James Sherwood selects his top four events
Making Behind The Royal Opera House
Every costume, wig, jewel and accessory worn on the Royal Opera House stage is made in workshops perched on top of the building. The craftsmen and women who make Tosca’s ball gowns, the White Rabbit’s waistcoats and the Queen of the Night’s diadem are world class. They bring to life the vision of the world’s greatest costume designers, they can work for opera or ballet and they have the technical skill to make masterpieces with stage presence that also perform. The opportunity to enter this wonderland and see it at work will be a privilege and a pleasure.
Tiara Making at Bentley & Skinner
Bentley & Skinner’s Piccadilly windows display a history of fine jewellery including masterpieces by Fabergé, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. But it is the tiaras that stop traffic. With the opportunity to wear a tiara ever diminishing, a shop that still puts these diamond and platinum pieces of heaven in the window encourages London to dream. I cannot think of a more enchanted evening than the invitation from Bentley & Skinner to watch a masterclass in making the most precious piece of jewellery that a woman can wear. As Anita Loose’s heroine Lorelei Lee would say, ‘I just love finding new places to wear diamonds’.
The Bespoke Shirt at Turnbull & Asser
Turnbull & Asser has crafted bespoke shirts for everyone from Cecil Beaton, Winston Churchill and Sir Alec Guinness to Terence Stamp, Michael Caine and Daniel Craig. The firm’s shirts have also been worn by fashion queens Katherine Hepburn, Bianca Jagger and Diana, Princess of Wales. Whereas a bespoke suit can be ripped, smoothed and improved over several fittings, a bespoke shirt has to be spot-on for the first fitting. Cutting bespoke shirts is an exact science. The opportunity to spend an evening with T&A bespoke director Steven Quin and a glass of Churchill’s favourite Pol Roger for a masterclass in the art of the bespoke shirt is not to be missed.
The Dinner Suit at Henry Poole
In 1865, founding father of Savile Row Henry Poole cut the prototype dinner jacket for the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) to wear for informal dinners at Sandringham. The dinner jacket is now the most formal garment an Englishman is likely to wear as evening dress. An evening in the company of Henry Poole’s Livery Department head Keith Levett and cutter Tom Pendry is at the top of my list for Craft Week not least because I will be at No. 15 Savile Row to show guests the historic ledgers in the new Archive Room including that first order by HRH in 1865 for the first dinner jacket.