The Man Who Believed in Simplicity

Although I own more clothes than I need, and think there are a number of advantages to having a big wardrobe, there’s something admittedly appealing about personal uniforms. The idea that one can put a lot of thought into what they buy, but almost no thought into what they choose to wear … because it’s always the same thing. Such simplicity feels freeing.

Jean-Michel Frank seems to have known this idea well. He unfortunately lived a short life – having committed suicide at age 46 – but in his brief time, he became one of the most influential interior designers of the 20th century. A pioneer in minimalism, he was known for his plain-lined but sumptuous furniture made from luxurious materials such as mother-of-pearl, shagreen, mica, and leather. For example, here’s a striking oakwood armchair upholstered in doe-hide that he designed for a hotel in Patagonia (his work was famous among wealthy elites in Argentina, who would often visit Paris, where Frank was based). He also designed a special collection for Hermes in 1924, which was recently re-released by the French luxury house. Included was a club chair made from sheepskin, a rye-straw marquetry screen, and a parchment covered dressing table. You can see other designs by Frank at artnet.

This idea of simplicity was extended to his wardrobe. Frank was said to have owned forty of the same exact grey flannel suit. Each was double-breasted with a four-on-two buttoning configuration (four buttons, two for closing), and made with a long peak lapel line and no ticket pocket (for the sake of simplicity, we can assume). The lapels were cut relatively straight, rather than curved with a belly. The chest was clean, the shoulders soft, and the upper arms a touch full. The result was a silhouette that allowed Frank to look relaxed and comfortable, but also gave him a great elegance.   

In a 1938 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Frank was quoted as saying, “Throw out and keep throwing out. Elegance means elimination.” He seems to have done this in both his work and wardrobe, paring things down to their most essential forms, and making sure that what was done, was done exceptionally well. I’ll admit, the idea of wearing the same thing every day isn’t for me, but I also don’t look as good as Frank in a grey flannel double-breasted suit.

The story of a US postman who works as an artist for Hermès.
(via Threaded)
“Hermès and LVMH are at the two extremes of the culture and industry of luxury. We [at Hermès] are artisans and creative. We try to produce the most beautiful products in this industry. The artisans put their heart and soul in the bag and when the client buys it, they buy a bit of the ethic of Hermès. For six generations, the same family has run Hermès. That has given this company something no other company has. Our combat with LVMH is not an economic fight, it’s a cultural fight. We try to do poetry and we get excellent economic results. We must protect that.” — Hermes CEO Patrick Thomas, on fighting the hostile takeover attempt by the luxury conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy). If you’re interested in learning more about the changes in the luxury industry (and how Hermes has resisted them), check out the author of this article’s fascinating book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.
“Compose your dress with humor. Slavish adherence to either fashion or company dress codes will earn you little respect. Punctuate your understated dress with some epigrammatic piece of self deprecating humor. You might try an extravagant piece of silk as a scarf, a waistcoat in buff linen or the jumper you have always craved in Hermes orange. So wear one. It’s better to mock yourself than have the world do it for you.” — Michael Alden, “What Young Men Can Do To Improve Their Dress
It’s On eBay
Hermes Overcoat (58 Euro)
This is serious. Vicuña overcoat, made from the extra-fine hair of the extra-rare vicuña. The ultimate luxury garment, right? Wrong. It’s not the ultimate luxury garment until you give said overcoat a full mink lining.
I don’t know whether to barf or cry. I may cry barf.
Buy It Now for $25,000

It’s On eBay

Hermes Overcoat (58 Euro)

This is serious. Vicuña overcoat, made from the extra-fine hair of the extra-rare vicuña. The ultimate luxury garment, right? Wrong. It’s not the ultimate luxury garment until you give said overcoat a full mink lining.

I don’t know whether to barf or cry. I may cry barf.

Buy It Now for $25,000

This is the kind of thing that makes you want to like horses.  Holy cow is this beautiful.

mostexerent:

Hermès Talaris Saddle

For the equestrians in the house. This Hermès “Talaris” Saddle is an innovative move forward in this space. The team in charge of the Talaris spent three years developing a saddle that looks as normal as the rest. But the truth is on the inside. As you can see in our gallery, the Talaris is a highly structured saddle that improves on the fit and ride as never before. It weighs in at around 1.5 kilos lighter than traditional saddles by replacing metal and wood with carbon and titanium to make it lighter and more durable. As well, the Talaris can be adjusted to fit any rider and horse.

Vintage Hermes pocket square.
Live auction Sunday at 10AM pacific.

Vintage Hermes pocket square.

Live auction Sunday at 10AM pacific.