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best cashmere sweater

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by auto90403, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. auto90403

    auto90403 Well-Known Member

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    this month's GQ has a feature in which they list 47 new year's resolutions. one is to buy a first-rate men's cashmere sweater.

    the one the magazine suggests/recoomends is an editor's favorite -- from marc jacobs.

    how good is marc jacobs cashmere and what are some other contenders? loro piana?
     
  2. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Well-Known Member

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    I have a MJ cashmere sweater, it's quite nice, fairly comparable to my LP cashmere sweaters, but honestly (and many may consider this blasphemous) there isn't a whole lot of difference in my experience between the LP sweaters and the ones made by J Crew of LP fabric, and the "fine gauge cashmere" sweaters from Express seem to be almost as good, I recently picked up one of these in navy for $50.
     
  3. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

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    Marc Jacobs is a designer. Someone else is making his sweaters; at most he dictates the cut, which can make a difference in how stylish the sweater is. However, he will have no input on the quality of the yarn used or most other parameters of a good cashmere sweater.

    I'm wearing a Ballantyne cashmere sweater right now and it's the best cashmere sweater I've owned. Soft yet tightly woven; warm; substantial but not bulky; minimal wear or pilling. Thing is, it's vintage. I have a new one that I haven't worn yet, and I fear that the quality of top Scottish cashmere may have declined. FYI both _are_ made in Scotland. I boguht a new N.Peal a few years ago and while it's nice, it seems to stretch and pill more than I would have expected. Brunello Cucinelli makes a fantastic cashmere sweater though. I own one Loro Piana cashmere-silk sweater and feel like it's nice, and I'd always wanted one, but it feels much flimsier than the other cashmere I own.
    Richard James' cashmere sweaters are nice, but I wouldn't pay retail for them (close to $1000). Many are made by Corgi, which is a good house but not quite up there with the very best.
     
  4. Mike C.

    Mike C. Well-Known Member

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    This statement is TOTALLY wrong. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Designers most definately have a say in the quality of the material and an absolute say in the specs the garment is cut to. This is what "design" is.

    What do you mean when you say "Someone else is making his sweaters"? Of course he is outsourcing the garment to a factory... Marc Jacob is a design house not a manufacturer. It wouldn't be profitable/feasable for them own factories.
     
  5. stache

    stache Well-Known Member

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    Mike is right.
     
  6. norcaltransplant

    norcaltransplant Well-Known Member

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    Traditional knitwear brands for consideration: (some previously mentioned), top tier: Ballantyne, Loro Piana, Bruno Cucinelli, Colombo Mid-High Tier: Malo, TSE, Avon Celli All of my cashmere sweaters are from the second group. I'm sure various design houses offer top quality products, however, I can't recommend anything off the top of my head. Oh wait, If you have the opportunity to visit New York, the Beretta boutique has a few amazing 100% cashmere sweaters ($700-1200?), and a full length cashmere/rabbit-lined fur coat ($4-5000-ish) by an Austrian company I can't remember.
     
  7. Material Boy

    Material Boy Well-Known Member

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    Avon Celli's millionaire cashmere sweaters are definitely one of the best money can buy. Kiton are also making some great cashmere, I saw one at Barneys New York on sale for a "mere" $950.
     
  8. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

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    Depends on the structure of the particular house. For example, Costume National has its own factories, and that seems to work for them, but I can't see the Ralph Lauren group doing this. Depends on how many brands, etc... are in the group. Even now, C'n'C, Costume's diffusion line, is outsourced.
     
  9. jrh

    jrh Well-Known Member

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    Malo sweat shirts

    Yummy
     
  10. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

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    Saw some of the Avon Celli Millionaire Cashmere sweaters at Filene's Basement. They were already incredibly pilled, though the Avon Celli normal cashmeres were fine. Are they that much more delicate?
     
  11. naturlaut

    naturlaut Well-Known Member

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    Mr. RJman is not entirely wrong either.
    A designer does not have control of the quality of the garment --- the factory does.  However, the designer can pick the factory.  Some designers pick a good factory/maker while others don't.

    For example, even if a designer wanted a high quality product, a factory in China would certainly not be able to meet it.  In a way, if he is stuck with that factory, he doesn't really have a say in the quality.  The only choice he (or his company) has is to change factory. That's the reason why Hermes 'makes' a better cashmere sweater than other Milanese designers. They all want to have a great product, but Hermes picks a great factory/maker.
     
  12. naturlaut

    naturlaut Well-Known Member

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    I will vote for Brunello Cucinelli, Avon Celli and Loro Piana for best cashmere sweaters.
     
  13. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

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    I think that's what I meant. Well, I was not entirely right, but designers are limited by their subcontractors' abilities. If the subcontractor can deliver, they can specify levels of quality in the manufacture of the garment, if they care.
     
