Herve Martin, CEO of luxury linens brand Frette, shares why thread count is not the be all and end all of bed linens.
Let’s start with the AW16/17 collection and the design inspirations of the collection.
Herve Martin The collection is structured around different points of view. We call the collection Weaving, which is a reference to jacquard, something that’s very important to the history of Frette. We also wanted to have a thread from the past to now and from now to the future, which led to linking designs from the past with designs that are far more contemporary in spirit. Pixels, for example, is in reference to the future and the digital world. It’s the winter collection, so the palette is a bit darker. We played a lot with blues and greys.
What is the latest design trend for bed linen right now and what are homeowners looking for in terms of bed linen selection?
HM The world today is about bringing emotions and feelings that are tactile, so the development at the moment is on the tactility of the product. We also need to make products that are not only pleasing, but also providing greater functionality, such as breathability, coolness, protection against humidity and the ability to maintain all these components for a long period. As for design trends, it’s no longer around design or colour. It’s about the way you see the world and the way you want to bring something to the world. So in bed linen, it’s responding to the challenge of people wanting to live protected, reassured in their little nest because out there it can be quite aggressive.
Does thread count still matter today or are there other factors to consider when selecting bed linen?
HM Recently, I was talking to someone about a 1000-thread count sheet. We have a line called Giza, made of very beautiful Egyptian cotton with a thread count of 1000. We’re proud of it. But I was saying that I don’t believe that we should judge by the thread count. If it’s very dense, it’ll have much less air to go through. If you want something lighter and airy, you shouldn’t have a 1000 thread count sheet. When you are in Singapore, you can have either air conditioning at full speed or no air conditioning. Your personal feeling will be different due to the climate and environment. The quality in the product needs to respond to the individual. Also, the way you make the bed is important too.
How has the luxury bed linen industry changed in recent years?
HM Customers everywhere are far more knowledgeable than they used to be a decade ago. What you sell is a product with a full range of services, and that’s what’s important to the clients. The digital world is also challenging the world of luxury goods. With the way it’s going, in 10 years, probably 90 per cent of the communication will be done online. Probably most of the marketing and contact will be online. We have to balance the stores and other types of presence.
Having managed other products such as Baccarat and Salvatore Ferragamo, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced moving into the bed linen field?
HM A brand is successful when its true identity is developed and when the customers everywhere say that’s what they want. A brand fails when it’s undefined and too much like the other ones. The first need was to understand what is specific about the brand. The second challenge was that linen is not like accessories, shoes, clothing and watches. Even though it’s luxury, even though quality and design are very important, most of the time customers shop for home linens because they have a functional need. The cycle is different, so the way we interact with the clients is different. And that even though you sell a beautiful product and must have a lot of intangible value, the functionality must be there.
Find Frette at Takashimaya Level B1, Tel: 6738 1111, www.frette.com.