Douglas Hayward was a sartorial wizard and as synonymous with his era as any of his illustrious client list. He dressed a constellation of stars both privately and on screen in some of the most iconic outfits in Hollywood history, was the inspiration for Alfie and The Tailor of Panama, rubbed shoulders with royalty and literally created the stylish look which defined the Swinging Sixties. Someone once quipped his waiting list was so long that some of his celebrity clients went out of fashion before their second fitting. As another remarked ‘Doug was a legend and will never be forgotten.’
Deliberately staying away from what he considered the stuffy formality of Savile Row he moved into a studio on Mount Street found for him by Terence Stamp, introduced a more romantic Italian style to the classic British tailored look and with it created the iconic 60’s and 70’s silhouettes you see in The Italian Job, The Thomas Crown Affair, Get Carter, Roger Moore’s James Bond and many more.
His studio was more of a salon than a gentlemen’s outfitters as the most famous actors, models and musicians of their generation seen being fitted for a suit or just hanging out waiting for something to happen or someone to go to lunch with. Jean Shrimpton was to be seen there with her lover Terence Stamp; Sharon Tate, with her husband Roman Polanski. Then there was Faye Dunaway with the photographer and great friend of Doug’s Terry O’Neill, Mia Farrow, Joan Collins, Tania Mallett and Jane Birkin with their respective boyfriends and husbands. Alec Guinness, Michael Parkinson, Bobby Moore, Jackie Stewart, James Coburn (who described him as “the Rodin of tweed”), Rex Harrison, Peter Sellers and John Gielgud all became his clients, then his friends – which was just as well because he refused to make suits for anyone he didn’t like.
His charm led to Patrick Lichfield to take him to Mustique to entertain Princess Margaret. “Nobody ever knew what to do with Margaret,” Lichfield admitted. “but Doug was wonderful with her. He knew the words of every song Cole Porter ever wrote. He was the only one who could sing duets with her and never miss a beat.” Doug confessed that his secret was to treat her like “a regular bird”, adding: “You can’t run with those people and worry how it’s going to play out”.
Another early friend was Ralph Lauren who met Dougie in the early 80's on one of his first visits to London. Ralph realized that Hayward's approach to his clients and their corresponding support of his style and tailoring, was very similar to his own and exactly what he envisioned for his eventual entry into the London market. Dougie recognized Ralph's ideas and talent and became a great friend and supporter. Lauren in turn credited him as the inspiration for his Purple label.
Hayward’s distinctive sense of style was shaped by a working-class childhood, when men like his father stood straighter and walked taller when they went out on Friday night in their best outfits. And while Hayward’s studio in Mount Street would eventually clothe the great and the good he never forgot his roots. “He knew what it was like to be dirt-poor,” says Audie Charles, the director of Anderson & Sheppard’s Haberdashery, who worked with Hayward for 30 years. “For all those guys — Michael, Terry and Doug himself — no matter how famous they got, there was always the feeling that someone was going to tap them on the shoulder and say, ‘O.K., you shouldn’t be doing this, get back to where you belong’. They all felt like they’d found a lucky ticket. And, in many ways, Doug was at the centre of it all. He epitomised that sixties explosion.”