House of Nutter
The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row
A wildly entertaining biography of the British fashion designer who set the trends for rock royalty from the Beatles to Mick Jagger to Elton John
A wildly entertaining biography of the British fashion designer who set the trends for rock royalty from the Beatles to Mick Jagger to Elton John.
Tommy Nutter was a visionary tailor in the bespoke tradition who dressed everybody from Lord Montagu of Beaulieu to Twiggy, who outfitteds three of the Beatles for the cover of Abbey Road (George Harrison preferred jeans), who put Mick Jagger in a white suit for his wedding to Bianca and who dressed Elton John for years, using the singer as his muse for his signature outrageous style. Nutter was alluring for his ambiguity -- a chameleon who could rub shoulders with Princess Margaret and then dance with the drag queens at Last Resort -- and his clothes were the physical expression of a sharp, audacious wit.
House of Nutter charts Tommy Nutter’s dramatic career that spanned barely 23 years, ending in 1992 with his untimely death. It is a history of London during an era of economic and cultural upheaval, a celebration of the methods and traditions of Savile Row; and an elegy for what was lost during the worst days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
With archival access to photos, letters and interviews from Tommy Nutter's sole living relative, his brother, David, Lance Richardson takes us behind the '70s glamour to explore the public face and private life of one of Britain's most respected yet rule-breaking bespoke clothiers and the celebrities he dressed.
Praise for House of Nutter
Richardson has created a pattern-perfect double-breasted biography of two gay brothers, who, in an unlikely rags to riches story, were brought up in north London and went on to shape the social and sartorial side of life in the 1960sHelen Davies, Sunday Times, **Books of the Year**
Captivating ... an engaging analysis of the British class system and the fashion industry, gay liberation and the Aids crisis, which plays out like a binge-worthy Netflix seriesMark C O'Flaherty, Financial Times
Splendidly readable and gossipy ... a gripping read that is as much social history as it is biography ... House of Nutter, Richardson's first book, is a fine match of author and subject. He writes with flair and erudition, making extensive use of interviews with David, and bringing something new to the evocation of an era that might seem overfamiliar ... it's hard to find fault with this thoroughly enjoyably glimpse into high fashion and low lifeAlexander Larman, The Observer
What makes Lance Richardson's biography so much more than a humdrum story of rags to riches -- or rather rags to bespoke -- is its illuminating and vividly drawn account of the milieu, both social and sartorial, in which Nutter moved, and the intriguing parallel history of his elder brother, DavidMick Brown, Sunday Telegraph
Lance Richardson’s lively, affectionate, occasionally breathless book is a double narrative, the story of two brothers who rose from modest north London origins to the fringes of international stardom ... CompellingAnthony Quinn, The Guardian
Savile Row tailor Tommy Nutter dressed rock stars – it’s his suits three of the Beatles are wearing on the cover of Abbey Road – and his brother David photographed them. An evocative portrait of two extraordinary careersDaily Mail
House of Nutter is a tale that is quintessential of its era, told by a biographer who combines pace and exhaustivenessAnna Murphy, The Times
In House of Nutter, Lance Richardson brings back Tommy in all his cheeky, sexy, wicked glorySimon Callow
Reads with all the seamless splendour of a beautiful bespoke suit. Enchanting, irreverent and entertainingattitude
Through the lens of fashion, Lance Richardson superbly chronicles the greatest societal and cultural upheaval of the last century. House of Nutter potently underscores the inextricable relationship between the world we live in and the clothes we wear. I couldn’t put it downTim Gunn, author of The Natty Professor
Richardson susses out their [David and Tommy Nutter's] story lovingly, and with great panache. With all the ink that's been spilled on Beatlemania, Studio 54, sixties counterculture, and the rest, it's remarkable to find a new story to tell, with characters who were there all along, as if waiting for someone to noticeMichael Schulman, New Yorker
Tommy Nutter, the Rebel Tailor of Savile Row, dressed the Beatles and Elton John. Cheeky, aloof, camp, Nutter was drawn to glamour like a moth to a flame. Lance Richardson has restored his fame and gripping story in all its detail and pathosEdmund White, author of Our Young Man and A Boy’s Own Story
Vivid and tragicDominic Green, Spectator
In the fabulous Nutter brothers, Lance Richardson has found a magical wormhole to Swinging London, Beatlemania, and Studio 54—destinations of the mind that feel both familiar and, through Tommy and David’s eyes, sparklingly new. An effervescent tale, told with the pizzazz of a checked suit, perfectly tailoredMichael Schulman, author of Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep
An enjoyable and absorbing read about sartorial rigor and queer life that also happens to be a moving social history of mid-century London and New YorkAdam Haslett, author of Imagine Me Gone
Tommy Nutter brought decadent glamour to stuffy Savile Row, giving it a wicked and much-needed kick up the bum. Lance Richardson tells the tale of Tommy’s rise and fall with meticulous detail and great panacheSimon Doonan, author of Saturday Night Fever Pitch: The Madness and Magic of Footballer Style
Tommy and David Nutter were gay British brothers whose lives intersected with everyone from the Beatles, Mick Jagger, and Cilla Black to Steve Rubell and Elton John, just as the gay revolution was beginning to explode on both sides of the Atlantic. Lance Richardson’s astute portraits of Swinging London in the ‘60's and swaggering Manhattan in the ‘70's blend backstage gossip with compelling social history. The result is an irresistible narrativeCharles Kaiser, author of The Gay Metropolis
Tommy and David Nutter, both driven creative artists, led fast-paced lives that were emblematic of their times. This vivid and enthralling book perfectly captures their relentless spirits and the carefree, high-flying days of the ‘60s and beyondFred Hersch, author of Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz
An exposé of the underrated designer who helped shape 20th-century European aesthetics... It’s as if Nutter had his pulse on nearly every significant moment of the era ... Refreshingly, Richardson has created a work that is surprisingly unpretentious; the author looks at Nutter’s life with impressive objectivity, zeroing in on significant episodes and leaving the rest on the cutting-room floor ... An exciting addition to fashion historyKirkus Reviews
Richardson transports readers to the colorful days of postwar London in this dual portrait of brothers Tommy and David Nutter ... eloquent and vivid ... Richardson’s affection for his subjects is touching and [...] his enthusiasm is contagious.Publishers Weekly
[A]s a gay man living through an era of liberation, [Nutter’s] personal life was no less exciting and is covered in detail in the book.Mansel Fletcher, Mr Porter
- This feels comprehensive and very well researched by Lance RichardsonThe Chic Geek
Richardson draws of recollection of Nutter’s brother… The result is an engaging, affecting story of class, fashion and gay liberationThe Week
Richardson reveals how Nutter…more than lived up to his nameTom Leonard, Daily Mail
Absorbing... There is a lot to celebrate in House of Nutter: the history of gay liberation, which Richardson neatly weaves into the narrative; and two brothers, fated for a blue-collar life, who “pulled themselves up by the force of their own imagination”.Mika Ross-Southall, The Times Literary Supplement