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Henry Poole & Co. founder of Savile Row: The Art of Bespoke Tailoring and Wool Cloth at The Bowes Museum
Keith Levett, Head of the Livery department at Henry Poole & Co, at work. Photo: ©Henry Poole & Co.
COUNTY DURHAM.- Henry Poole & Co, the company that created the dinner jacket and which established Savile Row is the subject of the inaugural exhibition of men’s tailoring and craftsmanship at The Bowes Museum.

Founded in 1806, Henry Poole & Co was granted a royal warrant by Queen Victoria in 1869 and has continued to hold the royal warrant ever since.

In 1865, Henry Poole & Co made the original dinner jacket for the Prince of Wales, a garment which transformed men’s fashion and etiquette, and in the USA became known as the Tuxedo.

The exhibition, displayed in The Bowes Museum’s internationally renowned Fashion and Textile Gallery, includes a contemporary dinner jacket, a single breasted jacket in Churchill stripe, a tweed shooting jacket with waistcoat and plus twos and a sports blazer which bears the Napoleonic Eagle, all made by Henry Poole & Co using fine Merino wool fabric and wool tweed.

The exhibition is a celebration of the art of bespoke tailoring and looks at the history of high end British tailoring and the use of wool in fine clothing. The wool fabrics used in the exhibition have been sourced from British mills and include a Churchill stripe; the fabric created for Winston Churchill, one of Henry Poole’s many famous clients. Complementing the contemporary clothing are ceremonial outfits from Henry Poole’s archive and garments from The Bowes Museum’s fashion collection never previously exhibited, including: court dress with an embroidered floral waistcoat reflecting Georgian taste by Henry Poole & Co; hunting dress and a rare man’s wedding suit of 1842. A 19th Century portrait of Emperor Napoleon III by Jules Vignon from The Bowes Museum’s permanent collection is also displayed. Napoleon III is depicted in full ceremonial outfit tailored by Henry Poole & Co. Napoleon III was Henry Poole & Co’s first warrant holder in 1858.

A programme of events to illustrate the art of bespoke tailoring will include live demonstrations by tailors from Henry Poole & Co.

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