The Elder Statesman

The cashmere faithful flock to this 1950s West Hollywood bungalow for casual cool pieces inspired by beach culture

Image: Steve Schofield

Acashmere jumper may be a tried and tested Christmas gift, but at The Elder Statesman it comes with a cool California twist. The luxury lifestyle label founded in 2007 by laid-back LA designer Greg Chait (first picture) takes its name – and ethos – from 18th-century British parliamentarian William Pitt. “I was inspired by his no-nonsense approach, and everything we make is similarly straightforward,” says the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner.

And his spare and striking shop in a 1950s West Hollywood bungalow is an extension of this design standpoint. The 1,600sq ft space today showcases Chait’s beach-culture-inspired pieces – from striped monochrome Picasso Crewnecks ($1,165) to the woven Cutter T-shirts ($895) in shades of magenta and royal blue – against white stucco walls and clean-lined blond-wood fixtures and furniture.

Image: Steve Schofield

“I wanted a retail space with a sense of discovery,” says Chait, who collaborated with Commune Design, the local architects behind the Ace hotels, on the Zen, copper-roofed structure, complete with enormous pivoting windows and a desert garden. Amid the cacti and olive trees is a cushion-circled fire pit, encouraging visitors to lounge and linger. But despite the design credentials and midcentury-modern feel, the boutique is essentially a blank canvas for Chait to focus on exquisitely fine yarn – made in Italy and Scotland, hand‑spun in Mongolia, and loomed, knitted, linked and embellished at The Elder Statesman’s factory in nearby Culver City. “Ninety-five per cent of our pieces are made in LA; 100 per cent come through our hands for quality control,” he adds.

The Baja Pullover ($2,140) is the brand’s signature sweater, a slightly oversized hoodie ranging from muted beige to vibrant, dip-dyed indigo; the Favorite Tee ($445), with its relaxed silhouette, is another unisex, year-round classic. Bolder seasonal knits include a tie-dyed heavy cardigan in ivory and maroon ($915), and felted sweatshirts ($1,354) and T-shirts ($540) created in collaboration with the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art; inspired by the Granville Redmond painting California Poppy Field, they combine floral patterns and bold text with classic sportswear shapes and raw edges.

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And it’s not just tops. Weighty cashmere blankets (from $3,360, second picture) and enormous, cosseting quilts (from $8,895) nestle next to sumptuous socks ($275). Art tomes from nearby Arcana books and buffalo-horn sunglasses ($1,995) from Germany round out the casually cool offerings. “My clients range from 20 to 80 years old, and typically they cross over with brands such as Céline, The Row and Rick Owens. They don’t need labels and are attracted to products with soul,” says Chait of the cashmere faithful who pilgrimage from Paris and Hong Kong as well as nearby Beverly Hills.

“I want my customers to feel that an Elder Statesman sweater is their favourite thing in their closet,” says Chait. “Everything is made in the best possible way – from the cashmere products to the clean-lined space. We didn’t cut any corners here, and I hope people walk away with a good vibe.”

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