How To Create An Heirloom
The antithesis of fast fashion, these pieces are made to get better with age. Pass them on…
We all have an innate desire to pass something on to the next generation. It not only makes the whole experience of shopping more reassuring – what’s better value, after all, than something that will last for decades – it also appeals to our sense of tradition. When selecting an heirloom of your own, though, it helps to remember that not all objects are created equal, and that age alone cannot make something special: your son will be reluctant to accept a pair of shoes that you picked up from the bargain bin, even if it was 30 years ago, nor will he be likely to dive enthusiastically into the idea of wearing the statement print from the summer of love, 2015. In short, if you want to impress your descendants with some sort of legacy, it better be hard-wearing, tasteful and timeless – there’s another word for bequeathed objects that fail to deliver on these criteria: junk. And no one wants to create any more of that. That’s why we’ve provided some guidance in the form of our edit of the perfect future heirlooms. These are items that are special already – and that age will only improve.
Though this storied Parisian brand has recently branched out into menswear – and stunning menswear, at that – Berluti is still recognised, first and foremost, as a shoemaker. Founded in 1895 by Mr Alessandro Berluti, the company was passed down through successive generations, first to his son, Mr Torello Berluti, and then his grandson, Mr Talbinio Berluti. How apt, then, that the shoes themselves should make such perfect family heirlooms. Treated with a signature patina that becomes richer and more nuanced over time, these elegant Oxfords are sure to break in beautifully.
A Leica camera is that rare thing, a piece of consumer electronics that’s immune from obsolescence. Maybe it’s because of its timeless looks, or because it’s as functional as it is beautiful. Or maybe it’s down to the simple fact that this German brand has spent much of the 20th century building the most immaculately crafted, sturdy cameras in the world. In short: this thing is built to last. Also in shot is a briefcase from Berluti, cut in the brand’s signature Venezia leather and hand-polished to achieve a rich patina. Much like the shoes seen in the previous picture, this briefcase will develop a unique character with age.
Given that people have been playing backgammon for the past, what, 5,000 years, it seems safe to assume that, in the next 20 or so, they still will be. This Bourdon backgammon set is therefore not only a sophisticated addition to any games room, but something that will remain useful (and fun) for decades, if not millennia. It’s named after Bourdon House, the Mayfair mansion that functions as Dunhill’s London headquarters. Shown alongside it is Bremont’s ALT-1/ WH World Timer Automatic Chronograph Watch, which is made by the British brand for MR PORTER’s Kingsman range. This stunningly intricate watch in rose gold with an alligator strap is based on a design Bremont was commissioned to produce for military pilots flying the Boeing C-17 Globemaster in 2010. Though this gives it somewhat of a lesser historic pedigree than backgammon, we can assure you it is a modern classic that time will not age.
Bottega Veneta’s “intrecciato” weave is one of the most recognisable motifs in the world of luxury – certainly up there with Burberry’s check and Christian Louboutin’s red sole. The pattern is usually seen on the Italian brand’s leather goods, but it’s put to clever use here in these smart cufflinks. Often seen as a rite of passage, cufflinks make the perfect present for a graduation or wedding – with a bit of luck these ones will remain in the family long after all such milestones.
One of the most significant moments in a father’s life is giving his son his first shaving lesson – and it’s made all the more special with the right tools. Grooming company D R Harris has been catering to men with a taste for the finer things in life – and their sons – since 1790. Its razors have changed remarkably little over the years: the one concession to modernity is that this one fits a contemporary safety blade. Alongside it is a leather wash bag from Smythson, another brand that’s been around for decades (1887 to be precise) and, we predict, will remain in style for many years to come.
Brioni’s creative director Mr Brendan Mullane has claimed that the colour of the brand’s eponymous scent was designed to look like a Cognac that has been diluted by a single ice cube. It’s a sign of the attention to detail that went into the creation of this eau de toilette, which is every bit as considered and uncompromisingly crafted as one of the brand’s bespoke suits. The scent itself is a blend of Sicilian lemon and citrus notes underpinned with rich, woody notes of liquorice and oud. Warm and evocative, it manages to achieve the perfumer’s Holy Grail of feeling masculine without being too “manly”. Make this your signature scent, and watch contentedly as your descendants emulate you over the decades.
Suitcases and umbrellas are two items which, while they can be extraordinarily beautiful, are so often not. Just think of the carousel of sad-looking luggage that greets you when you get off a plane, or the hundreds of cheap, mass-produced umbrellas that spring up whenever it rains. Thankfully, there are brands out there for whom form is just as important as function. Globe-Trotter is one of them. Its traditional fibreboard suitcases have a classical beauty to them that the wear and tear of travel will only improve. Francesco Maglia is another. This Milanese umbrella maker is run by the very well-dressed Mr Francesco Maglia, who, in a demonstration of the long-lasting qualities of his umbrellas, claims to still own one that originally belonged to his grandfather.
It’s a cliché all too common in the fashion industry that leather “just gets better with age”, but, like most clichés, there’s an element of truth to it. This is down to its sturdiness as a material, and the fact that all but the most severe wear and tear is likely to be only superficial. Because of this, what might seem shabby or decrepit becomes characterful instead. If leather is the fine wine of the fashion industry, then Bottega Veneta is its Château Mouton Rothschild. This beautiful briefcase, in the label’s intrecciato weave, is an investment that will reward you for years to come.