Book review Tommy Nutter Lance Richardson

The man who defined the tailored look of the 1970s, Tommy Nutter, is a little bit like Beau Brummell in so far as he always seems like an enigma, as a person, yet his name runs throughout the history of menswear and is continually name checked. Anything bold with large lapels is always a reminder of Nutter’s style. The classic Tom Ford suit is basically a rip-off of Tommy Nutter.

This biography doesn’t just look at one Nutter’s life, but two. Tommy’s brother, David, a photographer and also gay, is the main source of first-hand information and the book follows both lives, intertwining throughout. The comical jobs they both do and the situations they seem to find themselves in makes for a really fun biography.

While Tommy is the centre, it’s great to hear about both their lives at the whims of the rich and famous of that era. From Bianca Jagger to John Lennon to Elton John, they were all wearing Tommy’s clothes while being photographed by David.

Left - Tommy Nutter modelling his own design

Tommy feels like a true creative which means he lacked the business skills and ruthlessness often needed in the fashion business to get anywhere. You get a sense that while a pioneer of the suit, Tommy was also constrained by it. He was constrained to bespoke suiting, particularly, which, due to the quality and labour intensiveness, would only ever be on a small scale and his dreams of creating a bigger ‘brand’ was restricted by centring around this one garment. 

Whenever he tried anything else, outside of this area, he didn’t seem to grasp it or be able to make it work. The strong shoulder, huge lapels and contrasting fabrics became not only his signature, but his style straight jacket.

This book is great, you’ll speed through it. The best bits feature Elton John. I knew Tommy had created Elton’s 1980’s straw-boater, 'I’m Still Standing' era clothes, but I hadn’t realised he was there from the start. David became one of his inner circle and follows him around the world with manic energy. Everybody is in here: Beatles, Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, Diana Ross.

Unfortunately, having died from that big disease with a little name, Tommy’s voice isn’t here and it would have been nice to hear from Cilla Black as she seemed to have a lot of love for him. But, the main voices are: Edward Sexton, his main cutter and Peter Brown, his boyfriend and the Beatles' manager, even when conflicting, but, that’s, ultimately, history and people’s differing viewpoints.

I remember sitting next to Jeremy Hackett at a dinner once, he started his company selling vintage clothes, and I asked him if he ever came across any Tommy Nutter, as you never see it anywhere. He said he once had some from Andrew Lloyd Webber, but it wasn’t particularly interesting. It feels like all the best pieces were commissioned by the rock stars and celebrities of that era and are probably still languishing in their storage warehouses somewhere.

There was an exhibition at The Fashion & Textile Museum in Bermondsey, a few year’s ago, which brought together some of Tommy’s best clothes. Cilla Black’s were there and I remember how small Ringo Star’s and Mick Jagger’s mannequins were.

This feels comprehensive and very well researched by Lance Richardson. The majority of the book takes place in some of the most exciting times and places of the 20th century: London in the 1960s and New York in the 1970s and this energy is what makes the book flow. 

I’d love to hear what Elton John remembers. His shopping addiction seems to keep Tommy in pinstripe trousers for a while and his partying and 1970s wardrobe are all off the chart. 

David Nutter is still alive and living in New York, and while Tommy died in 1992, this end segment of the book is very emotional, the glamour and era makes this a must-read for anybody interested in not only men’s clothes, but photography, music and the fashion business.

House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row by Lance Richardson - Chatto & Windus - £25

Published in Fashion

elvis style review book zoey goto

While we like our homegrown style icons in Britain, it would be hard not to appreciate and acknowledge the legacy Elvis Presley has ingrained on our male style psyche. Albeit in a karaoke, stage-costume type of way, like all great musicians he could carry off even the most OTT of outfits due to his talent and stage presence.

Left - Book cover. That famous quiff

Zoey Goto’s new book on Elvis, Elvis Style: From Zoot Suits to Jumpsuits celebrates the style-world of Elvis Presley - ‘the man who singlehandedly changed the way that America, and much of the world beyond, dressed’. 

