I have mixed feelings about “luxury without the luxury price” concepts. Be that as it may, a new company out there called Italic is doing this with (among other things) bedsheets. Their 400-thread-count cotton sateen set retails for $115 and is supposedly comparable to brands you find at fancy hotels like the Four Seasons and St. Regis. And in the name of journalism, I decided to try them out.
Simultaneously, I also had the opportunity to test a set of Frette sheets, as I’ve long pined to do, but couldn’t afford the $1,000 price (nor the price of staying at the St. Regis, where they can also be found). Luckily, a colleague had ordered an extra set in the haze of a clearance sale. I took them home and could tell right out of the package that they felt like how I’d imagined a luxury-sleep experience — soft, with a weightiness suggesting they would be comfortable in any season. They’re made from 300-thread-count Italian cotton sateen (which is actually not as high as the thread count Italic uses, but then that’s not necessarily an indicator of quality). Sophisticated sleepers all over the world sing their praises, making me think they would give me a life-changing night’s rest — which was probably an unrealistic expectation.
On the previous few nights, I had tried the Slumber sheets from Italic. They were not soft upon first contact like the Frette set. But I was surprised at how they became that way after a single wash; they developed a smooth, silky texture that was cool to the touch initially but retained my heat. Italic claims they soften after every wash, so I put them through again — and this claim was true. (Apparently Italic uses the same manufacturers as the Frettes of the world before selling directly to consumers at factory prices, thus eliminating extreme markups.)
I was also impressed by the nuances of the Italic version. Its fitted sheets have only heavy elastic on the corners, making them much easier to fold versus the half-wrestle-half-dance maneuver I used to neatly fold the Frette sheet. The pillowcases also have an added flap that holds the pillow in place — and as someone who loves to sleep on my stomach, hugging my pillow, I deeply appreciate that the pillowcase won’t slide off halfway through the night. Also, I typically need extra-deep sheets due to my three-inch mattress topper, but the queen-size Italic set fit over it perfectly. (Here is where I should probably admit that the Frette sheets I tried were actually king-size, so in that way my testing capability falls short.) My final verdict, after about a week each with both brands, is that I actually slept better on the less expensive version.
It’s still unclear how they will hold up over time as compared to the very well-established durability you get from a storied Italian brand like Frette. (From what I gather, even if they are produced in part at the same China factory that Italic uses, enough of the design is still made in Italy, as you read on the tag.) And Italic also doesn’t give you any options in terms of patterns or colors or subtle weave effects that somehow manage to evoke romantic evenings roaming the Pont Neuf. Italic’s only color choice for the moment is plain white cotton (it plans to launch a gray shade in the fall). But then again, don’t white sheets just reinforce the sense that you’re sleeping at a hotel?
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