One of the most famous names in men’s tailoring, Gieves & Hawkes is a company made of two very famous halves. The brand’s history is, in reality, the story of two separate houses which merged just 40 years ago.
Gieves was established in 1784 as tailor and celebrated supplier of uniforms for the British Royal Navy. Hawkes, instead, supplied the British Army from 1771. Their most famous customers, respectively, were Admiral Lord Nelson and Field Marshal The Duke of Wellington, the two most important commanders in British history, whose great victories at Trafalgar in 1805 and Waterloo in 1815, against the French emperor Napoleon, established Great Britain as a major maritime and land power, and precipitated the growth of the British Empire throughout the rest of the 19th century.
Through their services to the Royal Navy and British Army, both Gieves and Hawkes played a unique part in these battles and their histories are inexorably linked with the distinction of the British military and Britain itself.
To further cement that alliance, both companies have dressed ten generations of British royalty, from King George III in 1809 up to the present day Queen Elizabeth II, her son the Prince of Wales and her grandsons, Princes William and Harry. Through its long history, Hawkes also kitted out some of the great explorers of the Victorian era, the most notable being Sir Henry Morton Stanley, who famously discovered the whereabouts of another celebrated pioneer, Dr David Livingstone, in Africa, greeting him with the immortal words: ‘Dr Livingstone, I presume?’ Dr Livingstone was wearing a Gieves consular cap, so that meeting represented the first coming together of Gieves and Hawkes.
Gieves moved into Hawkes’ premises at No.1 Savile Row in 1974, when the two companies merged. Home to Hawkes since 1913, No.1 is now perhaps the most famous address in international menswear and the ultimate destination for men’s style. Formerly an 18th-century aristocrat’s home, the building became the Royal Geographical Society in the mid-19th century, and the walls still resonate with tales of adventure, exploration and gentlemanly endeavours. With such a prestigious address it is
no surprise that bespoke tailoring is at the heart of the brand and is still handmade on the premises.
Clients visit from all over the world to experience the luxury of a garment made from scratch and entirely by hand, to their exact design and specification.
Those with less time (bespoke takes around three months) might opt for the made-to-measure service that offers a menu of completely customisable options and myriad fabric choices. Orders take between six and eight weeks to complete. Of course, they also offer a complete wardrobe of ready-to-wear. With many generations of venerable clients, Gieves & Hawkes is the go-to shop for occasion wear for men, trusted to meet the strictest codes and rules of dressing, from black tie, white tie and morning dress to the creation of unique garments for coronations and state occasions. Perhaps just as important, though, is a gentleman’s everyday wardrobe which is also taken care of with the same military precision that is the DNA of this unique brand, whose history is woven into the fabric of Britain’s greatness.
GIEVES & HAWKES 1 SAVILE ROW, LONDON W1S 3JR +44 (0)20 7432 6403