“That’s from Eric,” a British Red Cross volunteer at London’s best-connected charity shop on Chelsea’s Old Church Street cajoles a customer contemplating a black shiny down Moncler jacket, a snip at £300.
‘Eric’ is legendary rock guitarist, Eric Clapton, 73, who lives nearby and co-owns Cordings of Picaddily famed for its traditional English tailoring comprising clothes for country pursuits. The singer bought 50% of the label when it faced closure and regularly donates entire collections to the shop. He said at the time of his acquisiton:”I am a big fan of English traditional tailoring and have always been intrigued by the balance between functionality and style in the development of men’s fashion.
“I wanted to help preserve Cordings for myself so I could continue to shop there.”
Clapton’s spirit, looms larger than life here; in an inscribed penny loafer with the Wonderful Tonight crooner’s name and Cordings’ hunting suits, monk skins, corduroys, waistcoats and many other expensive attire. A Dolce and Gabbana wool overcoat spotting a gold chain label has been donated by David Beckham who with wife Victoria caused a stampede here some years ago when they emptied their wardrobes to the shop in aid of victims of the Phillipines typhoon.
Regulars at the shop’s designer evening sales event browse through the railings groaning with ready-to-wear and bespoke labels from Hermes, Oscar de la Renta, Chanel, Balenciaga, Berlutti, Manolo Blahnik [his eponymous boutique is next door] Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Christian Dior. Rules are straightforward, prices of items carrying gold stars are non-negotiable as donors want the price tags maintained even during sales. There is even a loyalty card scheme where customers accrue points with every purchase.
DANDY UP LIKE HUGH GRANT
Hugh Grant’s wardrobe as the calculating Phoenix Buchanan in Paddington 2 was the handiwork of London tailor Timothy Everest. While Grant is not renowned for his fashion sense, he has sent tongues wagging in his three-piece ensembles in this movie.