Traditional business travel has long required guys to master the art of packing. Enter Craft Atlantic, the smarter travel solution for guys on the go or, as co-founder Pierre Mordacq of the line puts it, “Off-duty sportswear, but not performance.” Frustrated by the lack of travel options while crossing the Atlantic back and forth for work, Mordacq, a former retail executive, and Pierre-Henri Mattout, the accomplished menswear designer from Paris, teamed up in New York to create a collection that blends expert construction, intelligent functionality and the kind of tasteful design you’d surmise as “European.”
To that end, fine woven shirts come with unexpected details such as non-visible, snap-down collars with hand-stitched accents and underarm gussets; a hooded sweatshirt features Riri zippers (arguably the world’s highest quality zippers) and seamless neoprene inserts. Elsewhere, a buffalo check padded vest has a built-in backpack and an anorak elasticated inner sleeves and a hidden drawstring waist for protection from the elements and a superior fit. The company’s take on a cargo pant, meanwhile, includes storm flap-like closures on the front with reinforced knees. One baby merino knit sweater in particular, shortened so you can layer it over a shirt perfectly, features contrasting felt shoulder and elbow patches ingeniously pressed and fused into the wool.
That the clothes are impeccably styled, constructed and finished isn’t unexpected coming from Mattout; the designer recently came from Victorinox and prior to that cut his teeth at the esteemed luxury houses of Dormeuil and Christian Dior. What is surprising, if not refreshing, on the other hand, is its blend of polish, ease and affordability. For one, prices start from $180 for shirts and top out at $980. The brand too is setting its sights on becoming an innovative platform for the creative community. This fall, for example, will see on the brand website the first in a series of collaborations with upcoming contemporary photographers and artists, such as Gina LeVay, whose photographs are showcased in October’s Vanity Fair magazine. As Mordacq says, “It’s important for us to be in the street, to get feedback from what happens in the world and showcase ourselves in a way that works with the brand.”