Texas, the Lone Star state, where the stars at night are big and bright. It might not be renowned as a fashion hotspot, but it is the second wealthiest state in the U.S. and the home state of the Dauphin of men’s style, Tom Ford. Overlook it now and you will miss what is a flourishing sartorial scene, led by the boutique brand Hadleigh’s.
Hadleigh’s, which describes itself as a ‘custom clothier’ and is the brainchild of married couple Ed and Gable Shaikh, can be found in the hallowed grounds of Highland Park Village, Dallas, the first self-contained shopping mall in the U.S., and, since 2000, one of the country’s National Historic Landmarks. Ed Shaikh, the Creative Director, shows The Rake around the complex, pointing out the spot, he says, “where it all started — I had my first interview for Ralph Lauren over there seven years ago”. It is a testament to Shaikh’s success that his store now counts his former employer as one of his neighbours, alongside the likes of Tom Ford, Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli and Hermès.
The simplicity of the Hadleigh’s store and atelier is alluring, more reminiscent as it is of a showroom than a typical shop. There are no eccentricities. A central marble table acts as the nucleus to the other, satellite stations, which display both menswear and womenswear. The Shaikhs’ deliberate use of simple decor is refreshing and complements their latest collection. While Hadleigh’s dresses women and men, the emphasis seems to be on the latter. The Cobalt Affair theme, which employs subtle gradations of blue as protagonist and a grey palette as understudy, is no disappointment for the refined man’s sartorial thirst.
The atelier area of Hadleigh’s, situated upstairs, is where the magic happens. Here you understand how things take shape. A Venetian chandelier towers over the main studio gallery, casting the perfect light to expose all the nuances of the garments. Custom-designed shelves upholstered in grey flannel hold cashmere sweaters ranging from vicuna to mink blends. As for the fabrics, you’ll find functional, practical and luxurious fabrics from Loro Piana, Drapers and Scabal. From the decor to the product, “everything is created with lifestyle in mind”, Shaikh explains. While most of the product is under the Hadleigh’s label, the shop offers idiosyncratic pieces from French watchmaker BRM and suiting from Cesare Attolini, which sends a message that Hadleigh’s is insistent on stocking what they consider to be the best, whether branded by them or not.