Always on the lookout for fine, menswear-related crafts, my eye was caught a couple of months ago by the valet stands in the window of the Anderson & Sheppard Haberdashery on Mayfair’s Clifford Street. Made from dark wood and polished brass, they were draped with a selection of candy-coloured ties and Anderson & Sheppard’s equally bright linen trousers. But it was the elegant curves of the stand that held my attention.
Valets are traditionally repositories for a man’s clothing and accessories; a convenient place where he can hang his jacket and place his cufflinks when he returns home. For the more prepared, they can also be a useful frame upon which to set out clothing for the following day. This modern version, it turned out, was made by a small company called Honorific that is based between London and Lithuania. The owner, craftsman Mantas Lesauskas, makes each one himself, cutting, turning and sanding the wood as well as finishing the brass. The standard design (from £3,300) is in American black walnut and oiled brass; but as each one is made to order he offers a range of different woods and metals. There is an upright and a more traditional, laidback design, and both feature a gently curved tray for accessories, brass-capped feet and two wooden bars that support a pair of shoes.
Some designer houses have also been turning their attention to valet stands recently. Hermès, for example, has a remarkable leather and wood version proudly on display in its New Bond Street store. Named the Groom Valet (£32,160), it is clad in solid Canaletto walnut and tipped with brushed steel. There is also a swivel mirror whose back is covered in Essential bull calfskin – which feels distinctively Hermès – plus a coat hook and pouch.
Such stands are often set apart by the geometry of their parts, and by their choice of additional trays and hooks. The Groom Valet, for instance, has an accessory holder (either in brushed steel or clad in leather) and a jewellery compartment in that same Canaletto walnut. For a more stripped back look, a notable design is the Ligne Roset Estenda valet stand (£637), which is a simple set of walnut poles, bridged by brass bars, and topped off with a small, circular accessories tray.