Five of the best bespoke Christmas gifts for women

Let her design her perfect present…

Kmossed silk-satin Cowboy Kerchief
Kmossed silk-satin Cowboy Kerchief

A scarf with a story

Silk scarves have undergone a gradual but potent revival over the past decade, and thanks to a handful of fashion houses they’ve become a cult accessory. However, it’s rare to come across such intensely personal creations as those from Kmossed, which offers custom-made, intricate designs on silk (from £3,500). “We start by discussing a client’s belongings, rooms or houses and if there are any mementoes they are keen to include,” says Ben Divall, who creatively directs projects while artist Rosie Kavanavoch oversees the collage-like designs. “They are largely based around objects – jewellery, paintings, antiques, as well as architectural elements. We may use part of something, and transform it; by the end of the process the origins of the motif are known to us and the client but may not necessarily be obvious to others.” The pair photographs treasured possessions and formulates a design, with handpainted details scanned and dropped in before the scarves are printed and the hems hand-rolled – the whole process taking two to three months. As an extra flourish, the pair can also create bespoke packaging, developing an insignia that can be embossed on the boxes, and producing presentation cards to tell the story of the project. Kmossed.com. CLARE COULSON

Iris Noble Ejiah tote
Iris Noble Ejiah tote
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A bag for a lifetime

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés showroom of handbag brand Iris Noble is a study in exquisitely made customised bags crafted using fine French calf, lambskins and assorted exotic skins. A visit reveals Noble’s six bag styles (from €2,450 to €18,000) and an array of leather swatches in tones from muted stone to vibrant greens and textured blues. The crocodile Lisa clutch with feather detailing is lined in suede and features hand-sewn credit card and phone holders, as well as a pocket for keys and cash; the Lynn baguette has an adjustable strap that transforms it from an evening purse to a shoulder bag, while the Ejiah tote is versatile and well-suited for travel. Once hues and finishes are selected by the client, much of the craftsmanship takes place in master leathersmith Robert Mercier’s studio on the outskirts of Paris. Most bags are completed within six to eight weeks, though rare skins and materials can add to the timeline. With visits arranged by appointment, customers are assured undivided attention and the benefit of the team’s impeccable eye for detail. Noble herself delights in working with clients “to create a piece that is entirely their own, down to the number of phone pockets or the handle height – a bag for a lifetime.” irisnoble.fr. CHRISTINA OHLY EVANS 

Penelope Chilvers’ Dandy slippers
Penelope Chilvers’ Dandy slippers
Gayle Warwick hand-embroidered bedsheets
Gayle Warwick hand-embroidered bedsheets

Flamboyant footwear

The current ubiquity of velvet slippers, as many designers now include versions in their collections, doesn’t prevent them from being as covetable as ever. But made to order, with your own choice of materials and motifs, they are even more desirable. And Penelope Chilvers’ Dandy slipper service (£348, with six to eight weeks for delivery) offers a veritable candy store of custom styles. Customers at the Mayfair store can choose from 15 cotton velvets, 17 suedes and 56 shades of grosgrain trim. There are also 13 coloured goatskin linings. “It’s that touch of hidden flamboyance,” Chilvers says. “Simply having your favourite colour inside your shoe gives so much pleasure.” The final detail is a gold, silver or neon motif — anything from a horse to an oak tree sprig or a lobster – and the range is constantly updated. Monograms can also be added in what Chilvers describes as an “ancient, extravagant font” exclusive to the store. 69 Duke Street, London W1 (020-7491 9555; penelopechilvers.com). CLARE COULSON

Penhaligon’s offers a bespoke perfume blending service
Penhaligon’s offers a bespoke perfume blending service | Image: Andrew Meredith
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Linens to love

“Detail is our thing,” says Gayle Warwick of the decorative, hand-embroidered bedsheets, pillowcases and table linens that she has been creating since 1998. The London-based American has developed a following of global interior designers such as Peter Marino and Francis Sultana, who appreciate the designer’s impeccable fabrics, creativity and uncompromising attention to the intricacies of hand-sewn embellishment. Bespoke commissions run the gamut from tiny to trousseau – one private client requested linen sachets ($35 each) for the lavender she collects in Italy; an art-collecting client, sheets that featured abstract brushwork. Tablecloths range from elaborate 10ft-long versions ($25,000) to simple Italian linen styles bordered by shades of plum and champagne. Warwick’s designs are realised by her embroidery team in Vietnam or by block-printers in India. Fine percale and sateen cottons are custom woven in Italy and Thailand, while cashmere is hand-woven in London. Because the textiles are finished without chemicals, there is “an unmistakable cool crispness to them”, says Warwick. A custom set of sheets can take six months, while simpler pillowcases ($200) embellished with a classic Les Jours hemstitch pattern can be produced in a few weeks. gaylewarwick.comCHRISTINA OHLY EVANS

Olfactory couture

There are signature scents and bespoke fragrances, and then there’s this year’s new perfume experience by Penhaligon’s. The British perfume house has a long history of creating unique scents; in 1902, for example, it was commissioned by the 9th Duke of Marlborough to produce a fragrance to celebrate his family’s ancestral seat at Blenheim Palace. Today, the revival of its luxurious bespoke service – the “olfactory equivalent of couture” – is headed up by Alberto Morillas, one of the world’s leading master perfumers. The Seville-born nose leads clients on a 10-month journey to create their own unique scent, a process that costs from £35,000 and starts with an intimate consultation at Harrods’ Salon de Parfums. This is followed three months later with the presentation of up to three fragrances to help refine the commission. It then takes two rounds of amendments to decide upon the final perfume, which is presented to the client in two handcrafted 200ml bottles and a small travel atomiser, encased within a beautifully carved wooden box. The unique formula remains a secret and, of course, more can be ordered (at a cost of £3,000) when the unique elixir is exhausted. 16-17 Burlington Arcade, London W1 (020-7629 1416; penhaligons.com). BEATRICE AIDIN

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