The short answer is ‘No’, but of course it’s never quite that simple. Traditionally the term bespoke has indeed been used for men’s tailoring only, however as women’s clothing needs have changed it is now used for both genders. Many renowned Savile Row tailors have been creating women’s suits for years and continue to do so. What is new though is the increasing number of female tailors catering to today’s business women. From Kathryn Sargent to Gormley & Gamble and Katherine Maylin there is a diverse range of excellent tailors to choose from.
Bespoke versus Haute Couture
What bespoke is to men, haute couture is to women. This is certainly true in terms of craftsmanship and skill, but that is perhaps where the similarities end. In France the term Haute Couture is actually protected in law by the Chambre Syndicale de la haute couture. In order to qualify for the official label a fashion house must meet certain stringent criteria. These include showing two new collections to the press and clients every year, employing a certain number of people as well as creating exclusive garments for clients to their specifications. In the UK the bespoke tailors of Savile Row have set up a similar system. It is not enshrined in law as the French one is, but in order to qualify for membership of the association certain criteria must also be met.
Whilst Haute Couture ranges from tailoring, day dresses and outerwear to extravagant evening gowns, bespoke encompasses tailoring, uniforms, outerwear and black tie. So while you could get a sharply tailored suit from a couturier, you probably won’t be able to order a bead encrusted evening gown from a Savile Row tailor.
Women’s Tailoring at Dara Ford
My own style of tailoring is a unique mix of skills that I acquired over the past two decades of working in haute couture, high end fashion, studying for a BA in fashion design and running my own business. My core principles are creating wearable, comfortable pieces for professional women who never-the-less want a contemporary edge to their look. I strive to design tailored pieces that are not copies of a traditional men’s suit, but have new and interesting seam detailing perfectly suited to a woman’s shape.
The panelled jacket from my collection for example has intricately curved seams on the back which frame the body. From the front the seams create a faux lapel dropping gently into curved panels at the hip.
The asymmetric jacket has a draped collar which can be worn three different ways. In order to keep the look clean and simple I sourced magnetic buttons which can be hidden between the outer and facing layers.
The tailored dresses have subtle yet interesting neck details and a loose fitting waist. This ensures that they are comfortable to wear throughout the day with the option of adding a waist cinching belt for a more formal look.
Common to all of the above are quality fabrics in 100% natural materials which have a wonderful weight, drape and feel to them.
To discuss your tailoring requirements please get in touch here to find out more.