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 Atelier Savas, arguably the most sought-after maker of bespoke leather goods in the country.
Of all the things in a closet one can have “custom made,” a leather jacket is the best call. Not the most obvious or naturally intuitive, but think about it — this is a garment made from animal hide. It is meant to last a lifetime. It is, more than anything other item of clothing, meant to make the wearer look/feel cool. Does it not stand to reason that it should fit perfectly?
Savannah Yarborough, founder and designer of Atelier Savas, certainly thinks so. “It’s like modern day armor, ‘cuz it gives you this confidence that you really don’t get from any other piece of clothing,” she says. “You put on your leather jacket and you walk about and feel like you can take on the world.”
And when it comes to truly one-of-a-kind custom, Yarbrough is not messing around. At her appointment-only studio in Nashville (where she frequently hosts hi-profile clientele like Jack White and Jason Isbell), she begins the bespoke process by helping clients to select the leather that will become their jacket. Be it calfskin, lamb leather or kangaroo hide (yes, that’s a thing), once chosen she will never use that skin again for another client.
For me they’re meant to be thrown around, worn everywhere. It’s something that you should be wearing, you should live in it. And it should tell that story of your life. It’s like this personal journal of experience.Savannah Yarborough, Founder/Designer of Atelier Savas
After talking through the concept (style, fit, embroidery/detailing), Yarborough creates a sketch of the jacket — once approved, she takes 32 separate measurements that will be utilized to create a custom pattern, with Yarborough obsessing over details like how the positioning of an armhole can affect how a sleeve hangs.
This pattern then becomes a fabric mockup used to make fit tweaks, at which point the leather pieces can be cut and painstakingly sewn, pressed and glued into jacket form. Silk linings often feature custom embroidery (nicknames, illustrations), further adding to the singular nature of the finished product.
This process is extraordinarily meticulous and time-consuming, and presided over soup-to-nuts by Yarborough herself. “With the word bespoke, the person that’s taking your measurements is also the person with your piece the whole way through,” she says. “I can only make four jackets a month.”
All that’s left is for the wearer to, well, wear it. “Leather jackets always look their best ten years after you’ve had them,” says Yarborough.
We’re very much inclined to take her word for it.
Any gent you know who happens to be in a band — or, more likely, any gent you know who just wants to look like he’s in a band. Also great for clotheshorses who are perennially difficult to shop for because it seems like they already have everything.
For those facing budgetary constraints, Savas also offers made-to-measure and off-the-rack options that will still look aces a decade down the line. Additionally, Yarborough’s designs aren’t only for the fellas — should it be a special lady you’re shopping for, she’s got a killer range of women’s jackets as well as accessories from weathered canvas totes to stylish leather mini-purses.
Finally, Savas also offers a “golden ticket” gifting option — a solid brass plate engraved with a personal message and encased in a soft leather pouch — that will grant the recipient a credit of your choosing. A more chic gift card we have not seen.
The full bespoke treatment starts at around $5K, while off-the-rack numbers will run you about half of that. Amortize that over the hundreds of wears your giftee will likely get out of it, though, and you’re looking at a (relative) bargain in our eyes.
All images courtesy of Atelier Savas
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