For over a hundred years, Huntsman has created its distinctive tweed collections. This spring, nine of its most recent designs take centre stage in the window of 11 Savile Row. The installation is the first in a series of new commissions for this unique space, designed and made by Tiger Chadwick. It tells the story behind the tailor’s signature garments: of a fabric woven at one of the world’s oldest mills, inspired by the rich, earthy colours of the local Scottish landscape, brought bang up to date with brilliantly bold overchecks. “I see it as a flag; an emblem of the longstanding partnership between Huntsman and the mill.”
Tiger is a Huntsman alumni. She worked in the store six years ago as a tailor’s apprentice – “it’s where I first worked with wool” – and has since graduated with a masters in garment technology. For Huntsman’s chairman, Pierre Lagrange, her knowledge of the house and her research into the properties and potential of wool formed the perfect starting point for a commission. “I was keen to see what Huntsman might mean for a young woman today,” he says, “and Tiger has brought an appreciation of the craft of making, a passion for tailoring, and a great understanding of cloth to the piece.”
The flag is suspended, within the window. Nine simple panels are stitched together, their seams exposed in a bold statement that lets the tweeds’ colours, patterns and weaves speak for themselves. “I wanted to present them without distractions,” says Tiger. She hopes it draws passersby into the store to find out more. “I’d like to raise awareness of this wonderful material and the fun that can be had with it.”
For Huntsman that runs all the way from finding new and innovative ways to use tweed – to line a wall or furnish an airstream for example – to creating your own bespoke design. And the timing of the flag’s installation couldn’t be more serendipitous, as VIP guests gather to judge the winner of the house’s annual tweed competition.
This is an opportunity to experiment with the pinks, greys, purples and browns of moor and highland, to play with such legendary checks as herringbone, Prince of Wales, houndstooth and to create a design that the winner can truly call their own. With 285 entries from around the world, it’s clear that many want to join this exclusive club. As Tiger notes, the sartorial love affair with tweed continues.