Edward Sexton obituary


The purchasers of Edward Sexton, who has died aged 80, knew precisely what they needed – and would get – from him over 54 years of tailoring: a long-bodied go well with, with extravagant however by no means vulgar lapels, that illusioned away defects within the shoulders however didn’t beef them up, was springy down the backbone and made probably the most of a youthful waist, if obtainable.

Sexton trousers waxed and waned in width in response to the occasions, however by no means absurdly – you wouldn’t need to alter by a centimetre the right proportions of the go well with pants that the Beatles John, Ringo and Paul wore for his or her impromptu album-cover photograph striding over the Abbey Highway zebra crossing in 1969.

That was the 12 months the Sexton go well with got here into its personal on its rightful premises, which weren’t among the many young-male-gear boutiques down Kings Highway. He had loved the wild enjoyable available in these, and appreciated the inventiveness of their clothes, however not their hit-and-miss match, and barely tacked collectively iffy materials. That offended Sexton. Tailoring was his vocation, and it meant to him the millimetric measuring, chopping and hand-sewing of Savile Row.

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Edward Sexton, left, and curator James Sherwood with among the garments on show on the Savile Row exhibition in Paris, France, in 2007. {Photograph}: Stephen Lock/Shutterstock

So he went into partnership with the salesperson and designer Tommy Nutter, and with finance from Cilla Black and the Beatles administration man Peter Brown, who was Nutter’s lover, they rented No 35a Savile Row, opening on Valentine’s Day, 1969.

Nutter had the extra memorable surname (therefore the brand new enterprise’s signboard – Nutter’s of Savile Row), a wider social circle, unbounded attraction and a present for publicity-generating mischief. Sexton and Nutter in gleeful cooperation introduced the cool boutiques’ perspective to Savile Row.

Their agency’s welcoming entrance door had empty champagne bottles hanging on pink ribbons to make use of as a knocker, and potential clients wanted no discreet private or household introductions to achieve admission to the premises. There was a correct glass store window displaying precise clothes, at all times wild. Inside, garments had been draped over dustbins, slung over chairs. There is likely to be stuffed rats in tuxedos, or mad video games. Nutter’s was a celebration for purchasers wanting to spend cash earned largely in inventive industries on attractive outfits crafted with conventional abilities.

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Mick and Bianca Jagger’s marriage ceremony in St Tropez, south of France, in 1971. Edward Sexton created his three-piece go well with. {Photograph}: ANL/Shutterstock

The talents and the attention – an interior imaginative and prescient of perfect shapes – had been Sexton’s. He and Nutter shared a nostalgia for the just about female curves of Nineteen Thirties and early 40s tailoring – double-breasted cuts, voluptuous lapels – which Sexton integrated into his core kind. This appeared glamorous although by no means languid on males shifting with their music on stage, no matter their age and form: Elton John, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney spreading over half a century, Jarvis Cocker narrower than ever on his current return, Rick Astley bounding in dusty pink throughout this summer season’s Glastonbury. There was at all times room to rock in a Sexton go well with’s knees and thighs. David Hockney wears Sexton, too, the fits complementing the artworks.

The Sexton lower additionally labored nicely on ladies. Mid-60s Paris-originated “trouser fits” for girls had been designed flat on paper, like pastiches of masculinity for fashions with no subcutaneous fats. However Sexton’s undulating line flattered a large feminine vary – Twiggy, Yoko Ono, Annie Lennox. Sexton created Mick Jagger’s pale three-piece for his 1971 marriage to Bianca, and plenty of even higher fits for her after.

Harry Kinds performing in an Edward Sexton go well with

His current sorbet-coloured fits for Harry Kinds up to date all streams of fluidity. Sexton was at all times happy that he let ladies store and work in Savile Row, and had organized an internship there for McCartney’s vogue pupil daughter Stella so she might show her seriousness about needle and material. Later, when she took over Chloé in Paris, she invited him there to assist her tailor, however in delicate feminine textiles.

The Row had been in his life a very long time. Born in Dagenham, then in Essex, the fourth of six youngsters of Isabelle (nee Pitt), an workplace cleaner, and William Sexton, a public well being inspector, Edward was introduced up in Elephant and Fortress, south-east London, and went to English Martyrs faculty in Southwark. By 12, nonetheless, he was already odd-jobbing for his uncle’s tailoring workshop, eager for the day he would transfer up from sporting shorts to gray flannel trousers, which he might reshape drainpipe tight just like the revived hourglass Edwardian silhouette adopted by the teddy boys.

He labored part-time with a small West Finish tailor, then post-school as a waiter on the Waldorf lodge, the place he tasted just a little of a lifetime of type. His father suggested him to study a talent and turn into his personal grasp, so he discovered a job by means of Tailor and Cutter journal as a bespoke trimmer, ending fits at Harry Corridor in Regent Road whereas finding out at Barrett Road technical school; he then moved to the superstar tailor Cyril Fortress.

Rick Astley sporting Edward Sexton at Glastonbury

Then he cracked his ambition, an apprenticeship at Kilgour, French & Stanbury, in Savile Row, the place he discovered to chop from Fred Stanbury himself. Sexton was neat, spry and natty in his rigorously collected bespoke wardrobe, with a pre-estuarine Cockney accent that introduced him up towards immovable snobbery on the Row. He discovered to not care. The voice stayed because it was, gravelled by time. He stored a contact of punk about his hair.

At 24, he was appointed cutter at Donaldson, Williams & Ward, the place he met the front-of-house Nutter within the agency’s Burlington Arcade showroom; Sexton already had his personal non-public shoppers and workroom in Soho. Their daring Row enterprise, the primary new agency there in a century, lasted till Sexton, with a sober sense of enterprise, purchased out the hedonistic Nutter and have become managing director in 1976.

As Row rents rose, he moved in 1990 to a workshop in Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, the place he accrued all of the shoppers he might probably outfit. The Pollen Property, which owns a part of Savile Row, and needed to spend money on its authentic craft identification, enticed Sexton again in 2020, to a good-looking retailer a number of doorways and a social revolution away from Nutters. He stated on his triumphant return: “I don’t suppose I’ve ever actually ‘labored’ a day in my life as a result of it’s been such a pleasure … It’s not a job, it’s a ardour.”

He married Joan Carter in 1963. She and their youngsters, Angela, Paul and Philip, survive him.


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