Image: Ted Humble-Smith @ Hmmm...
October 12 2009
Lucia van der Post
Among linen fetishists, the name of Frette is right up there in the pantheon of the good and the great. Founded in 1860 in France, it soon moved to Italy, where today a set of Frette linen still makes a very fine wedding present, and the long-time focal point for its fans, the original shop in Milan’s Via Manzoni, is still going strong. It wasn’t long before the rest of the world took a shine to Frette, and its sheets grace the beds in hotels such as the Ritz in Paris, The Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Ritz-Carlton hotels in the US and the rest of the world, and One Aldwych and Claridge’s in London.
But it’s no good pretending that Frette is available to one and all. It isn’t. Check the prices for the latest collection and you’ll find that a duvet cover in its Konyo Arredo pattern will set you back $1,495, while in Antalya the duvet cover alone would be $1,900 and a pillowcase $320. You need an awful lot of heritage and a deep devotion to high threadcounts and fine Jacquard weaves to think of paying those sorts of prices when there are so many friendlier prices around. Which is where the Edmond Frette collection comes in.
Edmond Frette is the newer, more contemporary, slightly more relaxed, younger version of the line clearly aimed at those with Frette tastes but slimmer wallets. Named after one of the original Frettes, it still pays lots of homage to quality – Egyptian cotton, cotton poplins, percale and sateen Jacquards are used, with thread counts ranging from 250 in the poplin, 250 in the pellora to 300 in sateen. But everything comes in at much gentler prices, something like 40 per cent less than its grander, more formal big brother. The designs have plenty of Italian panache with bold black and white graphic prints, some Japanesey red flowers with black and white background and some great big formal black and white flowers looking very dramatic indeed.
If you’re looking for something more redolent of the main Frette range, there are echoes of its heritage in weathered tile patterns, in some of the floral motifs and the tones of deep claret, ivory, garnet, café au lait, the faded aqua and pearl which are worked into the collection. It’s designed to be mixed and matched with ease and many of the pieces could also be layered into the main collection.
And, just like big brother, Edmond Frette has a collection of blankets, throws and decorative pillows which, in the fashion of the day, can be used to “dress” the bed. They come in fine merino wools and cashmeres, some in wonderfully gentle faded colours. There are also thick, chunky, knitted blankets to be thrown casually on beds or over sofas and chairs.
All this has only just arrived in the UK, in London to be precise, but already it’s a big success in the US where more Edmond Frette stores are being rolled out even as we go to press. To give you some idea of prices, pillowcases in 100 per cent cotton poplin start at £35, quilts in 100 per cent cotton are £384, blankets range from £500 to £913, while a Trio bedset (sheet, duvet cover and pillowcases) is £354 (in the main collection a bedset starts at £1,000).