House of Nutter: The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row

Lance Richardson. Crown Archetype, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-451-49646-1
Journalist Richardson transports readers to the colorful days of postwar London in this dual portrait of brothers Tommy and David Nutter, the former a legendary fashion designer who died of AIDS in 1992, the latter a rock music photographer. Born and raised in north London, Tommy began his career in bespoke tailoring as a teenager in 1960 before opening his own shop, Nutters of Savile Row, in 1969. Tommy’s relationship with Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s assistant put David in the right place at the right time to photograph the wedding of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which essentially launched David’s career. He goes on to photograph Mick Jagger, tour with Elton John, and befriend Michael Jackson. Richardson provides a fascinating look into the process of Savile Row tailoring in the 1960s, a history lesson on the fashion influences of King Edward VII (and the later “Teddy Boys” of the 1950s), and a glimpse of underground queer subculture of the 1950s where the Nutters found a community. His descriptions of Tommy’s designs are eloquent and vivid (Tommy’s suits are called “neo-Edwardian dandyism”), and are accompanied by 170 photographs that capture the fashion spirit of the age, many of them taken by brother David. Richardson’s affection for his subjects is touching and establishes a tone of admiration, and while this results in occasionally glossing over the Nutters’ faults (there are bewilderingly brief references to Tommy’s “episodes of operatic drama”), his enthusiasm is contagious. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/15/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-0-451-49647-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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