He was the fashion visionary who revolutionised British bespoke tailoring, combining the conservative tradition of Savile Row with the swinging sixties. Edward Sexton (1942-2023) was at the heart of 20th century pop culture, he was a major designer known for his mastery of tailoring as he dressed the Beatles, Elton John, Mick Jagger and Twiggy, championing his high-profile style. His training included Savile Row’s Kilgour, French & Stanbury and then Welsh & Jefferies. But it was at Donaldson, Williams & Ward when Sexton found his true calling and met tailor Tommy Nutter, with whom he identified with his ideas for a change in the formality of suit making that prevailed at Savile Row. Although both came from working class East London backgrounds, they dressed a host of celebrities during the Swinging London era. They helped transform the way British men dressed, and by extension, through their influence, the rest of the world. Sexton’s earlier training to create military and riding clothes contributed to the new look he created in the 1960s of larger shoulders, wider lapels and a higher waist – a look that dominated men’s suits until the 1970s.
Together with Nutter they opened Nutters on Savile Row in 1969. He was the first new bespoke tailor to arrive on the street in over a century. The design of the shop was a far cry from the previously understated look of traditional tailors. It was the first to have windows that showed – rather than hid – what was available inside. Sexton’s concept of fashion opened up new avenues by dressing women as well. The famous Twiggy was a customer, along with Cilla Black and Bianca Jagger. Sexton bought out Nutter in the mid-1970s amidst a financial crisis. In 1982, he opened a store under his own name, but left Savile Row for Knightsbridge in 1990. Paul McCartney’s daughter, Stella, was an apprentice in his business. He continued to operate, by appointment only, from a studio in Beauchamp Place, producing bespoke tailoring for men and women offering a complete Sexton ‘look’.
Photos Courtesy of edwardsexton