“[Nutter’s] journey is recounted in captivating detail ... Subtitled The Rebel Tailor of Savile Row, the book is an engaging analysis of the British class system and the fashion industry, gay liberation and the Aids crisis, which plays out like a binge-worthy Netflix series.”
FROM AN EARLY AGE, there was something different about Tommy and David Nutter. Growing up in an austere apartment above a café catering to truck drivers, both boys seemed destined to lead rather humble lives in post-war London—Tommy as a civil servant, David as a darkroom technician. Yet the strength of their imagination (plus a little help from their friends) transformed them instead into unlikely protagonists of a swinging cultural revolution.
In 1969, at the age of twenty-six, Tommy opened an unusual new boutique on the “golden mile” of bespoke tailoring, Savile Row. While shocking a haughty establishment resistant to change, “Nutters of Savile Row” became an immediate sensation among the young, rich, and beautiful, beguiling everyone from Bianca Jagger to the Beatles—who immortalized Tommy’s designs on the album cover of Abbey Road. Meanwhile, David’s innate talent with a camera vaulted him across the Atlantic to New York City, where he found himself in a parallel constellation of stars (Yoko Ono, Elton John) who enjoyed his dry wit almost as much as his photography.
House of Nutter tells the stunning true story of two gay men who influenced some of the most iconic styles and pop images of the twentieth century. Drawing on interviews with more than seventy people—and taking advantage of unparalleled access to never-before-seen pictures, letters, sketches, and diaries—journalist Lance Richardson presents a dual portrait of brothers improvising their way through five decades of extraordinary events, their personal struggles playing out against vivid backdrops of the Blitz, an obscenity trial, the birth of disco, and the devastation of the AIDS crisis.
"I planned to speed-read it on an airplane but soon found myself slowing down so I could savor every drop ... David is gay, as was Tommy, and Richardson susses out their story lovingly, and with great panache. ... It’s remarkable to find a new story to tell, with characters who were there all along, as if waiting for someone to notice."
The New Yorker
“As an act of historical preservation, ‘House of Nutter’ is worthy, restoring Nutter to the record for future generations ... What lingers is the vision of Tommy Nutter as a man slightly too modern for his time, though very much of it, one of the great characters of fashion.”
The New York Times
"House of Nutter is a tale that is quintessentially of its era, told by a biographer who combines pace and exhaustiveness.
The Times (UK)
"[S]plendidly readable ... House of Nutter, Richardson’s first book, is a fine match of author and subject. He writes with flair and erudition ... it’s hard to find fault with this thoroughly enjoyable glimpse into high fashion and low life."
"It reads with all the seamless splendour of a beautiful bespoke suit. Enchanting, irreverent and entertaining."
"An exciting addition to fashion history."
"What makes Lance Richardson's biography so much more than a humdrum story of rags to riches — or rather rags to bespoke — is its illuminating and vividly drawn account of the milieu, both social and sartorial, in which Nutter moved."
The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
"Astute and fascinating."
"Vivid and tragic."
"Absorbing .... There is a lot to celebrate in House of Nutter." The Times Literary Supplement
"Delightful and compelling .... Lance Richardson deserves the highest possible praise for his revealing compassion." Lambda Literary
P R E S S
"A kaleidoscopic tale."
The Globe and Mail