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Like spats or wingtip collars, the valet stand feels like a relic from an earlier, more elegant age. A beautiful object, no doubt, but hardly the stuff of daily life in 2023.
At least that’s the impression I had until Arterton, a London-based retailer of fine garment accessories, offered a test drive of the Giorno valet stand from Nakata Hanger. Like the Japanese firm’s namesake product, the Giorno is a beautiful design object in its own right, made from European beechwood and anchored by a hanger piece with sculptural, contoured shoulders. So even if it were to prove an anachronism in my own home, it’d look good doing it.
Speaking as someone who finds the simplest of Ikea kits to be on par with solving a Rubik’s cube, I was relieved to discover that even I could assemble the Giorno in minutes. Once its steel fittings were in place, the stand reached just above my navel, with a felted catch-all tray at the top, the hanger directly below, a felted trouser bar under that, and an elevated shoe rack formed by the four wooden beams at its base.
Here’s where I should say that I work from home without a dress code to adhere to. But I enjoy throwing on a sport coat when I can and find any excuse to suit up. As part of a lifelong quest to avoid dry cleaning, I care for jackets after wear by leaving them to hang outside the closet overnight, followed by a brush in the morning—a ritual I also observe with trousers and leather shoes.
In the past, all these elements were scattered across the two-bedroom apartment I share with my family: worn jackets hung from a hanger hooked to the living room armoire, trousers taking up residence on towel hooks in the guest bathroom, and shoes idling in the hallway.
The Giorno gave me a home base for each, centralizing the garment care I’d already been doing. It also helped that I could now rest my jackets on conveniently located sculpted shoulders, rather than fishing the original hanger out of the closet, and securely fold my trousers over the felted bar that would maintain their crease and ensure they didn’t slip off in the middle of the night.
Nakata Hanger Giorno Valet Stand
Buy Now on Arteron: $616.23
I also discovered that the four brushes I regularly utilized for garment and shoe care—one for clothing, one for leather shoes, and two for suede—could settle on the stand’s base while still allowing room for a pair of shoes. No longer would I have to fish each from the upper reaches of my closet (which, incidentally, opened room for another pair of shoes). Last but certainly not least, the valet tray at the top finally gave my watches a designated bed at the end of the night, alongside any pens or Tide to Go sticks I’d stuck in my pockets.
And while I’ve mostly discussed the stand’s usefulness at the end of the day, the reverse is also true. The night before taking an early morning train into the city I’ll lay out my entire rig, from neckwear to footwear, on the stand and save myself from bumping around my closet in the pre-dawn darkness.
Perhaps I’d been guilty of romanticizing the valet stand too much. While I’d waxed on its symbolic appeal—something that Nakata’s elegantly crafted model has in spades—I’d missed its value as an everyday tool. One that can greatly simplify the routines of any clothes horse and improve the lives of his cohabitants by sparing them from sartorial clutter.