DANIEL Craig looked dashing enough in his tux while tripping over the Queen’s corgis, but cutting by far the suaver dash at the Olympic Opening Ceremony was David Beckham, powering up the Thames in a speedboat, torch in hand. In a dark blue suit and white shirt, he was a paragon of paired back English cool, all thanks to a pair of young tailors who have taken Mayfair by storm over the past couple of years.
“We got a call on the Friday afternoon the week before saying they were looking for an English tailor for him,” explains Luke Sweeney, one half of sartorial whiz kids, Thom Sweeney. “He wears Ralph Lauren off the peg normally, but they wanted him to be an ambassador for Englishness for this.”
Sweeney, 33, and his 32-year-old business partner Thom Whiddett, rustled up a crisp suit in time for the big event. “It was an open weaved navy suit with a peaked lapel, and we teamed it up with a white shirt and navy tie – very simple but very effective,” Whiddett says.
It’s another high profile coup for the talented duo, who count Dermot O’Leary and Jimmy Carr among their committed customers – indeed O’Leary recently got married wearing his Thom Sweeney threads.
Sweeney and Whiddett met in their twenties while working for the celebrated Spitalfields master of bespoke,Timothy Everest, where Thom trained as a cutter and Luke oversaw the made-to-measure business. After paying their dues under Everest’s tutelage, the twosome struck out on their own with the idea of bringing some youthful vim to the bespoke trade. Two years ago they moved into a three-floor shop on Weighouse Street, just behind Bond Street tube station – a beautiful space that acts as one giant mood wall, covered as it is in framed images of sharp-suited film and music stars, from McQueen to Sinatra to Caine. Now with 14 employees, they’ve quickly built up a similarly youthful but wide-ranging clientele.
“We’re open minded on what to cut, and we put people at ease. If someone comes in wanting a suit for going out in, they might not be comfortable having that conversation with someone very venerable on Savile Row.”
Young they may be, but there’s no questioning the quality of what they offer and the elegance of their designs. Their hallmark has become their use of the horseshoe waistcoat, in which the front is scooped out in a U-shape. You’d normally expect to see that on tuxedo waistcoats, but it gives Thom Sweeney’s suits some raffish charm with a hint of 1970s, Get Carter-era boldness.
“It was a bit of an experiment, we tried it out one season and realised it worked, and it’s spiralled from there,” says Sweeney. “We do try and push a three-piece suit, I think it’s a very nice look. It gives you options too, because you don’t have to wear the waistcoat whenever you wear the suit.”
Refreshingly committed to the art of bespoke, they’re in no hurry to leverage their chic profile into ready-to-wear spin-offs. “Wearing a handmade suit is the sharpest and smartest you can feel,” says Whiddett. David Beckham would no doubt agree.