Mother.
• The Bowes Museum has an internationally renowned Fashion and Textile Gallery which was refurbished in 2011. Recent exhibitions have includes Vivienne Westwood Shoes and a show by milliner Stephen Jones entitled ‘From Georgiana to Boy George’
• The Bowes Museum is open daily from 10.00am
ABOUT THE WOOLMARK COMPANY
• The Woolmark is the world’s best known textile fibre brand, established in 1964.
• The Woolmark brand is owned by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), a not-for-profit company owned by more than 25,000 woolgrowers. AWI’s vision is to be a significant contributor to a vibrant, stable and profitable wool industry providing the world with the best natural fibre. The company works throughout the global supply chain - from woolgrowers through to retailers.
• The company mission is to enhance the profitability, international competitiveness and sustainability of the Australian wool industry; and increase demand and market access for Australian wool.
• Merino wool provides stability, resilience, softness and luxury to the tailoring industry. The fibre has long been a favourite of designers, but younger consumers, born in an era of ‘disposable’ fashion know too little about the natural benefits.
• Wool is a 100 per cent natural and renewable fibre. Sheep live on grass, water, fresh air and sunshine. Wool is a fibre that is grown - not man-made. Every year sheep produce a new fleece, making wool a renewable fibre source.
• www.woolmark.com www.merino.com
The Woolmark symbol is a registered trade mark of The Woolmark Company. In UK, Eire, Hong Kong and India the Woolmark symbol is a certification trade mark.