COLLECTING
Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
MAISON CHARVET

The greatest compliment in the market of luxury goods comes from one’s competitor. When a rival firm wants to own another, it establishes pre-eminence for the target firm. Such is the case we have been watching closely in the last couple of months and which concerns competitors Hermès and Louis Vuitton. The price for Hermès’s stock soared right after Louis Vuitton’s initial intrusion. For us, Hermès is unparalleled in terms of creativity, innovation, and excellence. But this is a different story to which we will return on another occasion.

The example of rivalry and admiration between firms is similar to Mr. Tang’s openly declared obsession with Charvet’s silk pajamas. For those who need a reminder, David Tang is the founder of the successful Chinese luxury brand of chic bespoke tailoring, ready-to-wear and accessories. Mr. Tang knows a lot about silk. He also loves the “luxury of wearing a freshly washed pair of silk pajamas from Charvet, Paris every night.”

Men who are reading our blog visit Bergdorf Goodman on a regular basis and therefore must be familiar with the name Charvet and the immense range of beautiful ties that Bergdorf Goodman carries. But the truth is that Charvet is a very French name, a Napoléon Bonaparte-, Charles de Gaulle-, François Mitterand-, Jacques Chirac-favorite. Could it get any more French?

We love the company for several reasons, including its approach to clothing as fine art (they were known as curators to Bonaparte’s wardrobe), its refined technique in working with silk, and its dedication to the visual arts. Charvet commissioned works to fashion designer Paul Poiret and to fine artists Raoul Duffy, André Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck. The House of Charvet is known today for its exquisite collection of Art Déco prints, a golden period for the company whose designs and prints are instantly recognized by the French as a status symbol.

The history of the privately owned and operated luxury house of Charvet gives Mr. Tang’s obsession certain gravitas. It also emphasizes Charvet’s authority in silk and bespoke tailoring, a great compliment indeed coming from Mr. Tang himself.

© Thomaï Serdari