For more than 150 years Frette has served the most illustrious of customers, including many European royal dynasties. Originally based in France, the company became enchanted by the unmatched expertise in textile manufacturing exhibited by the northern Italians in the 1870s, and so they relocated to Milan where they have been based ever since. Today they have expanded to a number of locations. In Italy, Frette stores can be found in Milan, Rome, Venice, and
Florence. They have a strong presence in the United States, including locations in Beverly Hills, Aspen, and New York. You will also find them in Paris and soon in London. In addition to the dedicated boutique locations, Frette also maintains a presence in the most prestigious department stores in cities like London, Moscow, and Hong Kong. Even if you’ve never visited one of their locations, there is still a chance you have already encountered Frette products. They have appeared in a variety of venues: from a moment on the silver screen, worn by Cameron Diaz in the film The Holiday; to the adornment of some of the world’s most prestigious historical monuments like the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica.
This year brings a new collaboration as a part of Frette’s Capsule Collection initiative. In the past, Frette has worked with companies ranging from Manhattan-based street-style fashion label Supreme to Harry’s of London. Now, in 2016, Frette partnered with the Italian interior design boutique, Spazio Pontaccio and the unique graphic design vision of Federico Pepe and his firm Le Dictateur. Unveiled this April, the series of pillows, throws, and shawls come to us in beautiful, modernist motifs with muted creams, blues, and greens and black. The results are stunning, creating the effect of a vintage style with a look and feel of something very current. This collection is currently available at the Milan location.
Recently, Frette announced the beginning of a brand new venture. A large part of Frette’s business is dedicated to providing customized textiles to the pillars of the hospitality industry like the Ritz, the Savoy, the Mandarin, the Four Seasons, and many others. Late last year they expanded their Bespoke customization service, making it available to individual customers. In an interview with WWD, Frette CEO Hervé Martin said, “This is not a foreign concept to Frette, but we had to create a system and organization in the main cities.”
The first store to make the service available was their flagship store in Milan, with an entire floor dedicated to the new service. The Paris and Venice locations followed; and now, right here in Rome, the Frette store near the Spanish Steps also offers Bespoke to individuals.
I pay a visit to the Rome location to take a closer look. While the space is small, the abundance of light, mirrored surfaces, and soft hues makes it feel very inviting. The first thing that catches my attention is the screen on the back wall that plays clips of the manufacturing process. I am fascinated as I watch how the ornate designs on their fabrics start with a hand-drawn pattern on paper and eventually end up fabricated in warp and weft. I investigate a case that displays spools of threads for customized embroidery arrayed in a wide spectrum of colors. When it comes to the actual pattern to be embroidered, clients may choose from a selection of fonts and patterns or they may bring in their own, fully unique designs. Noticing my interest in a handful of swatches which lie nearby on the table, the manager kindly brings out a couple large books full of fabric samples. She lays them out on a table for me to browse. I try to imagine all the permutations, considering all the available options I’ve seen in just the past few minutes.
Doing some research later, I discover that there are literally hundreds of thousands of possible
customizations to Frette linens, blankets, towels, robes, and pajamas. To help the customers navigate this abundance of options, Frette provides a team of consultants who will guide the new client through the process, from the customizable embroidery, to the colors, and then of course whether they prefer silk, satin, percale, or poplin.
Hervé Martin, who has been with Frette since 2014, and whose extensive history in the industry includes past associations with Baccarat, Salvatore Ferragamo, Kenzo, Louis Vuitton and Cartier, told Elle Decor Italia,
“A luxury brand must have the ambition to always offer something that goes beyond expectations, something different. In a world where everything is available and often repetitive, true luxury is found in seemingly unnecessary objects that become indispensable. I think that luxury can be described with four words: beauty, quality, uniqueness, fantasy.”