It was over a year ago that I first spoke to Sven Raphael Schneider of Gentleman’s Gazette about his plan to launch his own menswear brand. I remember walking around my office in circles while chatting on the phone with him, it was a great way to procrastinate doing my actual work, which at the time was accounting and auditing. Once we got off the phone I knew it would be a while before he launched, but I was already excited. I knew Raphael was not just talking to talk, he was serious. And I knew that whatever it was that he came out with would be the proverbial ‘good stuff.’ Fortunately, for both his and my sake, I can say that I was right.
Raphael’s brand is called Fort Belvedere. Which refers, rather aptly, to Edward VIII’s (aka the Duke of Windsor) royal residence of the same name. The brand is new, very new, it launched in October of this year. Despite that, much of the selection seems to come from a time previous to ours; which I mean in the best, not worst of ways. In short, a time that was perhaps characterized by a bit more masculine elegance than our current time. The spread of goods ranges from knit ties to gloves to faux flower boutonnieres.
But anyway, Raphael and I agreed that I should do a review on some of his products (full disclosure: FB is an advertiser on this blog but that has no effect on my view of the brand) so he was nice enough to send me some products, I purchased some others. So we will go through each item individually in the typical fashion, as I think that is the easiest way to talk about them. I won’t go on much about the materials or construction methods, as Raphael goes into those subjects in depth on the Fort Belvedere site. I will focus more on my thoughts and experiences thus far with the products instead.
In summary I think what Raphael has put together is an excellent collection of accessories for men who appreciate classic elegance and style. Admittedly and understandably, the styles and particularly the prices may not be for some of you. Fort Belvedere’s prices hover more around mid-level luxury prices; like Paul Stuart and Ralph Lauren. However, I think what you are getting for your money is equal, if not better, in both taste and quality; especially compared to the latter brand. The closest comparable brand would have to be Drake’s. That said, I really cannot take issue with the prices. The only other negative I have is the incorrect tie width of the knit ties and a desire that they be slightly wider, but again, that is a matter of personal preference.
Where Fort Belvedere really shines is in its uniqueness. I have never seen a knit tie with the coloration of the mottled orange and brown knit tie. Nor have I seen a fake flower that looks as real as the Edelweiss. So I am excited to see what Raphael comes out with next.
I have little doubt as to the longevity of the items I have thus far from Fort Belvedere; I expect to be wearing them for years to come. I know Raphael well enough to know that he is not much one to compromise on quality and craftsmanship. And as I have said, his level of taste is exceptional. That said, if your budget allows I would highly recommend taking a look at what Fort Belvedere has to offer, I would be surprised if you were disappointed in what is there. I would also say that a man would not be disappointed to find some of these as gifts under a Christmas tree, just a thought.
Note: FYGblog did receive products int he production of this post, however, as always the utmost effort is taken to maintain and objective and unbiased stance on said products and brand.