Tailoring: Suits you, madam

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Grey is anything but dull as womenswear designers turn to traditional tailoring fabrics for more than just a whistle and flute, says Rebecca Gonsalves

The idea that the suited and booted look is only for men was firmly put paid to by a host of designers who furnished models with ladylike tailoring for autumn/ winter. Not only were there beautifully fitted skirt and trouser suits in abundance, but fabrics and motifs most often associated with tailoring were put to new use by designers who wanted to play with the balance of the sexes in a fresh way. Shades of grey were anything but dull in raw-hemmed separates at Lanvin and feminine Fifties shapes by Dolce & Gabbana, while banker pinstripes were reworked into sportif pieces on the Stella McCartney catwalk.

The use of traditional tailoring fabrics in womenswear is hardly a new proposition: you need only to look at Christian Dior’s fondness for pied de poule – or houndstooth – or the talismanic properties of tweed at the house of Chanel. Withstanding the ebb and flow of greater trends, as quality tailoring should, it’s a little-known fact that many women turn to the esteemed artisans of Savile Row. Bespoke isn’t only for blokes, it seems.

Gallery: Click here to see more traditional tailoring

Indeed, Patrick Grant of Norton & Sons believes that women account for about 5 per cent of bespoke business: “The days of the stuffy old tailoring shop are almost gone. There is an increasingly well-balanced mix of men and women in the workrooms, and while it is still dominated by male patrons we are always delighted to cut beautiful tailored clothes and shirts for women.”

Moschino Moschino Stella McCartney Stella McCartney  

As well as these made-to-measure commissions, Grant now tailors to female customers as part of his ready-to-wear brand E Tautz, with a range of shirts co-created by accessories designer (and Grant’s partner) Katie Hillier. “They are cut very much like a boy’s shirt – no darts, no pleats,” Grant says of the popular range. “We’ve softened the collar, but otherwise it’s the same fabrics and construction.”

Retailer and designer Philip Start is another contemporary tailor who has recently responded to growing demand for a womenswear offering. With a focus again on shirting, the Mr Start Woman range also includes suiting and outerwear.

“While it is a fashion brand, Mr Start Woman had been created with a masculine feel and so can also be worn for work,” Start says. “I think to create a look that plays to your masculinity as well as femininity is an empowering thing, and there is something inspiring about the strength and allure of a woman in a well-cut shirt.”

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce & Gabbana Lanvin Lanvin  

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

    £17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'