Alexander Kraft is an unlikely influencer. No preening millennial posing with magnums of pink champagne on other people’s private jets, the urbane 48-year-old entrepreneur is Chairman & CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty in France and Monaco, and recently opened a boutique hotel and restaurant, La Maison Bleue, in Provence.
But it’s his unrelenting elegance, unabashed enjoyment of cigars and cocktails, and devotion to gentlemanly pursuits including polo, skeet shooting and sports cars, that have earned him recognition as one of the most stylish men on the planet, with Instagram and the likes of The Rake and Gentleman’s Journal helping to spread the word.
Personally, Kraft mixes bespoke suiting—his favored firm is iconic Parisian tailoring house Cifonelli—with pieces from Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label collection in what we’d call a contemporary take on Cary Grant’s timeless style. But it’s his enviable lifestyle and devil-may-care attitude—how many CEOs so frequently broadcast their unbridled affection for Negronis?—that have endeared him to discerning men of style across the globe.
And now he has launched his own custom-tailored line of clothing, Alexander Kraft Monte Carlo, for those who share his appreciation for effortless elegance and beautiful craftsmanship.
Designed as a permanent capsule collection of “luxurious classics with a contemporary twist,” the debut offering includes sport coats, trousers, overcoats, shirts, and accessories, all handmade in Italy, as well as hand-knitted six-ply cashmere sweaters from Scotland, in classic shades of grey, navy, cream and caramel.
All of them are made to complement each other, and thus can be worn together to create a seamlessly-integrated wardrobe that will never go out of style. Prices are surprisingly reasonable considering the quality of the garments, especially when you consider the cost per wear, and all items are exclusively available online. Many are selling out fast but Kraft is constantly adding new products and designs, with jeans and casual wear coming soon.
“My collection has three elements that I am really proud of,” Kraft, whose design studio is in Monaco, where he has been a resident for more than 13 years, tells us. “The pieces are made of only of the very best 100% natural fabrics, from the world’s most reputable purveyors such as Vitale Barberis Canonico, founded in Biella in 1663 and family owned to this day."
And, he points out, "They are not made in sweatshops on the other side of the world, but 100% made in Italy, by small family-run sartorial concerns that employ locals, paying them fair wages. Finally, I think my line is the closest a ready-to-wear collection can get to a true bespoke look and feel, with a very nuanced, flattering cut, and many sartorial details such as canvas linings, working buttonholes, ticket pockets, and more.”
The pieces in the Alexander Kraft Monte Carlo collection are designed to last several years, or even longer if you maintain and mend them. When it comes to menswear, “invest in quality, not quantity,” he advises. “Instead of buying lots of low-priced stuff that ends up in a landfill after a few months, save up to buy quality pieces that will upgrade your wardrobe instantly and last forever.”
“I think there are a lot of men who want to look and dress well, but simply don’t know how to get started in building a high-quality wardrobe,” Kraft opines. “They don’t like to go shopping and don’t like to waste a lot of time thinking about their outfit every day. In response to that, I wanted to create a collection which allows men to build a timeless wardrobe—both stylistically and quality-wise—step by step, and which makes dressing well incredibly painless because all items can be combined with each other.”
Kraft cites the likes of David Niven (“for his ability to make everything look easy, even when it wasn’t”), Cary Grant (“always elegant, in every situation, and he only got better with age”), and Aristotle Onassis (“a real-life businessman who worked hard and played harder, and always cut a dashing figure”) as style influences, and we feel sure they’d have loved Kraft’s sartorial stunners, such as a softly-tailored grey flannel chalk-stripe suit jacket available with a matching double-breasted, shawl-collar waistcoat; and a navy double-sided cashmere polo coat with a velvet collar and bright red contrast lining.
The polo coat subtly references Kraft’s other passion, for collecting classic cars that, while beautiful to look at, are primarily purchased to be driven every day. It matches the color scheme of his 1989 Bentley Turbo R with its dark blue paint and red leather interior.
His other automotive acquisitions include a 1968 Ferrari 365 GT, a 1971 Mercedes 280 SL Pagoda convertible, and two customized Land Rovers, a 1993 Range Rover Classic and a 1989 Defender 110, completely upholstered in custom cognac-colored leather and fitted with bar compartments so that he is never without one of those all-important Negronis—“one’s of life’s most agreeable pleasures this side of the law.”
This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Maxim