Elton & Richard James
Long-time friend and customer Sir Elton John on why he keeps going back for more of his favourite tailoring.
I remember the first time I met Richard. It would have been back in the mid-nineties and I’d been told about this funny store on Savile Row by my partner David, who had popped in there and bought a few things. I liked what he’d found and so went to have a look myself.
The shop was small but full of interesting pieces – colourful and fresh. And strangely British. I’ve never been a traditional Savile Row customer – I’ve never been a traditional anything – so I was intrigued by this place right in the heart of the tailors to the establishment that was trying to have some fun.
And in the end, that’s what I have always liked about Richard James – the fun. In the clothes, but also in the man. We quickly became friends and I have enjoyed his waspish sense of humour for years. But I have also enjoyed his clothes, and have had a lot of fun with them.
Richard James has dressed me for some big occasions – the pink tailcoat covered in Swarovski crystals made for me for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert, for example; or the whole wardrobe of outfits made for my Las Vegas show – ‘The Million Dollar Piano’ (above). When you’re playing in Vegas at The Colosseum, Caesars Palace, you need to make an entrance. Richard James made me a crystal glittering version of the label’s signature blue suit which was perfect – Vegas meets Savile Row, which was the look I was after!
It’s not always been about showbiz and rock ‘n’ roll, though. For William and Kate’s Royal wedding I ordered a very demure morning suit (below). But we did spice it up with a yellow waistcoat and pink tie…
The only downside has been that my friends all found out about Richard James too. There was one occasion when we all turned up to a party to find we were each wearing the same shirt – a yellow striped number. Richard was wearing it too, which made it even funnier.
As I said, fun is what Richard James means to me. And silliness. You shouldn’t take fashion too seriously, I think, and Richard has a great talent for injecting some humour into an outfit that makes me smile.
In the following pages, I do hope you get a sense of this. Because in the end, in my opinion, that’s really what makes Richard James very special.