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Cremnitz White

Bespoke Chronicles


At the heart of style lies the feeling of inspiration, and to wear ones clothes as an extension of oneself is worth thinking about. We are delighted to share with you some of our summer inspirations and hope that it inspires you to tell your own story.

Cremnitz White

By Lyle Railsback

While having lunch at Clarke’s Restaurant in London’s Kensington neighborhood, I learnt of Lucien Freud’s connection to Sally Clarke, her restaurant his daily breakfast haunt for the last decade of his life. I’ve always had a fascination with Freud and his work, and being that we shared a favorite restaurant only reinforces Roberto Bolaño’s idea that “Coincidence obeys no laws and if it does we don’t know what they are.”


Illustrations by Lyle Railsback

The Dorset blue lobster paired perfectly with old-vine Sylvaner from André Ostertag (one of Alsace’s greatest wine poets). André farms 45-year old vines of Sylvaner with biodynamic practices, and this crisp dry white is a great match for seafood and it led me next to a showing at the Tate Britain, featuring works by Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, and several of their contemporaries.

To experience Freud’s works in person rather than just on the printed page is like the difference between phone sex and the real thing. I became transfixed, and after this visit I launched into a weeklong rabbit-hole adventure, reading all about how Freud lived and worked, absorbing minutiae such as the colors of paint he preferred, the most interesting of which was called “Cremnitz White”.

Lucian Freud, Man’s Head



Ostensibly named after Krems in Lower Austria where they mined the lead for this paint, Freud preferred this for his fleshy nude portraits, its opacity and vibrancy unlike any other white. No longer produced by Windsor & Newton due to it’s toxic lead content, when the UK threatened to ban it altogether, Freud launched a petition and personally stockpiled as much of it as he could find.

Lyle Railsback in W. Bill Cremnitz Linen


The details are not just the details.  The subtle tonality of W. Bill’s linen that we chose for my latest double-breasted suit echo the same attention to detail as Lucien Freud’s obsession with Cremnitz White. I love the weight of W. Bill’s 12-13 ounce linen, which still breathes in our New York summer, but has enough heft to drape beautifully and avoid the wrinkly mess than lighter linens are prone to.

Inspired by 1947 photos of Vittorio DeSica in Venice, we chose an off-white, almost Cremnitz linen that takes me instantly to the vibrant painterly strokes of Freud’s staggering masterpieces. Oh, and the cut is pretty amazing too.


Lyle Railsback is a wine expert, an illustrator, a sartorialist and a cosmopolitan of sorts. Please feel free to explore his work at  lylerailsback.com  and @lylerailsback


Summer Picks 

EAT: Dorset Lobster at Clarke’s Restaurant, 124 Kensington Church St, Kensington, London W8 4BH, UK

DRINK: Ostertag “Vieilles Vignes” Sylvaner (also available stateside through www.kermitlynch.com)

SEE: “All Too Human” at the Tate Britain through August 27th.

WEAR: Manolo Costa New York double-breasted suit from W. Bill 12-13 ounce linen.

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