The British tailoring house of Anderson & Sheppard grew its foundations and soft drape house style from the work of a Dutchman, Frederick Scholte and a Swede by the name of Peter (Per) Gustav Anderson.
At the turn of the twentieth century, cutter and master tailor Scholte began working from no. 7 Savile Row, whereupon he embarked on cutting what was soon to become recognised as the London Cut or English Drape. The pioneering style was a reaction to the narrow, more constricted tailoring of Victorian times and was to mark one of the most influential moves in modern tailoring.
Per Sheppard was already established on Savile Row, founding the company as it is today in 1906. He was mentored by Scholte, apprenticing with him before moving on to develop the cut and style himself. Anderson & Sheppard was later to become the most celebrated practitioners of the English drape. Ironically, for what was to become an institution of British tailoring, Anderson & Sheppard (and indeed Scholte too) were considered as the renegades of Savile Row. Their appropriation of an easier, more fluid style went against the establishment and its tradition of military tailoring. They were civil tailors.
Scholte’s new style had found a fan in the Prince of Wales (later to be the Duke of Windsor) who embraced its softness and hailed his work. However, Scholte’s desire to maintain a low profile and his reticence to being introduced to new customers, even when from within the Royal circle itself, meant that society would instead call upon the services of Mr Anderson and his partner, trouser cutter Sydney Horatio Sheppard.
In 1927, in a bid to facilitate its expanding business, Anderson & Sheppard moved across the street from its original premises at no.13 Savile Row, to larger and more imposing premises on the corner at no.30. These, like the company’s fluid signature cut with its soft shoulders and ease of movement, were to remain constant and unchanged for the eight decades to come.
The 1930’s were a golden age for Anderson & Sheppard. Its clothing had graced the shoulders of Charlie Chaplin, Cole Porter and Rudolph Valentino during the 1920’s and continued the momentum in the decade to come. Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Gary Cooper, Laurence Olivier and George and Ira Gershwin were just a few of the men who were welcomed through its doors and recommended by their friends. Whilst the company eschewed publicity, it’s well known network of customers from the theatre, Hollywood, society and politics made it an influential force in the world of men’s style.
Throughout the decades that followed, Anderson and Sheppard maintained its tradition and core stylistic values. Whilst the 50’s and 60’s saw London’s West End flirt with changing fashions and menswear focus, and the 70s and 80s saw several members of the Savile Row community diversify into ready to wear and made to measure clothing, Anderson & Sheppard upheld its house style and bespoke traditions, maintaining focus on continued craftsmanship and discretion.
Move to Old Burlington Street
In 2005, one year short of a century on Savile Row and with its building due for redevelopment by the landlord, Anderson & Sheppard relocated to its current premises at 32 Burlington Street, 176 yards from its former home. The faithful and loyal followed and were immediately charmed by the welcoming, more intimate atmosphere of the new shop. The transparency of its design allowed customers to walk through into the cutting room to observe their clothing being cut at first hand and view the wall of customer patterns on the right hand side of the cutting team which serves as constant reference. The display of measure and day books in the shop and the familiar faces of the company’s staff provided a reassuring reminder not only of Anderson & Sheppard’s illustrious past, but of its present.
In 2011, Head Cutter and Managing Director, Mr John Hitchcock became Grantee for the company’s Royal Warrant to HRH Prince of Wales. The firm’s relationship with Prince Charles was highlighted the following year in 2012 when he paid an official visit to the bespoke shop in Old Burlington Street. After decades as a customer, his Royal Highness spent time in the cutting room and workshops, meeting staff and appraising the bespoke process at first hand. The tour of the company also reinforced the importance and sustainability of wool in menswear as highlighted by the Prince’s role as Patron of the Campaign for Wool.
Another major milestone of 2012 was the opening of the Anderson & Sheppard Haberdashery at 17 Clifford Street. A perfect counterpart to the rules and discipline of bespoke tailoring, it offers crafted, updated, classic clothing, sourced and designed exclusively for the company by the very best makers in the UK and Europe. As well as specialising in made to measure trousers (with 12 styles developed by the bespoke cutting team), the shop offers a rich variety of shirts, knitwear, outerwear, ties and pocket squares, all conceived to work with more casual clothing, or to complement business suit or sports jacket.
Anderson & Sheppard expanded its tradition of US trunk shows in late 2016, adding Germany and Hong Kong to its overseas visits schedule.