Tailor Nicola Donati tells Cally Squires about a typical day in his Luxury Style Retreat in Kinnerton Street.
We always want to make the morning start with a smile.
Clients come to us because we look after them regularly, and know exactly how they like things done.
This means we quickly get onto chatting about what happened last night and ‘my son is doing this, my mistress is doing that.’
“It’s a little bit like a confessional once the door closes.”
Because of where we are, we have the joy of being surrounded by very international clients.
I started in this profession over 30 years ago on Connaught Street, but I’ve been in Kinnerton Street since 2005.
In my mind it’s always had great charm, but only once we moved in did I recall visiting the street as a child.
“I adore the formality of English life, and English clients really value their clothes.”
My most successful item in my wardrobe is a decades-old blazer which has gone from double to single breasted. But every time I put it on, the memories make me so happy.
We tend to have six appointments per day, but there is often someone coming last minute from one of the hotels, needing something urgently.
“Everyday we leave a space, so we can make someone happy and say, ‘Yes, you shall go to the ball, Cinderella’.”
Our team upstairs are incredibly skilled and most of them have been with me since the very beginning.
There are very few things we would need to send away from the workshop here, but for knitwear we do use a workshop in Italy.
They are incredibly talented. If a jumper is too long, they can unravel and reweave the cuff or repair holes using little threads they take from somewhere else on the garment.
We also sell some pieces from a few designers – silk scarfs, woven handbags and printed cushions.
The hand-weaving technique used to make the bags is a typical Sardinian craft, and each village has their own particular pattern.
And now the skills of these ladies, which may have otherwise died out, are being maintained to make the bags.
I’m a big believer that every day could be my last, so the evening is a good time to mentally say thank you, and plot and plan for the next day to come.
You may also like to read about Budd London’s bespoke shirts in What the Customer Wants.