Douglas Cordeaux is a long standing Budd customer. He can often be found in the shop on a Friday during his weekly trips to London and is considered by many to be one of the best dressed men in town. In fact, he is recognised for his taste and tailoring far beyond the capital, with his reputation as a style ambassador and connoisseur cemented across the globe. Just take a look at his Instagram page (douglas_cordeaux) or the many places he is tagged, and you can see the measure of this very English gentleman.
Douglas is Managing Director and co-owner of historic cloth mill, Fox Flannels and online store, The Merchant Fox. We source the flannel for our gowns from his mill and have long appreciated his custom and quiet observations. Here, Douglas shares a few words about his experience of Budd, and what first brought him through the door.
Walking through the door of Budd for the first time feels as though you are stepping into a club. The more you go through that door, the more you realise how special that club is. Set in the heart of London’s Piccadilly, Budd is how you wished every shop would be, floor to ceiling with quality and products for any event that may be in your diary.
My own Budd journey started with ties. I was looking for an ancient madder in a specific colour. This was not your regular purchase, this was a true experience! The production of madder ties, why and where were all covered by the venerable Mr Rowley in a conversation lasting the morning. If another customer came in, someone else from the team was called to help. I was hooked. Hooked by tradition, style, provenance and quality, all at once.
Shirts. My first and only bespoke shirts come from the hands of Mr Butcher. John is the legendary head cutter at Budd; there is no connection with fashion, just a man with immense skill and respect for his craft. To commission and own a shirt by Mr B (if I may) is like owning a piece of British heritage, almost of listed building status. You can share your ideas with John, however, do not! This is likely to result in that famous stare that simply says, "What do you want that for?". Of course, he is right, for he is THE master of creating elegant understated shirts, with that Budd collar…. a shirt for the discerning.
In a world that has seen retail focusing on experience-based purchases, one might ask whether Budd has had to change to meet these demands. No! They have done nothing and in my mind have not needed to. They just to do what they have always done; provide a unique service.
You never know who you going to meet at Budd, which goes back to the club thing. When choosing a new shirt cloth from the abundance of fine shirting bunches they have on offer, opinions are offered, often by complete strangers. These might be industry giants or an American looking for pyjamas, as seen in Phantom Thread. You may of course hear THAT comment from Mr Butcher again, "What do you want that for?" and your decision is made. The classic Bengal stripe it is then, I guess.
Club Budd has very much a worldwide membership. Despite its old school connotations, it is often accessed by social media channels. To coin an example, I was looking via Instagram for an oversized bold stripe (don’t tell Mr Butcher or in fact Mr Rowley). The comments and suggestions just rolled in! "Ask James to look in this bunch or that bunch", they said, or "I prefer this stripe from this maker", and within this time, James MacAuslan from Budd (a great cutter, still young and trained under John) had already contacted me with a selection of fine bold stripes.
Whatever formal function you are attending, it is worth just checking in with the good gentleman of Budd. Be it White Tie, Black Tie or Morning wear, they have the accessories to make an outfit of note become something elegant and considered. A quick tip too whilst I am on the subject - NEVER hire the outfit. If someone has bothered to invite you to such an event, it is the least you can do to consider your appearance. Make a bloody effort. You will feel better for it too.
You can tell I am fond of Budd. I challenge anyone who isnàt. In my mind, it is the best use of such small square footage in London!