When it comes to holiday gifting, there are times where you just feel the need to swing for the fences.
Perhaps you’ve got a big client that you’re very much “looking forward to continuing business with in the coming year.” Perhaps you’ve got a significant other who has resigned you to a doghouse you’d like to emerge from sooner rather than later. Perhaps you’ve just had a helluva year (or several) and money just ain’t no object.
Any way you slice it, you’re in need of a true showstopper of a gift. Not only something of truly superlative quality, but something with a story — something the recipient can crow about whenever someone invariably inquires “damn, where did you get that??“
And thus we bring you the Rare Finds Gift Guide, a handy compendium of holiday swag for just about any type of person on your list (or, perhaps, if you’re just in the market for yourself — no judgement).
This installment concerns SAVED, an NYC cashmere concern proffering all manner of cozy accoutrement straight from the wilds of Mongolia.
Party fact: Mongolia is known as the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.” The landlocked East Asian country’s massive grassland steppe takes in roughly 250 sunny days a year. In the winter, though, the nation turns into polar vortex-Chicago, with average temps dropping 22 degrees below zero. It sort of comes with the territory, when your neighbor to the north is named Siberia. Mongolia actually has its very own form of natural disaster — called a zud — which refers to a winter so severe it threatens the lives of livestock. In order to survive, the indigenous Hircus goats of the region build up thick, bulky coats.
When that warm, eternal blue sky returns, the goats naturally rid themselves of these coats, shedding hair that makes some of the best cashmere in the entire world. This is where Sean McNanney sources materials for SAVED, his Gramercy Park-based design house, which makes ultra-soft throws, pillows, blankets, hats, and scarves, with punchy, voguish designs.
McNanney is a Ralph Lauren alum, whose stepmother is Mongolian. He connected with her extended family, which has been raising and producing cashmere for generations. From the herders to the final weavers, it’s a true family business, and one dominated by women. These tradeswomen harvest the hair once a year, when the weather warms up, then take their time crafting the products.
All of the people involved are part of my stepmother’s extended family, people who have been raising and producing cashmere for generations. Mongolian culture and craftsmanship are based on centuries of tradition. It is these traditions, handed down from generation to generation, that maintain a continuity of quality and craftsmanship.Sean McNanney, Founder and Designer of SAVED
A blanket, for instance, requires the down of 10 goats. Each goat takes 45 minutes to fully comb out. The down is then picked through by hand, carted, spun and dyed, which can take an entire day. Then, and only then, is it ready to be woven into a blanket.
A blanket, it also bears noting, that reflects McNanney’s impeccable design aesthetic — noble and whimsical at the same time, often taking cues from the natural world. “Not a day goes by that I don’t find some image or piece that serves as inspiration.” he says. “Whether it’s an architectural element that I spot during the day or a textile or piece that I find at auction or a thrift shop — this is my design process.”
Anyone who loves a home statement piece, or article of clothing, that comes with a kickass origin story. Anyone who loves supporting an old world practice, kept alive by women, in an area where the environment and its nomadic peoples’ traditions are threatened. Oh, and anyone who likes feeling irresponsibly comfy.
McNanney also frequently collaborates with various other artists and designers, yielding small capsule collections featuring a variety of delightfully curious motifs rich in character. If your giftee has been to Miami for Basel or has the odd French art book around the house, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll put it this way: If your singular goal with a blanket is to cover your legs, go get an $11 throw from IKEA. Most of the blankets here are firmly in the $1,200-and-up range. Considering how much people used to spend on faux-regal rugs, clunky sectional couches, or the first “flat-screen” TVs, it’s a worthy price for such a timeless, thoughtful addition to your home. If you’re only here for a taste of cashmere, pick up a pair of socks or gloves. They’re still the cost of an expensive dinner for two, but at least they’ve got the best backstory in your bottom drawer.
Crown Royal XR Extra Rare, the second edition to the storied Canadian brand’s Extra Rare series, is crafted from one of the final barrels of whisky saved from the now ghost LaSalle distillery.
To mark the model’s 55th anniversary, TAG Heuer’s flagship Carrera line is being driven by the brand’s premium, Swiss-made in-house column wheel chronograph movement, the Heuer 02, for the first time.
Using reclaimed agricultural tools, rare woods and ethically-sourced animal horn/bone from his native Brazil, Brooklyn knifesmith Max Poglia is crafting handsome, one-of-a-kind knives that are equal parts art and function.
Helmed by two Canadian brothers in the heart of Alberta, AdrianMartinus focuses on gorgeous furniture and home goods painstakingly crafted from a very interesting type of reclaimed wood: old skateboards.
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, legendary shaper Mikey Franco and his team are building snowboards in a way no one else in America does: by hand, specifically tailored to each and every client from the ground up.
Hailing from the tiny island of Kagoshima in Japan’s smallest prefecture, Olive Wagyu is the rarest beef on planet earth. Only a handful of Japanese cattle farmers produce it, and in extremely limited quantities — only 2,000 of these mythic cows exist in the world at any given time.
The first generation Ford Bronco is one of the most beloved SUVs of all time, unchanged from 1966 to 1977. Illinois outfit Gateway Bronco reigns supreme in the restomod game, hunting down these classics and meticulously restoring/refurbishing them to new levels of glory.
There is no piece of equipment more essential to mountaineering than the humble backpack. And no one makes them quite like Dan McHale, a veteran climber who’s been making bespoke ultralight packs out of a workshop in Seattle for more than 40 years.
Plying her trade from a by-appointment-only studio in the heart of Nashville, Savannah Yarborough is one of the most sought after designers of bespoke leather jackets in the country — her clients include Jack White, Jason Isbell, and, with a bit of luck, you.
Product imagery courtesy of SAVED Cashmere