Pete Doherty and I both get a kick when we look into a mirror and see lots of white lines that are perfectly lined up…
I do feel a little cruel using this picture of Pete as in my past I have stumbled out of clubs like Back-to-Basics and SW1 at five in the morning looking a little ‘worse for wear,’ and so apologise to our Burberry clad friend for using a cheap shot to try and inject some humour into this missive.
Anyway, back to white lines – check out these beauties below:
Can you see how the chalk-stripes on the shoulder match-up across the seam, and how those on the collar meet with those running down the back of the coat?
Beautiful, and it gets even better – at the top of the page, you’ll notice how the stripes on the collar match-up with the stripes on the peak lapel. Bring on Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee because this my friends is a bit of tailoring magic.
There are some tailors on the Row who say that matching up the stripes on the shoulders is impossible without corrupting the integrity and fit of the jacket. They argue that the back of the shoulder is longer than the front and so fullness (extra cloth) needs to be eased into the seam to avoid any tightness across the shoulder, which in doing so, makes it impossible to get the stripes in the right place. A convincing argument, so who to believe?
I put this to a young Yorshire tailor by the name of Robert who helps to make-up my coats, as well as those of a number of well known London tailoring houses. He’s a cracking lad who loves a bit of banter (usually at my expense), and his enthusiasm for the trade fills me with joy – he even reads historic books on pattern-cutting during his lunch-break! He simply grinned, shrugged his shoulders and with a typically blunt reply made it clear he was not of the same opinion.
I then spent the next forty five minutes trying to get to the bottom of it with two other tailors and also to try and better understand more about what is actually involved in getting the stripes on the lapels and collar to match.
In short, it is so complicated that my head nearly exploded and without getting too technical, or giving away too many secrets, the shoulders are matched up at the cutting stage and the collar is handmade (see below) and put on by hand at the under-basting and finishing stages.
Going off piste for a second, I want to talk about my brother, Edward – I believe he has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. If you look in his kitchen, all the labels on the tins in his cupboards face the same direction, it is so clean you could perform surgery on the work surfaces and all his herbs are lined up on the shelf alphabetically. This is clearly a man who can see the value in matching stripes!
All I can say is this – I adore pin-stripes, like mine to match and have never experienced any tightness across the shoulders as a result. The unbroken flow of those striking white lines as they sweep majestically down to the floor to meet my Jeffery’s is, much like Pete Doherty, poetry in motion.