HE’S the suave telly tailor who has captured the imagination of millions with his hit new television show. Edinburgh style guru Patrick Grant, 40, is the dapper face of new BBC2 hit lifestyle show The Great British Sewing Bee which reached its grand finale last night.
Regularly drawing more than 2.5 million viewers a week, the Savile Row bigwig is now hopeful he – and co-presenter Claudia Winkleman, 41 – will be back for another series. And it’s no wonder. Produced by Love Productions, the same people behind the hugely popular Great British Bake Off, it is said to have all the right ingredients to become the next big hit.
Patrick said: “I love the TV work. It was tremendous fun but hard work at the same time. The contestants were amazingly talented. The TV bosses are very happy with how the show has gone and its figures so it’s fingers crossed for a second series.”
Last night’s show, saw finalists Lauren Guthrie and Ann Rowley, from Birmingham, and Sandra Lavender, from Wolverhampton, do battle. Ann, 81, who has been sewing since the age of six, triumphed over her younger rival. Asked to explain the success of the show, he said: “In recent years the UK has really switched on to both fashion and the practice of altering and embellishing clothes and the show does well to combines these two things.”
He’s speaking from a position of considerable expertise. Patrick, originally from Morningside, has risen to prominence in recent years as the owner of Savile Row tailors Norton and Sons, winning awards and plaudits in equal measure. His business empire – which includes the off-the-peg E Tautz line – is soon set to be expanded into a diffusion line for a major High Street retailer.
But his inspiration comes from a much darker place than the cosy world propagated by the Sewing Bee, with its love of crochet and shirt-making.
The former Edinburgh Academy pupil said: “Growing up in the Eighties in Edinburgh there was not much fashion about, there was either Aitken and Niven or Jenners; any new brands or styles that you saw on the streets were worn by football casuals, they were the style icons so to speak. I worked with a number of Hibs fans in a cafe in Princes Street Gardens and they turned me on to Lyle and Scott, Pringle, Burberry and Barbour.” Now living in London, Patrick regularly returns to the Capital to visit his mother, Susan, and father, James, who now lives in the Borders.
He said: “Fashion-wise Edinburgh has changed dramatically in recent years, you notice that the men are a lot better dressed these days and take a lot more pride in their appearance. It’s funny but all that traditional mens’ clothing from the Edinburgh of my youth is all back in style again so it’s gone full circle really.”
Looking for a buyer in small ad
PATRICK bought Norton & Sons in 2005 after spotting a small ad in the Financial Times saying the tailors was looking for a buyer. He then set about resurrecting the brand – once a favourite with Winston Churchill.
It has since become one of the most expensive men’s clothing ranges in the world.
In 2009, he relaunched E Tautz & Sons as a ready to wear brand. His list of celebrity clients includes the Duke of Edinburgh, Jools Holland and George Bush.
Last week Debenhams announced he is the latest designer to join its in-house diffusion wear. His discounted designs will join the ranges by Jasper Conran and Henry Holland for autumn/winter.