“Grail” has become synonymous with an object that is highly prized, rare, and acquired only after a great quest. Many of us have spent long hours searching for a clothing grail item. The original legend gives us some guidance on what a true Grail is.
First, it must be rare, or even unique. The Grail cannot simply be another item on the shopping list. A pair of captoes to complement your suede wingtips doesn’t count. Vintage spade soles or bespoke Vass Budapesters might.
Also, there should be a quest involved.
Texan Kermit Oliver, the only American designer for French luxury brand Hermès, is featured in this NPR story and this Texas Monthly article. Oliver is an artist by day and a postal sorter by night. His artistic journey is intriguing, and his personal story has been marked by great sadness.
Meanwhile, my friend Réginald-Jérôme de Mans has a meditation on Hermès as the last great luxury house with any integrity. But don’t look for him to sport an “H” belt buckle any time soon.