Mark Powell: An artist with a needle and thread
Renowned for his classically inspired tailoring, Mark Powell’s clothes have attained iconic status via a successful combination of bold, experimental cuts and historically-informed styling.
Established in 1985, Powell is now one of London’s most influential bespoke tailors and a one-off in the world of international haute couture. He’s a man who has maintained an independent, unique vision for more than three decades, a sartorial vision that remains focused on the marriage of street style and flare to the traditions of Savile Row.
His is a high style and, to borrow a quote from American man of letters Gay Talese, Powell is an “artist with a needle and thread”. It’s the sharp end of menswear, realised with old world panache.
And if style is the perfection of a point of view, then Powell’s continues to be sought as players from the worlds of film, television, music and sport come knocking, including George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Mick and Bianca Jagger, David Bowie, George Michael, Bryan Ferry, Naomi Campbell, Tom Jones, Jonathan Ross, Vic Reeves, Usher, Frank Lampard, Goldie, Morrissey, Kevin Rowland, Keith Flint from The Prodigy, The Killers, film director Joe Wright, Keira Knightley, Phil Daniels, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Sean Bean and, more recently, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Martin Freeman and Paul Weller.
Magazines and journals such as Esquire, Arena, GQ, L’Uomo Vogue and The Huffington Post and books such as The Look, The New English Dandy and Savile Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke by James Sherwood and Tom Ford have documented Powell’s rise to the position of pre-eminent London stylist, and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then it’s a fact of which Powell is only too aware.
“There are others who try to copy what I do,” he says, “but they don’t know how to get the right balance between exaggeration, subtlety and styles. It all comes down to detailing, while keeping a dandy edge. I’m firstly about style, and then I’m about the craft of tailoring.”
As an uncompromising stylist, modernist and educator, he’s a man to whom details will always matter.
Established in 1985, Mark Powell, one of London’s most iconic and influential bespoke tailors. Renowned for his classically inspired tailoring, combined with experimental cuts and styling, he was one of the first to successfully bridge the gap between the traditions of savile row and contemporary street style.
I worked in up-market retail to start with, basically it was there I got my first job in 1985. I worked for a company on Kings Road called Robot that sold 50s inspired clothing and shoes and I managed their shop in Floral Street. I got my third shop in Archie Street, Soho, in 1985 and that’s how it all began. So it was sort of a personal interest and then became something I really wanted to do, it was a PASSION always really.
Over the years Mark has dressed countless celebrities from the worlds of film, television, music and sport including : George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, George Michael, Bryan Ferry, Naomi Campbell, Tom Jones, Take That, Scary Spice, Jonathan Ross, Daniel Radcliffe, Usher, Paul Weller, Keira Knightley, Martin Freeman, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Sean Bean.
My clothing is nostalgic inspired but I always make sure it still looks modern and contemporary, so it doesn’t look part costume or something you see in a Bugsy Malone film, if you know what I mean. I have done some pretty avant-garde stuff with women’s wear and have even done some interesting stuff with tailoring. I have far less one domination than most tailors, because I express fashion style through tailoring. My tailoring is more about style firstly, which is then about the craft of tailoring, you know. It’s fine being into the craft of tailoring and that goes without saying, it should be of right quality, it should be well made and it should be well cut. There are others who try to copy what I do normally but when someone over details things then it just loses what it is. I used to do flare-cuffs, but there are those tailors who have copied it and made it look like a funking Concorde wing. They don’t know how to get the balance between exaggeration, subtle details and styles. I suppose it all comes down to detailing while still having a dandy edge, but equally not looking like a costume.