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The Elder Statesman's new capsule collection hits Barneys Co-op

November 28, 2011 |  2:00 pm

TYRO by tes

The Elder Statesman, a Los Angeles-based stealth knitwear label that handcrafts cashmere into a range of super-soft pieces -- think $425 beanies, $865 scarves and $1,300 sweaters -- stocked at storied high-end retailers like Maxfield in West Hollywood, Isetan in Japan and Mr. Porter online, is widening distribution -- and dropping prices -- a bit with a new seven-piece capsule collection that recently hit select Barneys New York stores.

The Tyro by tes collection ("tyro" is a Latin word that means novice or beginner, the "tes" is short for "The Elder Statesman") consists of  knit caps, shawls scarves and fingerless gloves that range in price from $150 to $495  -- which is just about the entry-level price point for the parent brand -- but Greg Chait, who launched the Elder Statesman in 2007 with cashmere blankets that weigh 10 pounds and cost you more than a mortgage payment (some of Chait's handiwork includes the pillows and blankets on the screening room couches at the members-only Soho House in West Hollywood), is adamant that the lower prices are not a result of cutting corners in the quality department.

"I sort of do one-of-a-kind collections for each of my retail accounts," Chait explained, "using the finest cashmere I can find and the pieces are all handmade in Los Angeles. The only difference for the Co-op collection is that instead of cashmere I'm using baby alpaca and the pieces are being handknit in Peru."

The inaugural Tyro by tes holiday collection, which hit Barneys stores and website about two weeks ago, will be followed by a spring collection that includes Chait's luxe-for less take on the T-shirt. But it's one of his projects coming to fruition before that collection that we're eagerly awaiting -- bottles of Elder Statesman-branded private label Scotch whisky that he hopes to start selling this month.

"It's a single barrel of 1969 Macallan single-malt," Chait explained. "and I thought 'The Elder Statesman' sounded like the perfect name for a whisky brand."

That's the kind of holiday spirit(s) we wholeheartedly applaud.


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-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: The seven-piece Tyro by the Elder Statesman capsule collection includes (from left) fingerless gloves ($150), scarves ($495) and knit caps ($165) and is available exclusively at Barneys Co-op. Credit: Mike Piscitelli for Barneys Co-op