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Fans of classicist men’s style have undoubtedly seen Sam Lambert photographed countless times at all the major European fashion shows. Everywhere he goes, he is always precisely fitted, with his ever-present trademark beard, thick-framed glasses and expertly mounted gentleman hats. His overall presentation is consistently flawless, and his demeanor represents a cross between a dapper 1960’s Harlem Jazz player and a well-pressed Beatnik poet. But beneath the pitch-perfect veneer is a skilled artisan. Lambert is a Savile Row tailor of the highest order. He is the present Head of Design at Spencer Hart in London, and the co-founder of the creative style agency, ART COMES FIRST.
If there was ever anyone to chat with about the finer aspects of classic and vintage menswear, one couldn’t do better than the talented Mr. Lambert.
Did your introduction into tailoring come about through you love for vintage clothing, or did you love for vintage garments come first?
Well my tailoring background came from my father being a tailor. But my love for vintage began because my mother used to buy big containers of vintage clothes, and she would wholesale them to people at the flea market back home. As a child, I didn’t really realize how cool it was that I could get the first pick before everyone else.So I have to say they came together at same time, literally. You could say tailoring is from my Dad and vintage is my Mum.
What is it about vintage items that appeal to you the most? Is it the sense of garments maintaining an intrinsic value, or is it more about vintage items/heirlooms becoming better and more distinguished over time?
What appeals to me first is the fabric, so definitely it’s the heirloom factor. Back then, the fabrics had character which made them relevant and inspiring till this day. Pieces from the past were well-crafted with utilitarian detailing, and a lot of thought was put into them. It wasn’t just designing, it’s pure art. From the weaver, the tailor, even to the designer, everyone put sand into the stone.
You had your own tailored clothing brand in Sweden for five years, and you’ve also worked on Savile Row. What were the major differences in tailoring fundamentals and execution between both places?
With my own shop, we had a very sartorial sport approach. Everything was a learning process. We made design features out of mistakes. Savile row was about refreshing my mind in what my Dad used to do when I was child. We at Art Comes First call it “hand me down” knowledge. In the Row, it’s all about the classics, but with what I was doing with my brand before and the knowledge I got from Savile Row, it has made my design skills more mature and humble.I learn from the classics and add a youth, quirk twist without overdoing it.
What are the main building blocks of your wardrobe and what do you add on as finishing flourishes?
My main building blocks are always a well-fitted grey suit, white shirt in every collar shape, and a well-fitted good vintage leather jacket biker or aviator. The most important finishing touches are well-polished footwear and well-pressed garments.
What are the key vintage pieces you own that will forever be a mainstay in your closet?
My biker leather jacket, my collection of club ties, my half-framed glasses, and last but not least my camel Db6 suit from an old Italian brand called Febus.
Tell us about your Art Comes First platform. Why was it started and what services do you provide?
We provide the art of styling, design and craftsmanship. We started ACF because we wanted to fulfill our responsibility of inspiring one another. My skills or “style” exist because there was once a man called The Duke of Windsor, a man called Lumumba, a man called Miles Davies and so on. Without these people inspiring a generation, even an era, myself or other creative people like me would not exist.
Lastly, if you were to describe your style aesthetic and sensibility in one sentence, what would it be?
Sartour, Alchemy & progression.
- Geo Hagan for Themanoftheworld.com/blog