Brand round-up: R. Culturi, Mes Chaussettes Rouges, Private White, Pochette Square, The Morning Company

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1 R. Culturi

There are many brands launching ties or handkerchiefs online these days, given it’s an easy area to try and express something new - and the lack of sizing makes it relatively easy to sell online.

One that was shown to me recently with an interesting approach was R. Culturi. They work with a range of artists to commission original pieces, which are then printed onto silk accessories.

The pieces are relatively well-made, with hand-rolled edges to the handkerchiefs, for example. And there is a more interesting design and colour selection than you get with most collections.

The downside is that the complexity of the illustrations means they use digital printing rather than screen printing. (The latter usually involves five or fewer colours, which is why most classic hanks have relatively simple designs.)

Digital printing can have a problem with penetrating all the way through the silk. R. Culturi work hard to improve this, often testing dozens of different options, but this work does mean designs aren’t quite as sharp as they would be with simpler designs.

Personally, I prefer the simpler and more graphic designs of classic makers. But I also understand people that are on the other side of this trade-off, and like the more painterly or complex patterns.

I tried the copper mandala tie (which is an interesting shade of dusty pink) and both the Tides and Still Life pocket squares.

2 Mes Chaussettes Rouges and Bresciani

The French sock retailer Mes Chaussettes Rouges have long expanded beyond red socks, but they also added Bresciani underwear and T-shirts to their range last year - and more recently, hard-wearing socks and compression socks.

The Bresciani pieces are lovely - a beautiful cotton, beautifully finished.

The T-shirts are primarily designed as underwear, but aren’t too transparent to wear on their own, and a have a nice semi-slim cut.

The only design point that feels a little underwear-like (and old-fashioned perhaps) is the slightly longer sleeves. But then I often roll these up.

The underwear is also lovely, but I’d recommend the loose boxer shorts ahead of the briefs or boxer-briefs. The cotton is not a jersey and has not elastane in it, so I found the latter style a bit in need of stretch.

As for the hard-wearing and compression socks, I tried a pair each of these and found them surprisingly comfortable and even luxurious in feel, despite the high level of synthetic content.

I wouldn’t wear them regularly, as they would make my feet too hot, but for those that travel and like compression socks, they are a cut above. And the super-durable socks will be best for those that do a lot of walking or otherwise wear their hose pretty hard.

3 Private White T-shirts

These posts are largely about new brands, or significant additions from brands we’ve featured already. The T-shirts from Private White VC fall into the latter category.

Last Autumn/Winter, PWVC did a small run of merino T-shirts in grey, navy, a great copper and a few other colours. They sold out pretty quickly - with several customers buying the whole range, as tends to happen when men find a basic they love.

Merino is not for all-year-round - cotton will always be that touch more comfortable and familiar. But it performs fantastically in colder weather; I’ve often wished I could wear my Rapha base layers more as T-shirts.

This season PWVC has followed up the merino range with cotton-jersey pieces in short and long sleeve, and the same colours as the merino plus some new marls.  

4 Pochette Square

Pochette Square are a handkerchief company I reviewed several years ago - September 2011, in fact.

They contacted me recently saying that piece got a lot of play on search engines, but they had improved their product since and would I review them once more.

I’m always happy to do this, as brands change their approach and designs over time - and nothing is better than seeing a young brand learn and improve, resolving into a much stronger product.

Unfortunately, my major points had not been addressed. The hanks were still too small to stay up in most pockets (13 inches on the side) and most were not hand-rolled.

However, they have introduced a greater variation in designs - more in the area between classic and showy - such as the grey linen and some subtle map designs.

And for both ties and hanks, they have a big range and very good prices - for those not so bothered by the digital printing or hand rolling.

5 The Morning Company

Lastly, I recently tried the accessories from The Morning Company.

They do a small range of shaving products in wood and horn, but with some interesting, slightly more modern designs compared to the traditional menswear outfitters.

The wooden razor, for example, is handmade in France from a lovely rosewood, but with a metal line running down the middle and a stand that is both attractive and practical (above).

I tried one and have replaced my old, horn handle.

The toothbrushes, unfortunately, don’t work quite as well as the replaceable heads have to be bought from The Morning Company, and a pretty basic. The horn combs are also a lot more standard.