Nestled on the high street, Patrick Grant runs bespoke tailoring fixture Norton & Sons on London’s Savile Row. It is a place that may be rich in tradition, but his beard – while never out of control – juxtaposes the occasionally stuffy images that popularly define British heritage mainstays. These out of touch definitions don’t seem to phase Grant – with a “pro-whiskers” stance at both Norton & Sons and his label E. Tautz, the conventional walls of civilized British society appear to have been infiltrated by the most lush beard-os.
Name: Patrick Grant
Occupation: Shopkeeper at Norton & Son’s, Designer at E. Tautz
City: London, UK
How attached are you to your beard? If you were to shave it off tomorrow, would you feel any sense of regret?
It feels very much a part of me, and strangely a part of our brand. We take a very pro whiskers stance at both Norton & Sons and E. Tautz.
How long have you been growing/maintaining your beard and what motivated you to start?
This is my second long-term beard. This one is about five years old and motivated originally by a feeling that shaving everyday was really something of a waste of time and money. This is a beard of idleness.
How does fashion influence your style choices? Does it? Do beards look good with any ensemble?
I think a beard looks best with a decent sized collar, turned up, or at the very least a collared shirt. Most look pretty bad with t-shirts, unless they are really short and then they’re not really beards at all. I think it is worth having a think about the colour of your beard and the cloth choices you make; I rather like the idea of matching my suit to my beard, but I’ve never seriously tried it. I think this would work brilliantly for gingers.
As a member of Savile Row, do you feel you need to keep your beard tidy and conservative, or do you ever let it grow a bit more unkempt? Which do you prefer?
Winters, I let it go a bit as it gets chilly on the bicycle, and in the summer it’s cropped a little closer, partly because it can get a trifle warm, and partly because a change is as good as a rest. I am savagely anti beard shaping – it has to grow where it grows, but I am more than happy within these parameters, to give it a little tidy. One should never let the thing get entirely out of hand.
How would you classify your style?
Man in the grey flannel suit.
Is there any item in your wardrobe that you could never part with?
It changes with the seasons, but right now you’d find it hard to separate me from my Tautz greatcoat.
In recent seasons, we have seen Vivienne Westwood, Walter Von Beirendonck and Yohji Yamamoto (to name a few) use unconventional bearded models on the runway. How do you view this “anti-fashion” approach to model selection? Is it merely a gimmick or a message – if it is a message, is it one that showcases fashion as inclusive and accessible, rather than exclusive and rarified?
I would hate to second guess what’s in Dame Vivienne’s head, but I am sure Andreas’ beardiness makes her one of the most entitled beard lovers. I don’t think beards are ever pro or anti fashion, they’re a question of personal style.
What advice do you have for readers who may be interested in achieving a beard like yours?
Stop shaving and hope for the best. If the beard doesn’t work you could always try a moustache.
photos supplied by Patrick Grant, video by Put This On