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Dressing to the Nines

Despite the Malling of the Local Haberdasher, High-Quality Men's Specialty Shops Still Thrive
G. Bruce Boyer
From the Print Edition:
Matt Dillon, Spring 96

(continued from page 1)

Bergdorf Goodman Men
745 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10022
(212/339-3342)

A simply beautiful store--neoclassical on the first and second floors with marbled rotunda; sleek and contemporary on the third floor with its lacquered and glass boutiques. Bergdorf Goodman offers the highest quality selections and personal attention: shirts and ties by Charvet, Turnbull & Asser and Ike Behar; very stylish collections of classic Italian-tailored clothing by Antonio Fusco, Mariano Rubinacci, Luciano Barbera and Kiton; the Oxxford collection of superb American-made suits and sports jackets; private-label suits and sports jackets exquisitely custom-tailored by Domenico Spano; sportswear by Joseph Abboud; cashmere sweaters from Gucci; the complete line of Penhaligon toiletries; and exclusive treasures like English luggage, hats and braces. Not to mention a wonderfully appointed small restaurant tucked away on the third floor, which offers perfect lunches and a quiet respite.

Bijan Designer For Men
699 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10022
(212/758-7500)

It is doubtful there is a more expensive men's store in the world. Suits at this writing were priced from $3,950 to $6,000 ($7,500 for a three-piece in English worsted cashmere). "Well," says general manager Alan Katzman, "our customers are accustomed to the best." Indeed, Bijan's international clientele includes not a few heads of state and other celebrities who are very touchy about their image. The ambiance here is California-Mediterranean: all mushroom-toned carpeting and beige-and-white walls, huge antique pots of lush green plants, white-and-gold provincial clothes cabinets, with the occasional large bronze statue and oversized cream suede side chair. And impeccable personal service, like tailoring done in an hour if necessary. Tailoring is classic Italian, handcrafted using the most luxurious fabrics to be had: suits and sports jackets in Donegal-styled cashmere tweed, buttery soft gabardines, crisp but airy linens and Super 150s tropical worsteds, as well as nifty little items like silk trench coats, hand-sewn crocodile slip-ons and featherweight shearling coats.

Brioni
57 East 57th Street, New York, New York 10022
(212/376-5777)

Often credited with creating the best in modern men's fashion--superbly designed ready-to-wear garments with all the luxury and handwork of custom-made clothing--Brioni is celebrating its 50th anniversary with this new store in Manhattan. Its blond art moderne display cases and shelves are a veritable cornucopia of delectable tailoring and haberdashery. The world's finest cashmere plays a considerable part here: heathery argyle hosiery and crewneck sweaters ($125 and $1,200, respectively), a deftly lightweight cashmere riding coat with bright paisley lining (also done in buttery suede or superfine cotton) and the most luxurious cashmere polo-collared sweater shirt in soft pastels. Business shirts in the finest Italian cottons (priced from $300) are available in a tasteful variety of collar styles. Suits and sport jackets in classic trim silhouette in Super worsteds, featherweight flannels, linen and silk-wool blends are priced from $2,500 (particularly attractive are a range of beautiful cashmere blazers in lush colorations of pale yellow, hunter green, black, navy and rich red).

Alfred Dunhill
450 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10022
(212/753-9292)

Alfred Dunhill's family was in the carriage accessory business when he opened his saddlery in London in 1893. With the advent of the motor car, Alfred Dunhill began supplying accessories and clothing to motorists. In 1907 he added a tobacco shop, and by the 1920s the Alfred Dunhill collection of quality items included lighters, wristwatches and writing instruments--each of which has become a classic of its kind, prized and collected. The firm has been granted the patronage of the British Royal Household. Our concern here is with the full range of menswear introduced in the early 1970s. There are suits with all the serious details of English tailoring, pure cotton dress shirts of impeccable cut and the firm's exclusive silk neckwear. There is also a full range of knitwear, belts and hosiery. The New York store also has the advantage of a custom tailoring department governed by Avery Lucas, one of the most stylish gentlemen we know.

Peter Elliot
1070 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10028
(212/570-2300)

This is one of those small, eclectic shops, European preppy in styling and character, that perfectly reflects its owner's taste. Peter (all his customers seem to become friends) offers whatever he discovers in the way of the unusual and colorful. Last fall he found a woman from an island off the coast of Quebec to knit handsome striped Shetland hose in rich colors of yellow, crimson, hunter green and royal blue. At the moment he's interested in linen button-down shirts in smashing primary colors by Luigi Borrelli (priced at $200); spring-weight cashmere sports jackets hand-tailored in Italy by Isaia in beautiful shades of vanilla, creamy yellow and tobacco brown (matching trousers sold separately); jewel-toned chenille sweaters; Viyella yellow canvas short shooting coats made in England and unique silk knit ties with Art Deco designs. Not to mention the woven elastic belts from France, the Pantherella hosiery from Britain, the brushed cotton plaid sports shirts from Italy, a wonderful selection of enameled cuff links, and suede travel slippers that fit in their own zip pouch. Peter will also be opening a women's shop by the end of the spring.


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