Country style suits Bishop's Stortford's Savile Row tailor Alexandra Wood as she swaps High Street for Grandey's Place, Warren Park Heritage Craft Centre, at Green Tye
Bishop's Stortford's own Savile Row tailor Alexandra Wood is using a new pattern to suit her customers.
After operating her business from the former Tissiman's menswear shop over the past five years, she has established a new base near Much Hadham.
It will be a wrench to leave the historic High Street premises that have been the home of made-to-measure menswear in the town for four centuries, but the coronavirus pandemic convinced Alexandra it was time to refocus on the bespoke side of her business.
She said: "During Covid-19, everyone got used to making appointments and bookings and really organising their time, and we saw that as an opportunity to change."
Parking problems in the town centre also contributed to her decision. Her aim is to offer clients a luxurious and stress-free experience without struggling to find a space.
Her new studio at Grandey's Place – the Warren Park Heritage Craft Centre at Green Tye, home of a range of highly skilled artists and craftspeople – provides that relaxing ambience. She said: "It's just beautiful."
In the move away from ready-to-wear, she will be offering five collections: business, business and smart casual, holiday and travel, off-duty and occasions.
Her sharp tailoring has earned some high-profile fans. During her career she has dressed the likes of film and theatre director Rupert Goold, former Labour and Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna, who featured in GQ magazine's 50 Best Dressed Men in Britain list, best-selling novelist and journalist Tony Parsons and impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner.
Jason Cowley, editor of The New Statesman and fellow Bishop's Stortford resident, said: "She has great flair and style. She is personable and never pushy. She has a great eye as well as technical expertise as a tailor. We have developed a good rapport and I trust her judgement, which is essential. She won't bullshit me – and I appreciate that!"
Prices at the new studio start with a minimum order of £2,000. For £25,000, Alexandra will act as a "bespoke-style concierge" and create a complete capsule wardrobe.
She said: "This is for a busy professional who wants to look good but doesn't have a lot of time."
Letting her take charge is also "an investment in sustainability", with men earning in excess of £250,000 a year often spending more than £30,000 on clothes and then leaving 80% of poorly chosen garments in the wardrobe.
She said: "I make sure every piece is worn."
As a female trailblazer, she has operated by appointment from Savile Row, the home of British men's tailoring, since 2008 and said her new rural venture would offer the same superior experience but with a "more relaxing vibe".
As summer ends, she is gearing up for the winter season as orders need up to four months to create so customers get the very best experience.
Her clients can expect to be greeted with a margarita or a cappuccino as they browse mood boards in sleek surroundings that are neither "stuffy" nor "snooty". She said she was determined to inject fun into the luxury market with her new venture.