Hervé Martin has been known to say he’s “French by birth and Italian by adoption.”
Martin is indeed a Frenchman heading up an Italian brand of luxury home linens.
When WAG catches up with him on a recent morning, it’s in Lower Manhattan — and our chat touches on locales ranging from Paris to London to Milan.
Clearly Martin, the elegant CEO of Frette, has a worldwide perspective that in today’s marketplace is not only smart but necessary.
Martin — who joined Frette in 2014 after years of work for international luxury brands ranging from Baccarat to Salvatore Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton to Cartier — says that customers today are quite savvy.
Travel broadens horizons and shapes tastes, and New York, he says, is a sophisticated market that values legacy brands.
Since 1860, Frette has been producing linens and home furnishings from bases in Monza and Milan, Italy, using the finest fibers and artisans. The company states that its products have come to embody luxury, comfort and creativity, with Frette bed linens found in some of the world’s most prestigious hotels from Claridge’s to The Peninsula as well as “discerning” private homes, yachts and aircraft.
This is a brand, after all, that throughout its history has been featured everywhere from the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica to the dining car of The Orient Express, with more than 500 European royal dynasties sleeping between its sheets.
Today, the company has more than 100 boutiques worldwide, including a Madison Avenue New York flagship, is sold online and provides bespoke services. A sign of constant growth, a flagship opened in London this past autumn, designed by the Italian architectural firm DiMore Studio, with the first Frette store in Shanghai joining the lineup in January.
The current collection — available throughout the summer — is called Tropic of Cancer, featuring designs inspired by the cultures found near or on the Tropic of Cancer. Flare, for example, spotlights the charms of the Indian subcontinent, while Kala and Shield explores Niger. Tattoo Diamond takes a look at the design elements of Mexico, while Dome and Helix draws on the graphic elements of United Arab Emirates. A special edition is Monsoon, which draws the tropics together in a blue bedspread and reversible (white) silk that offers a contemporary take on ikat, the Indonesian dyeing technique.
Next up? The Fall/Winter 2017—2018 Collection, The Golden Deco, is devoted to “art and glamour of style moderne.” Billed as a collection that brings back the spirit of 1920s glamour, The Golden Deco is expected in stores in August with a sneak peek offered on this day.
“It’s a very good presentation of everything we are doing,” Martin says of the pillows and throws, sheets and towels, candles and more that add a soft sophistication to a tony model apartment on Barclay Street.
It’s just the latest step for Frette, which Martin says is about offering “high-quality simple bedding” ideal for customers who are “more and more trying to combine… In fashion terms, we say mix and match.”
Geography does affect taste, he adds.
“We still witness the difference between clients here and there,” he says of the various countries where Frette is sold. “In very international cities like New York, we have the same as there,” he says, referencing Europe while mentioning London in particular.
With the world seemingly growing ever smaller — with increased travel and exposure to different cultures — Martin says people are becoming more adventurous, even if it’s just for a signature element. It’s always about helping clients find “a sense of what is right for their style,” he says.
And no matter the setting, he adds, “One piece makes the whole story.”
He tells of a recent design-week event in Milan where Frette created a vignette inspired by the “seven capital sins.” Playing off the theme, a rich treatment was featured on top of basic white sateen.
But those simple white sheets were not so simple after all — “1,000—thread count,” Martin says with a knowing smile.
For more, visit frette.com.