The Queen of Savile Row
The iconic street’s first female-only tailor muscles in on this bastion of male sartorial tradition.
“Women’s tailoring isn’t just having its moment,” declares Daisy Knatchbull, the vivacious founder of The Deck, the first women’s tailor on Savile Row in London. “It is here to stay.”
Knatchbull is speaking with DP via Zoom from her pink-hued bedroom with blush walls and a pink floral bedspread. The feminine vibe is somewhat surprising given her penchant for pushing the boundaries in an industry once deemed a bastion of male exclusivity.
In 2016, Knatchbull became the first woman to wear a top hat and tails to Ascot, causing a sartorial firestorm. The ensuing interest ignited her to found The Deck in 2019, when she saw a gaping hole in the industry for bespoke women’s tailoring.
She combines personal iconoclasm with a genuine respect for British tradition. Knatchbull’s aristocratic credentials are impeccable. She is the great-granddaughter of Louis, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma—uncle of the late Prince Phillip and mentor to King Charles—and a third cousin to Prince William. She credits her maternal grandmother, Sylvia, with sparking her interest in fashion. Slyvia patiently taught Knatchbull how to cut patterns at a young age and shared stories of her time spent on the King’s Road with her photographer husband John Cowan, and the likes of Mary Quant and Grace Coddington.
Knatchbull now operates one of the largest storefronts on the golden mile and has stitched custom pieces for over 2,000 female clients. In October 2023, she launched Knatchbull, a ready-to-wear collection, online and in the store, so her global customer can experience a taste of The Deck. “It’s elevated basics done very, very well,” she says, adding that the collection (priced £295–£2,295; around $365–$2,280) is “complementary to everything we do and has been designed sustainably from the same natural fibers from Savile Row cloth merchants.”
To achieve a custom-like fit, Knatchbull pooled the data from her clients’ fittings to better understand. “What does an actual US 8 look like? What does a 0 look like? The clothes fit so beautifully,” she adds.
Highlights from the collection—which has nearly sold out—include a wide leg pant, silk shirts, recycled cashmere knitwear and a trench coat that Knatchbull describes as “heavy, drapey, delicious. All the pieces were designed with the idea of building a foundational wardrobe.” Expect the next online drop of Knatchbull in late November.
The Deck’s bread and butter is, of course, custom tailoring, but one doesn’t need to frequent the London shop to become a client. Knatchbull makes several trips a year to New York and Palm Beach for trunk shows. “We pop up in a members’ club or a client’s home for four or five days,” says Knatchbull. “We see 150 clients at any one go, then come back again three months later.” Her next Stateside visit is in December, and she plans to visit Los Angeles and Dallas in February 2024 with Aspen, Chicago and Miami as future stops.
“My dream client is a woman who just wants to enjoy wearing clothes again,” says Knatchbull, adding that her typical client is 45 to 65 years old. “Before they walk in, my clients always say, ‘I’m too short, I’m too tall, I’m too fat, I’m too thin.’ I say, ‘That’s exactly the client we want.’ It’s not about a perfect body. It’s about your body and how we can make the clothes fit you—not the other way around.”
With over 7,000 fabrics to choose from, The Deck’s bespoke suiting (£2,800–£4,000; around $3,500–$5,000) features endless custom options including monogramming, secret pockets, a personalized lining depicting photos or artwork, contrasting cuff buttons, or incorporating meaningful heirlooms such as an Hermès scarf or tie. Bridal suits for brides and mothers-of-the-bride are a popular choice.
In 2024, Knatchbull looks to disrupt the industry yet again with the introduction of a virtual tech tool to The Deck. Though she’s mum on specifics, she plans to offer the experience of having something custom made “without being with us in the store and to help with visualization.”
It’s just another way Knatchbull plans to battle the status quo of Savile Row’s old guard. “I feel a lot of support and love from Savile Row,” she says. “I’m doing my part to carve out that niche for women in the tailoring industry and see where we can take it.”
Photo of Daisy Knatchbull by Hollie Adams/Getty Images