Best of the Best: Furnishings

  • Fray linen sport shirts, $350; Barrett suede moccasin, $495; Hermès goatskin Grand Model envelope, $560, and Vision agenda, $330; Morgenthal Frederics double-laminate zyl Slade sunglasses, $275.
  • Elan by Vogt Silversmiths 14-karat yellow and white gold Streamline buckle, $4,625, and alligator belt, $295; Kiton cotton dress shirt, $625; Arnys seven-fold Cravates d’Atelier silk tie, $145; Hermès crocodile wallet, $1,925; Morgenthal Frederics titanium Jack frames, $335; Atelier Yozu 18-karat gold owl cuff links with sapphire eyes, $3,700.
  • Stallion Boot & Belt Co. alligator boot, $3,600; Silvano Lattanzi crocodile split-toe shoe, $8,250; Sutor Mantellassi three-tone monk strap shoe, $1,125; Clint Orms engraved 14-karat yellow-gold and sterling silver three-piece Jones buckle with rubies, $11,750, and engraved belt, $950.
<< Back to Robb Report, June 2004
  • William Kissel

A-List Accoutrements
Exceptional embellishments lend style to every wardrobe.


Dress Shirts
Each Kiton ultrafine dress shirt, made from the finest thread-count cotton, requires six hours of labor and more than 100 sewing operations. Embroidered buttonholes and handkerchief-rolled and -stitched edges are only a few of Kiton’s 14 distinctive hand-sewn applications. The collar on the shirt is particularly noteworthy for its inside panel of oxford cotton to prevent neck irritation and shrinkage.


Sport Shirts
Fray’s boldly colored striped linen sport shirts benefit from the Italian shirtmaker’s attention to minute details. Not only is Fray the largest consumer of Riva fabrics, regarded as the finest in the world, it takes extra care to ensure patterns line up on cuffs, collars, shoulders, and the button placket. Other fine points include buttonholes that are disguised in the center of a stripe and seams that are folded over twice and single-needle stitched at 26 stitches per inch, the closest possible without causing tearing. In addition, three types of buttons, instead of one standard size, are used for collars, cuffs, and plackets for easier fastening.

Fray, through Luciano Moresco




Arnys Cravates d’Atelier, or house ties, resurrect a tradition of tie making that dates to the early 20th century. Crafted from 112-count, double-faced silk organza, these seven-fold repeat-stripe ties are hand-rolled and -pleated, and are completely devoid of inner linings. Furthermore, the unusual silk gives them a matte finish and a sturdy feel that enhances durability and also allows them to be shaped effortlessly. Even the label is woven in 56-thread-count silk organza directly into the tie.



Small Leather Goods
Although Hermès owns its own tannery, Gordon-Choisy, it accepts only two out of every 100 skins produced there for its own collections. Such uncompromising standards of quality have long made Hermès the industry leader. At its Lyon and Limoges, France, factories, more than 30 craftsmen toil at the brand’s signature saddle stitching alone. This proprietary process employs linen thread and two needles to create a single stitch knotted in the middle for strength and durability.



Dress Belts
Western belt makers typically cut their buckle sets from sheets of sterling silver and then solder and etch them by hand. Luxury dress belt makers, on the other hand, work like jewelers, casting their buckles from molten sterling or 14-karat gold, then buffing the finished pieces to a radiant finish. Vogt Silversmiths is that rare silversmith that employs both methods, and, more important, puts the same artistry and handwork into each. This family-owned California company, which has been guided by three generations, clearly understands that subtlety and elegance go hand-in-hand.

Vogt Silversmiths


Richard Morgenthal followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a licensed optician, but he has always viewed life with the eyes of an artist. So it is only natural that this amateur painter brings his artistic viewpoint to the eyewear business that he and his wife, Leslie, established in 1986, when they acquired a century-old New York optical shop and renamed it Morgenthal Frederics. Morgenthal was among the first retailers to recognize the creativity and fashion potential of brands such as Christian Roth and François Pinton. And Morgenthal’s own signature handcrafted frames—made of titanium, acetate, buffalo horn, and 18-karat gold—are as collectible and colorful as the hand-stained wooden boxes displaying them in the store windows.

