Bespoke Linings - The Ultimate Private Pleasure

The ultimate refinement for some of our most sophisticated clients is the creation of a bespoke lining, often rather surprisingly on the eccentric or flamboyant side. Combined with a luxurious cloth, it creates a discreet yet powerful personalisation. Stewart Granger was one of our first clients for whom we created mohair coats lined with Hermes silk, a tradition continuing to this day with a recent brown cord jacket, and summer Loro Piana check.

A blast of colour. A flicker of movement. A flash of detail. In recent years, Huntsman has perfected the art of printing on silk and lining a jacket to deliver the ultimate private commission. For collectors, this service has opened a new route to personal expression.

Beyond the choice of artwork, there is the pleasure of secrets and surprises to be had. As artist Ed Ruscha commented, when slipping on his bespoke suit: “You know that you wear the jacket like this but then there’s this surprise, almost like you’re flashing.” He is one of a small number of individuals who have seen their vision brought to life in silk.

A limited edition

Ruscha decided to feature his work Boy Meets Girl in a limited edition of six jackets made in 2016. Words seemingly etched in neon hover over a grid of night-time Los Angeles. The painting just happens to be owned by another Huntsman customer, actress and model Lauren Hutton, who’d won it from the artist on a bet in the seventies. “It’s like all that early hope,” she’s said about Boy Meets Girl. ‘“When love is young, you can change, you can get excited about different things.”

Classic meets colour

For Pierre Lagrange, Huntsman chairman, here was an opportunity to play with expectations. On the outside, his camel coat is classically cool and stylish. Inside it explodes with colour – oranges, yellows, black and greens – in a detail from Francis Bacon, Landscape in Malabata. A technically demanding piece, balancing the tones and getting the best colour match was a highly collaborative process between printer, tailor and client.

Traditional with a twist

It’s this interpretation of desire that makes the process so satisfying. One Huntsman customer is an avid shoot enthusiast who enjoys attending shooting dinners in a smoking jacket with a twist. For inside his garment a covey of grouse bursts into flight, the clap of their wings almost audible in a print from fieldsports photographer Tarquin Millington-Drake.

Iconic impact

The inside of a jacket is an incredibly powerful canvas on which to work. One of the most significant decisions is that of how to position the piece. But for Magritte’s Man in a Bowler Hat, this was easy. There he sits, slap bang in the centre of the jacket. To anyone glimpsing the lining, all they will see is a delicious sky blue silk. To the wearer, the face is obscured, the dove forever in flight…

Embroidery is an art we celebrate at Huntsman, from the extraordinary peacocks featuring on the coat commissioned for David Bowie (see below), to a psalm beloved by Martin Luther King. reproduced word by word inside David Oyelowo’s jacket, proudly showing off at the Golden Globe celebrating his rendition of the King in Selma.

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