It isn’t the selection of accessories that make a bespoke shirtmaker or tailor great. However, on occasion a visit can disgorge an antediluvian trove of classic items acquired back when quality was still a manufacturing priority rather than a marketing phantasm, or whose offbeat design means they have survived years in the shop until your excavation and rediscovery. As to the former, French fashion Falstaff Marc Guyot gets a wolfish gleam in his eye recalling the rows of old Lyle & Scott cashmere sweaters at the shirtmakers Rhodes & Brousse, with price tags that never got updated as they sat there year in year out. Rhodes & Brousse is now just a memory, but a few old stock quality cashmere sweaters are still in evidence at its former neighbor Hilditch & Key Paris. Following my piece of last year however, Hilditch & Key Paris sold out of its last few hand-printed, medieval-themed cashmere-silk scarves. (The Paris branch of Hilditch & Key was under separate management for decades and sold certain items, such as those scarves, that were not available at the parent Hilditch & Key shops in London, or, indeed, anywhere else.)
Hope is not entirely lost for the man seeking particularly luxurious peculiarity. For the variety of different items offered in Charvet’s bounteous, decadently ornate flagship in the Place Vendôme made it a favorite destination as well as a favorite shirtmaker. Above and below the bespoke floor with its thousands of bolts of fabric and skilled cutters spread multiple levels of what is now unusual and often otherwise impossible to find: robes whose sumptuousness defies simple description or any necessity, some of the best cashmere sweaters ever made, every color imaginable of fine over-the-calf truly sized socks in cotton or cashmere, ties both in the instantly recognizable jewel tones favored in Charvet’s export markets as well as in no less creative but somewhat less typed motifs. And, spread out under marble or onyx weights on tables on its ground floor, cashmere-silk scarves in various patterns, including the Bayeux Tapestry print shown above. Sadly, they didn’t do them with the “All Your Base” Internet meme-style captions, although that would have been an amusing variant.
Perfect to wear with an open-shirt and a sweater for a sort of “Casual Domesday” look, arrow in the eye not needed. The colors are a bit more sober than those on the old Hilditch & Key Paris La Dame à la Licorne scarves, but if that’s what worries you about wearing a neckscarf, you either need to be a lot more secure about your identity or need to have some discussions with that conservative politician about what happened between you in that dream that took place at the boathouse. Anyway, it’s thoroughly worth the trip as a vaguely historical evocation of the elegant and unexpected.