Elvis Style includes over 175 photos, many of which show rarely seen before Elvis-worn garments, interiors and cars from the King’s extensive private collection. 

elvis black leather jumpsuitZoey says “I first became interested in Presley around 15 years ago, when I was flicking though a magazine and came across a photo of Elvis - who was, and still is, the most visually stunning person I had ever seen. From that point onwards I was hooked. I speedily booked a ticket to Memphis to visit Elvis' hometown and shortly after wrote an academic paper on Graceland's interiors, which later gave rise to the idea of my Elvis Style: From Zoot Suits to Jumpsuits book.

Right - Elvis melting in his black leather jumpsuit

elvis gold suit book the chic geek“I was really surprised to see how little had been written about Elvis from a fashion & design perspective, as he has had such a huge cultural influence. I think there are very few icons who have had, and continue to have, such a direct influence on our aesthetic world. When I'm walking down the street in London, I am always clocking Elvis' influence on the way men style themselves - from quiffs and rockabilly revival, to the way we use cultural appropriation in our dress,” she says.

gucci menswear pre fall 2016 neck ribbonLeft - Elvis' gold suit, once owned by Elton John

Right - Elvis influence? The western neck tie Gucci pre-fall 2016

elvis tiger suit review the chic geek style menswearTheChicGeek says, “‘Elvis would rather shop than eat’. Who knew! Elvis encapsulates the pinnacle of American culture, the 1950s, and then later the showy, kitsch and glamour of old Vegas. This book covers not just his clothes, but hair, food, cars, houses and even planes. Elvis is basically America of the 20th century manifested into a strikingly beautiful man. The time when bigger was best in American culture and over indulgence was encouraged, which, ultimately, lead to his tragic and early downfall. People of a certain age remember Elvis, for us younger ones this book gives an entertaining and informative refresh into what made him so special. With a simple flick of the collar one can instantly recognise the influence he had on menswear.”

Right - Elvis' tiger suit (1970s)

Below - Elvis influence? Gucci spring 2016

www.elvisstylebook.com / #ElvisStyleBook

elvis tiger gucci influence spring 2016

Published in Fashion
Friday, 13 November 2015 15:11

TheChicGeek’s Top Geek-Chic Spectacles

chic geek spectacles gucci menswearGo bold, that’s TheChicGeek’s 2015 message for eyewear. Make a style statement in thickly rimmed retro style spectacles, this season. Perfect for the current vintage inspired looks, as seen on the catwalks for SS16, and the huge trend for facial hair and fuller hairstyles.

Left - Gucci Menswear SS16

smart buy glasses zack pilot spectacle framesTheChicGeek has complied a scrapbook of his 5 favourite spectacles, available right now from SmartBuyGlasses, and a few special spectacle wearing style icons to give you some inspiration.

Left - Smart Buy Spectacles - Zack

 

 

gucci menswear aviator spectacles Left - Gucci Menswear SS16

TheChicGeek says, "Think about your favourite TV stars of the 1970s in their oversized frames. The best shapes to go for are the aviator/pilot or thick square or rectangular frames".

Below - Yves Saint Laurent doing his best 1970s safari look, Gucci Menswear SS16

yves saint laurent spectacles icons the chic geekgucci glasses menswear spring 2016 the chic geekyves saint laurent spectacles icons the chic geek

Left - Yves Saint Laurent Spectacles

TheChicGeek says, "Fashion has entered a very fantastical moment full of dress up, patterns and prints. The types of spectacles help finish these eclectic looks".

elton john best geek chic spectaclesLeft - Elton John

Below - Cazal Spectacles

cazal aviator pilot glassesgucci menswear geek chic spectacles

Left - Gucci Menswear SS16

seventies yves saint laurentLeft - Yves Saint Laurent 

Below - Gucci Spectacles

gucci green red stripe spectacles

 

style icon spectacle wearers yves saint laurent

gucci spectacles spring 2015 menswear chic geek

TheChicGeek says, "Be bold. Oversized frames ooze confidence. They are also fun. Think Elton, Yves and the new look from Gucci".

Far Left - An older Yves

Left - Gucci Menswear SS15

Below - Tom Ford Spectacles

tom ford spectacles geek chic glasses yves saint laurent style icon geek chic 

Left - Young Yves

TheChicGeek says, "Spectacle frames reflect your personality. Standout and look confident".

Below - More 70s Yves & Elton 

yves saint laurent geek chic spectacleselton john style icon geek chic

This article is brought to you in association with SmartBuyGlasses 

Published in Fashion