Pall Mall firm moving to Capital to escape the Olympics

Formula One driver Adrian Sutil with Arshad Mahmood of Apsley
Formula One driver Adrian Sutil with Arshad Mahmood of Apsley
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THEY have measured the finest inside legs around, and 
created the world’s most expensive suit.

Now a firm of exclusive London tailors is to set up a pop-up shop in Edinburgh to escape the Olympic crowds.

Apsley of Pall Mall will take over suites at the Caledonian Hotel

Apsley of Pall Mall will take over suites at the Caledonian Hotel

Apsley of Pall Mall will take over suites at the Caledonian Hilton to attract new customers to the world of bespoke tailoring during the Festival.

The 120-year-old firm’s fitting rooms are located behind the Olympic beach volleyball security cordons at Horse Guards and it said hardly any customers had made the journey in recent weeks.

So Apsley decided to dispatch its staff of four tailors to the Capital along with 300 suit samples in August and expects to see as many as 20 clients per day.

Younger office workers have been attracted to bespoke tailoring, managing director Arshad Mahmood told the Evening News, with prices from £550 closely competing with “off-the-peg” suits sold by upmarket high-street brands.

Apsley hit the headlines around the world three years ago when it created the world’s most expensive suit – retailing at £70,000.

It also serves as official tailor to Fulham and West Ham football clubs and recently created suits for former F1 star Adrian Sutil, which it believes promotes tailoring to a younger audience.

Mr Mahmood, a tailor since the age of 14, said he expected a great deal of interest from the Edinburgh clientele.

“We have a good number of clients from Edinburgh already and since no-one is travelling to London at the moment we thought we would come to the city next month,” he said.

“The trouble is everything is happening on Pall Mall. There’s beach volleyball across the road from us at Horse Guards and the running and cycling come right past our store, so there’s security everywhere.

“Buyers are telling us there’s too much traffic, too many people and they’re waiting until September to visit.

“Because of this though, we now have the time to ship everything to Edinburgh, to see some new clients and show them what we can create for them.”

Despite the recession, established Edinburgh outfitters continue to trade well, with Crombie on George Street and Peter Johnston on Queen Street – a former tailor of Kilgour of Savile Row – among the established names.

Mr Mahmood said the quality and durability of tailored suits were attracting more buyers.

“Much of our fabric comes from Scotland, with Holland and Sherry in the Borders and Harris Tweed from the north,” he said.

“And there is a tradition of fine tailoring in Edinburgh. It’s also not uncommon now for young office workers to spend £550 on an off-the-peg suit, so we suggest they can afford a bespoke suit.

“It fits perfectly, the cloth is much finer, and the suits last far longer due to the quality and construction.

“Our good Holland and Sherry suits go for around £900, which in Savile Row would cost £2500 – it’s almost a bargain.”

What goes into a suit that costs £70,000?

TO earn the title of world’s most expensive suit, Apsley and designer Alexander Amosu created a new cloth called Vanquish II.

Vicuña, a rare wild South American animal which only produces enough wool for shearing every three years, and qiviuk, the world’s most expensive wool, was blended with Himalayan pashmina to create the material.

Then tailors spent 80 hours sewing 5000 individual stitches – £14 per stitch – including adding nine 18-carat gold thread and diamond buttons.

A South African petroleum executive bought the suit for £70,000 in 2009.