In February 1956 an eager faced young Brian Lishak stepped through the hallowed doors of Huntsman, one of the oldest tailoring houses on Savile Row to take up the position of Junior Sales Assistant.
What followed was a remarkable career travelling the world, serving up the finest bespoke suits to lords, ladies and Hollywood royalty including Katherine Hepburn, Paul Newman & Gregory Peck to name just a few.
Now, 60 years later that eager face has morphed into a Savile Row legend and Brian Lishak is one of the most admired and respected denizens of this most British of institutions. Not only is Brian celebrating six decades of service on Savile Row but he and his business partner Richard Anderson are also enjoying a 15 year anniversary of their highly successful business at 13 Savile Row.
Still going strong, here are some stand-out memories from Brian’s six decades on Savile Row:
“I was the youngest Huntsman employee at 16 and one day a venerable, elderly gentleman came into the shop. I asked him if he had come for a fitting and what was his name? His face turned purple then he stormed up the shop and complained to the owner, Robert Packer, of the effrontery of the young man who had dared to ask his name. Having only been at Huntsman for 8 weeks, I didn’t know that the gentleman was in fact Lord Lovat, after whose estate the famous cloth colour comes from.”
“Katherine Hepburn was a very good customer. She would sit on a bench seat just inside the front window and took charge of that as her own domain. Her personality filled the shop and everything stopped when she was there. She was very kind to me. We used to make lots of trousers for her that were quite masculine but they suited her personality.”
“When The Beatles played on the roof of number 3 you could hear lot of noise even in the shop. I raced up to the roof of no. 11 to see what was going on. I think they did about 4 or 5 numbers but then, as I understand it, one of the tailors got upset with all the fuss and the noise and phoned the police. I think I know which tailor it was but I’d rather not say!”
“Steve McQueen wanted to have around a dozen garments made within two weeks. I said I’m extremely sorry sir but there’s no way we can do that as they’re all made by hand with 90 hours of work per suit. McQueen said get your tailors to work all night and I’ll pay them what’s necessary. I apologised again and said I don’t think you’ll find anywhere on Savile Row who’ll make you this amount of garments in two weeks and with that he walked out.”
“Richard Anderson I had known briefly when he came in as an apprentice at Huntsman. When I returned to the company I immediately recognised his ability as a cutter, that he was enormously talented & had a great personality. Together we work really well as a team. When we started 15 years ago we had no shop and now it’s grown into this highly successful business. Our customers are not just customers, they are friends.”
Brian Lishak’s Rules of the Road
With constant international travel to meet and fit clients here are Brian’s ‘Rules of the Road’:
- Stay Healthy – Eat Well, drink well and sleep well
- Don’t Get Homesick – Maintain a positive attitude & have an engaging personality.
- Work Hard – Don’t put things off and make sure everything is complete and in order.
Richard Anderson Ltd has commissioned several exclusive cloth designs that Brian was selling sixty years ago which will be introduced during the course of the year at 13 Savile Row. www.richardandersonltd.com.