Written by Leeds Museums & Galleries 15/07/2015
Question: What did Ringo Starr, HRH Duke of Windsor, Teddy Boys and a working man in 1800s Leeds have in common?
Answer: They all owned a piece of British tailoring history.
‘Tailored: A Very British Fashion’, opening Friday 17 July at Leeds City Museum
, celebrates the art and heritage of tailoring from the eighteenth century to today. This unique and free exhibition brings together a wide range of examples of British tailoring, revealing a legacy that these skills and styles bring to our fashions today. The exhibition will include a major loan from London’s V&A of Ringo Starr’s jacket, made by Leeds-trained tailor to the stars Dougie Millings, and a bespoke suit commissioned as part of the exhibition by acclaimed tailor Kathryn Sargent.
Photo: Kathryn Sargent by Sara Porter
Leeds born and London based Kathryn Sargent was the first woman in the history of Savile Row
to hold the position of Head Cutter, and is now the first woman to run her own Savile Row tailoring house. The suit is made from handwoven wool cloth, finished in a Yorkshire mill and is a pivotal 21st century piece within the exhibition. The Museum will also be demonstrating the art of cutting with Kathryn on Friday 17th July – a great opportunity to see an unchanged skill in action.
The role that Leeds played in the history of tailoring is celebrated with garments from many of the big names in Leeds tailoring such as Montague Burton
. Tailored celebrates these Leeds based tailors’ contribution to men’s high street fashion with the inclusion of a Hardy Amies’ suit for Hepworth’s centenary collection and a 1920s Burtons Dress Suit.
It also explores the impact of tailoring on style from country wear to formal attire, for the aristocracy to the working class, and includes exquisite examples across the centuries such as a 19th century ladies’ riding habit, made by Leeds’ Legg and Millard and tailored jackets for working men and women from the 1800s to the 1930s. Diversity of the wearers and use is further enhanced with displayed items such as a 1700s child’s silk coat, to an intricately embroidered Privy Council Uniform jacket to a Blades of Savile Row 1960s velvet evening suit. It’s a fascinating journey for all the family and includes a diverse schedule of events for those with an interest in sewing.
‘Tailored: A Very British’ Fashion runs from 17 July to 3 January 2016 at Leeds City Museum, Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 8BH