Everything you need to know before buying linen for your yacht
by Zoe Dickens
It may seem like a finishing touch but choosing the right linen for your yacht can make or break your interior design aesthetic. Whether you’re leaving the decision up to your interior designer or like to be a little more hands on, there are some important things to consider when buying linen for yachts. We sat down with Hervé Martin, CEO of Italian luxury linen specialist Frette, to find out exactly what you should know.
Don’t leave choosing your linen to the last minute
The design of a yacht is not the same as the design of a house. In a yacht, even if it’s a very large one, you have limitations with the space and environment and there are things you try to achieve with a yacht that you don’t think about in a house. With a house you can decide to buy your linen at the very end but in a yacht you should integrate all the elements, including decorative things like linen, at the very beginning of the process.
You need to have a 360-degree approach when designing a yacht’s interior space and to do that the interior designer needs to have all suppliers and brands involved as soon as possible. We work with designers early in their project because we believe that, whether it’s a cushion, a throw or a whole set of cabin linen, it’s not just the cherry on the cake, it’s something that redefines the space.
Expect all your linen to be made-to-measure
Regardless of the style or design you choose most of the time your yacht linen will have to be made to measure. When you’re in a house you have a little bit of flexibility but in a boat everything needs to be exactly the right size to fit the space. Whenever we meet yacht clients we show them a round bed, not to push people to buy round beds, but to show them we can do whatever it takes to perfectly finish their yacht interior. Most yachts are always extremely clean and crisp with things exactly where they should be at all times. This is no different when it comes to linen - it needs to fit exactly and be designed to suit a particular space and meet a specific purpose.
Custom and bespoke are not the same
Bespoke is a global terminology that covers many different things. Many use it when they mean customisation: where you just apply something on a product that already exists, typically a name or embroidery, or you amend an existing product, for example, creating a usually white product in a special colour. We have all sorts of options we can offer and custom linen does take a little longer but it’s a simple process to get the linen into production. Bespoke is a completely different story and, for us, it means designing the whole thing from scratch. It’s a much more involved process but the end result is going to be your dream linen.
Bespoke linens take time
When people come to us to order bespoke products we start by asking them the sizing, where the linen will be used and how the design is going to be applied. Then we exchange drawings, get into the technical side of the design and create a digital version of the design before it goes into production. The process take times and it needs to be a constant dialogue with the client. You can’t go away and design whole thing and then say, “This is what we’ve done, do you like it?” The process can be rather cumbersome but the end product is worth it. Obviously the cost and time mean it is still highly exclusive – only around one per cent of clients go for true bespoke while around 30% opt for some sort of customisation.
Think about how your bed linen is going to be used
The quality of most yacht linens means that, as long as they are properly cared for, you can keep them fresh for a long time but you have to consider how long you want to sleep in the same style of bed for. There are people who turn their beds four or five times a year changing the pattern and design according to the season. Then there are those who are very happy with their style but once every five years wake up wanting to change, not just their sheets, but the whole room. This obviously affects the time and expense that goes into each new set of linen.
Of course, the cabins the linen are destined for should also be considered. Top end products are highly luxurious and many clients decide to use them for their master cabin, for example, but choose guest cabin linen from another source or opt for something from a more simple range of products which are not so expensive.
Know your thread counts
Many people think of thread counts as a scale on which you measure the quality of a fabric from a very low number up to 1000. However, a thread count is really a way of measuring the density of fabric, which means it only partially tells you the quality. Quality is about perception - if you like to have fabric that breathes a dense 1000 thread count bed sheet is probably not right for you. You’re likely to be much happier with a 600 thread count sheet.