  14. imageWIS

    imageWIS Well-Known Member

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    Well, American Apparel owns its own factory(s)...as does Zenga and Loro Piana.

    Total ownership in a factory is not necessarily required to assure required quality, partial ownership can satisfy that. I am sure that the RL Corp. owns stock in several of its manufacturing companies, or finds way to press its interests by other means.

    Jon.

    Well, American Apparel owns its own factory(s)...as does Zenga and Loro Piana.

    Total ownership in a factory is not necessarily required to assure required quality, partial ownership can satisfy that. I am sure that the RL Corp. owns stock in several of its manufacturing companies, or finds way to press its interests by other means.

    Jon.

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know which company produces the Cashmere items for RL Polo / RLPL? I have been trying to find out but with to no avail.
     
  15. A Harris

    A Harris Well-Known Member

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    Avon Celli is definitely top-tier, many consider them the best.

    My favorite is Brunello Cucinello, based on styling. Sort of a sophisticated take on military and field clothing.

    A tip for Bergdorf Goodman shoppers: Some of their private label sweaters are (or at least were) made by Avon Celli and Brunello Cucinelli, though they are about half the price of the comparable branded items.
     
  16. amirrorcrackd

    amirrorcrackd Well-Known Member

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    Funny thing is, Marc Jacobs (the man) doesn't even design for Marc Jacobs (the line) at all anymore.

    Dan
     
  17. modsquad

    modsquad Well-Known Member

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    What follows are excerpts from a short article in last months Consumer Reports headlined "Steer Clear of the Cashmere Bargain Bin"

    ...Some manufacturers are using less cashmere, often in lower grades, and cutting corners in other ways ... manufactuers may fail to remove short fibers that eventually make sweaters pill... unscrupulous processsors add wool to the cashmere without labeling the fibre as a blend ... one of six sweaters we tested at a special lab contained about 10% wool, treated to be indistinguishable from cashmere except under a powerful microscope. The label said 100% cashmere, the price tag said two for $90 ...Expensive cashmere sweaters are knit from yarns made of multiple strands or plies. We found that low-priced sweaters are usually made from two-ply yarns but the yarn is thin and the sweaters not as tightly knit. Inexpensive sweaters may be made from single-ply yarn, which wears poorly and pills easily ... the most expensive sweaters tested were excellent ... Brooks Bros ($298): a lot of sweater for the money ... Pringle ($450): also excellent ... Macys store brand ($120) and Land's End ($128): made of good two-ply yarns... a Bloomingdales store brand (< $100) was single ply.
     
  18. Phil

    Phil Well-Known Member

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    For sheer luxury - Agnona. Ive never felt anything so good.

    For luxury and deal in one - the newest Brooks Brothers. They moved production to Scotland, and the sweaters have really improved in quality. I own several of the HK made (of Italian cashmere) and they are fine. But just fine. They were $268 retail. I recently bought 2 of the Scottish made variety a few weeks ago on sale (paid $399.00 for 2) - retail is $298 normally. I love them. Slightly thicker than the old version. Also seems like better quality on the wrist and waist bands. I swear by BB cashmere, for 3 reasons. Quality is good, and has just improved. Can always be had on sale if you are patient. The only brand I have ever found that has long enough sleeves in size medium to accomodate me.
     
  19. Material Boy

    Material Boy Well-Known Member

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    Phil: Your Agnona sweater(s) have to be at least couple years old. Ever since Zegna acquired Agnona three or four years ago, Agnona manufactures clothing for women.

    In regards to the designers' control over quality, I am on the side of RJman and naturlaut: Designers' controls over quality are very limited. For those non-believers, simply ask Donna Karan. Her Donna Karan signature line for men is now defunct (I am not talking about DKNY) primarily because the quality of her line is so bad (based on my own personal experience and talks with folks who actually worked at her company).

    Another example that came to my mine is the Ralph Lauren Purple Label. I owned many pieces from that line (about 40-50 pieces), all of which are made in Italy or England (the older pieces). Buttons on these shirts were falling off; whole pocket of my cashmere overcoat fell off after one wear. I raised the quality issues to the manager of the Rodeo store. I was told that I am not the only one experiencing these problems and Polo is working hard on finding other vendors to produce their RLPL sportswear line.
     
  20. Brian SD

    Brian SD Well-Known Member

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    I read that part of the GQ article as well and decided to go look at Marc Jacobs sweaters. They really are impeccable pieces of work. It doesn't seem wrong to spend a couple hundred on one, although of course in my case I don't know how they hold up. All cashmere sweaters over $100 are going to feel nice, but the fit on the MJ sweater just seems impossibly good.
     

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