Morgenthal Frederics

Cuff Links
During the late 1990s, Russian jewelry designer Yuri Kolesov was commissioned to design special projects for Harry Winston. Her partner, designer Zoya Levinshtyn, was mentored by Vladimir Rodin, currently of Kieselstein-Cord. These two formidable design talents teamed with business partner Helmie Ashiblie to found Atelier Yozu, a New York City design studio that has worked for Harry Winston, Ralph Lauren, and Loree Rodkin, among others. This year, the duo began turning out their own line of masterful cuff links inspired by early-20th-century designs. These amazingly detailed links are made by hand using gold, precious stones, and exotic materials, such as 20,000-year-old mammoth ivory, and are sold exclusively at Dallas retailer Stanley Korshak.

Atelier Yozu

Shoe Collection
Silvano Lattanzi did the unimaginable last year by devising a pair of reversible crocodile loafers. And that is not the only astonishing achievement by this visionary artisan shoemaker. Lattanzi’s collection continues to grow and become more diverse each season. In addition to genuine cordovan lace-ups and serious brogues with an antiqued delavée (bleached) finish, the Italian master is now dabbling in sport shoes, including handmade, perforated leather golf shoes that can be monogrammed, and boat sneakers that can be customized with your own yacht logo.

Silvano Lattanzi

Shoe Finishing
It takes a superior craftsperson to turn a classic pair of chestnut-colored lace-ups into fanciful, but very wearable, tricolored footwear. But it is a simple feat for Paola Gavagna, the colorist behind most of Sutor Mantellassi’s incredible hand-tinted shoes. Gavagna was among the first to revive an old-world bleaching process called delavée, through which color is chemically stripped from the shoe to impart an aged, antiqued effect. This year, she improved the technique so that when the original black or brown shade is bleached away, another color is absorbed by the leather. Sutor Mantellassi is the first to take a multicolor approach to fine leather footwear, blending three and even four hues on a single shoe, then hand-polishing it to enhance its luster. Far from outlandish, the result is a beautifully progressive shoe collection that is as individual as the wearer.

Sutor Mantellassi, through Andrew Tanner

Casual Shoes
Tod’s may have invented the driving moccasin, one of the most widely copied casual shoe designs in the world, but another Italian shoemaker, Barrett, perfected its construction and performance. Made from suede or piper calf (known for its strength and superior suppleness), Barrett’s loafers are entirely stitched by hand directly on the last and without predrilled holes. This technique, known as opanca construction, disguises any visible holes and makes the shoe more impervious to water.



Western Boots
Stallion Boot & Belt Co. is one of the few bootmakers that still works almost entirely by hand, implementing more than 140 steps—including hand-cutting and -stitching every piece of leather. The secret to the El Paso, Texas, bootmaker’s fit is a steel shank embedded in the sole and rows of pegs made from the wood of lemon trees instead of nails to give additional support to the arch. Furthermore, the intricate patterns and stitching—many suggested by custom commissions—are masterful works of art incorporating stingray, hippo, frog, water buffalo, and other exotic skins paired with unusual materials such as fossilized walrus and mammoth ivory.

Stallion Boot & Belt Co.



Western Belts
“Rodeo cowboys take more pride in their belt buckles than in their automobiles,” insists Clint Orms, who made his first buckle at age 15 and has produced exceptional Western buckles for more than three decades. His entirely handmade collection of buckles crafted from sterling silver and 10-, 14-, and 18-karat gold, are intended to be heirlooms. To that end, Orms may require 100 hours or more to complete one buckle, depending on the intricacies of the engraving and the amount of customization you desire. Other signature details include belt tongues shaped like saddle horns and handcrafted hinges.

Clint Orms

From Around the Web...
Sid Mashburn Slip-On Espadrille in Suede
From an inky suit to a comfy pair of espadrilles, Sid Mashburn’s essentials do wardrobe double duty…
Designers like Brunello Cucinelli and the Elder Statesman have taken the hoodie to luxe new heights…
Update your shoe collection for spring and summer with a vibrant pair in a classic style…
Prada Made-to-Measure service
Prada is going for bespoke with intimate VIP rooms and a luxurious attention to detail…
Polo Ralph Lauren Cotton-Blend Twill Harrington Jacket, $185
Menswear expert Adam Brown’s strategy for packing clothes to carry you from the beach to the bar…
Brands big and small are making it easier than ever to find your perfect pair of glasses…
Louis Vuitton small wallet ($750
Louis Vuitton taps Jake and Dinos Chapman to put a wild spin on its classic monogram bags…
Mr Porter’s biggest capsule collection to date is an ode to Californian summers…
Six designs from Gucci, Ben Sherman, Zenith, and more that prove what’s old is new again…
Bold and playful prints you should be wearing from designers like Gucci, Valentino, and Thom Browne…