Cottoning on: The insider's guide to buying bespoke linen
by Zoe Dickens
Whether it’s sitting down at a beautiful table dressed with a crisp cloth, drying off with a soft towel in the beach club or settling in for a restful night in cool cotton sheets, linen impacts almost every part of life on board.
But, faced with so much choice, finding your perfect linens can be something of a minefield. If there is one hard and fast rule for getting the best, it is this: go bespoke. “Owners often come to us not knowing what they want so it’s our job to ask the right questions, provide options and be the experts. There are no restrictions on what we can do,” explains Ruth Douglas, project manager at British brand Heirlooms, whose linens can be found on board Cloud 9, Maltese Falcon and Solandge among others.
It is this flexibility that means going bespoke leaves the options virtually limitless. If your interior designer has a particularly strong vision, then high-tech CAD technology, colour matching and sampling can be employed to make sure linens work in perfect harmony. Some companies will even weave unique fabrics just for your yacht, while monogramming your boat’s logo on everything is especially popular in the charter market.
Aesthetics aside, superyacht linens have to work hard so it’s important to be practical with your choices. “We often find that clients choose bespoke for the owner’s and VIP suites and then opt for a standard design from Frette or Pratesi for guest cabins. Many owners who charter also order separate linens for their own use,” says Jonathan Fawcett, founder of the eponymous yacht and private jet linen brand.
Three to five sets of linen per cabin is recommended. Plain coloured sateen is typically the easiest to launder while double-twisted cottons tend to become softer with each wash. And as for thread count? “A marketing tool,” says Fawcett, who recommends also considering construction, yarn provenance and personal preference as indicators of quality. Too high a thread count can lead to a heavier, hotter sheet and an uncomfortable night.
Whichever fabric you opt for, be sure to get your chief stewardess involved in the buying process and properly educated in caring for your linens. Many brands now test their products for industrial laundering, a process that Francesca Creasy, of Josephine Home, describes as “CSI for fabrics”, but even the hardiest linens need to be looked after.
Of course, bespoke comes with a price tag to match. A full set of basic king size linens will cost between £800 and £2,000. Is it worth it? “The last thing you do after the big reveal of your new yacht is climb into bed,” says Creasy. “Making that moment as luxurious as possible is what bespoke is all about.”