Turnbull & Asser

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Turnbull & Asser
Private
Founded 1885; 133 years ago (1885)
Founder John Arthur Turnbull
Ernest Asser
Headquarters London, W1
United Kingdom
Number of locations
London (3) and New York (1)
Products Shirts, knitwear, suits, accessories, hosiery
Services Bespoke, made-to-measure, ready-to-wear
Website www.turnbullandasser.com

Turnbull & Asser is a gentleman's bespoke shirtmaker established in 1885. The company has its flagship store on Jermyn Street, St James's, as well as its bespoke store around the corner on Bury Street, a third London store located in Mayfair, and the Turnbull Townhouse located in New York.

The fashion house has dressed figures such as Prince Charles, Sir Winston Churchill[1], Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Charlie Chaplin, Sir Laurence Olivier, Lauren Bacall and Pablo Picasso. It is notably famous for its work in film, providing shirts and ties for the James Bond films Dr. No, The World Is Not Enough and Casino Royale, 1974's The Great Gatsby and more recently, Kingsman and its sequel, Kingsman II: The Golden Circle[2]. Although predominantly a gentleman's dresser, it also specialises in ladies pyjamas (as seen on Sophia Loren in A Countess From Hong Kong[3], as well as bespoke shirts. All of its shirts, accessories and clothing is made in England[4].

History[edit]

Turnbull & Asser was founded in 1885 by John Arthur Turnbull, a hosier and shirtmaker at 3 Church Place, St. James's. Turnbull met Ernest Asser, a salesman, later on in 1893. Together, they opened a hosiery under the name "John Arthur Turnbull" in St. James's. As the neighborhood was the site of numerous gentlemen's clubs and high-end haberdashers, the business business flourished. The name was changed to "Turnbull & Asser" in 1895.

In 1903, after continued success, Turnbull & Asser moved to its present location at the corner of Jermyn Street and Bury Street. In 1915, during World War I, Turnbull & Asser developed a raincoat which doubled as a sleeping bag for the British Military. It is known as the Oilsilk Combination Coverall & Ground Sheet.[5] During the 1920s, as dress became less formal, men's dress shirts became more noticeable articles of clothing. Turnbull & Asser responded by focusing its business more on shirtmaking, for which it is most known today.

Between the 1920s and the 1970s, Turnbull & Asser grew its London business from a haberdashery to a clothier, expanding into sportswear, clothing (both bespoke and ready-to-wear), and ready-to-wear shirts. As its symbol, it used a hunting horn with a "Q" above, which it called the Quorn, a name it shares with one of the oldest hunts in England. Many of Turnbull & Asser's articles were called by this name, such as the popular "Quorn scarf". During the 1960s, Turnbull & Asser even had been known for catering to the Swinging London set, with vibrant colors and modern designs. In 1962, Turnbull & Asser began to outfit the cinematic James Bond as first portrayed by Sir Sean Connery, whose dress shirts had turnback cuffs fastened with buttons as opposed to cufflinks, referred to as cocktail cuffs, or James Bond cuffs.[5]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Turnbull & Asser began reviving some of the more traditional aspects of its business. The company found that Americans increasingly were buying its wares, so it began offering trunk shows at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Beginning in 1974, Turnbull & Asser sold ready-to-wear shirts in the United States through department stores Bonwit Teller and Neiman Marcus. For a brief period beginning in 1979, Turnbull & Asser even operated a small store in Toronto opened by Tony Carlisle and Kenneth Williams.

Royal Warrant[edit]

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, has bought shirts from Turnbull & Asser since his youth. When, in 1980, the Prince was granted the power of bestowing royal warrants, his first issue was granted to Turnbull & Asser.[6] He also wears Turnbull & Asser suits, made by the former Chester Barrie factory in Crewe, Cheshire. Following the retirement of Paul Cuss, the Royal Warrant was passed down to Steven Quin, who currently heads the bespoke department in Bury Street.

Today[edit]

Turnbull & Asser prides itself on its made in England mantra, with shirts and ties still made in its Gloucester and Kent factories.[7]

In addition to its locations, the heralded shirtmaker hosts seasonal bespoke shirt trunkshows in key cities around the world including Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Mumbai, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and more.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]