Chairman of Gieves & Hawkes and instrumental in the founding of Savile Row Bespoke – an organisation that promotes and protects the hand-crafting skills of the tailors of Savile Row – Mark Henderson is an expert on London’s luxury scene. “London has been one of the world’s great luxury markets for a long time,” explains Henderson. “Bond Street, Savile Row and the reputation of Mayfair and St James’s go right back to the 18th century. I would argue that Mayfair is the epicentre – there’s really nowhere else on earth that offers the same excitement, beauty, choice and security of a sophisticated urban environment.”
"I think craftsmanship is one of the most attractive aspects of the luxury market"
Alongside its heritage, Henderson considers the talent of London’s highly skilled craftspeople as one of the city’s best strengths. “London boasts some exceptional craftsmanship – witnessed by the City Livery Companies that are rooted in craft; The Goldsmiths, The Merchant Taylors, The Cordwainers – all of which retain their links that go back, in some cases, for a thousand years.” Most recently, Henderson cemented his commitment to supporting British craftspeople with the launch of The New Craftsmen in 2012 – a Mayfair shop selling furniture, ceramics, home accessories and lighting created by Britain’s most talented artisans. “I think craftsmanship is one of the most attractive aspects of the luxury market,” he explains. “And by craftsmanship, I mean mastery of material. It offers two things – enormous satisfaction for the customer and, to me crucially, satisfaction for the maker. London remains one of the world’s great craft hubs, with studios and workshops across the capital. London Craft week in May is a great opportunity to celebrate these talents.”
"London remains one of the world's great craft hubs, with studios and workshops
across the capital"
Naturally, Henderson is an authority on London’s most talented luxury makers: “I love Michael Ruh’s lovely hand-blown glassware, Sebastian Cox and Gareth Neal’s amazing furniture and Ruth Tomlinson’s beautiful, subtle jewellery,” says Henderson. “In terms of brands, I also think what Jason Basmajian has done for Gieves & Hawkes has been world-class, and I love the fact that Bremont is once again making timepieces in England.” He continues: “In terms of menswear, James Brown is doing a great job at Hostem. Trunk in Marylebone is fun and I’ve got great admiration for Nick Ashley and the Private White V.C team. Patrick Grant is also doing a great job with E. Tautz.” Despite these successes, Henderson still sees room for progress in London’s luxury market. “There are two things I believe could quite easily be a part of improving the luxury scene in London that I would like to see. Firstly, more residential space and, secondly, a real embracing of ethics in luxury. Underlining what we do in the luxury industry should be the concept of beautifully made, carefully designed and ethically sourced – something of lasting value. I feel the British understand and like that sort of value – and that way we are very well placed to build from it.”