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 2)
100 South Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90048
Discriminating shoppers from Los Angeles' exclusive residential neighborhoods--Holmby Hills, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills--have discovered Robertson Boulevard, an unhurried, discreet and serene oasis of greenery that seems light-years away from the flash and glitter of Rodeo Drive. Scott Hill's maize-colored villa is cool and quiet, with warm European woods and creamy walls, Persian rugs and overstuffed velvet chairs. This is the relaxed gentleman's Southern California. The clothing collection partakes of this mood with oatmeal linen and taupe twill suits, cognac pebble-grain slip-ons, soft-collared shirting and washed corduroy blousons. The labels are elite European--Vestimenta, Loro Piana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Enrico Isaia, Kiton, Luigi Borrelli--as well as the Donna Karan and Calvin Klein couture collections. A very cultivated sense of style indeed.
500 Crescent Court, Suite 100, Dallas, Texas 75201
With its 1.25 million square feet of office space and 226-room hotel, the grand Crescent Court complex--known simply as The Crescent--in the Arts District area of downtown Dallas offers one of the most beautiful galleries of shops in the world, and the Stanley Korshak store is the jewel in its crown. Its men's department has the ambiance of a London men's club, all dark, polished mahogany walls and cabinetry, cherry wood herringbone floors, Oriental rugs and plush sofas. The shop's reputation rests on having the finest selection of designer clothing in the Southwest: Armani, Sulka, Versace, Ferre, Belvest, Canali and Kiton. Last year, the Italian Trade Commission honored the store with the U'omo Moda Award for the best specialty store in the United States.
234 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116
It is virtually impossible to overpraise Louis. It would be a great store anywhere. It happens to be in the original Boston Museum of Natural History building on Berkeley Street in the historic Back Bay, a block long and four floors high of the world's best clothing. The store also offers valet parking, Cafe Louis (presided over by master chef Michael Schlow), a hair salon and a women's department. Louis is all light and spaciousness: eggshell-tinted walls, pale hardwood floors and high ceilings, brass railings and gallery-style lighting. Here and there one finds the occasional Cognac-colored leather club chair. The shop areas within the store are meant to showcase the best of contemporary international styling: Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, Dolce & Gabbana and Vestimenta, Zegna, Anthony Tarassi, Industria, Dries van Noten, Romeo Gigli and Prada. Shirts by Lorenzini and Luigi Borrelli, shoes by Sutor Mantellassi, Paraboot, Kenneth Cole and others. There is also a "Louie" private-label collection of Neapolitan-styled suits and sports jackets in exceptionally refined fabrics, accompanied by shirts and ties in small antique patterns and sophisticated dusty tones. This is classic, confident, international clothing for the next generation of CEOs.
The Polo/Ralph Lauren Store
867 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10021
Only one name on the label here, that of the master of classic Anglo-American styling. This is decidedly the place to achieve that Duke of Windsor-at-Deauville attitude: windowpane linen and checked crepe suits, doeskin double-breasted blazers, cream-colored gabardine slacks and English-made spectator town shoes, not to mention the perfect oxford button-downs, yards of silk rep ties and shelves of pastel cashmere cable crewnecks. The new Purple Label Collection of very 1930s-styled suits are hand-tailored in England and have broad shoulders, a nipped waist and the important custom detailing. The coordinate dress shirts in the finest imported cottons have small cutaway collars and French cuffs for that real Mayfair/Anthony Eden look. All this is displayed in a setting plus anglais than any English country house could be, complete with ancestral portraits, walnut wainscoting, imposing staircase, the odd crystal chandelier and the overstuffed Edwardian sofa or two. Presumably it's possible to have a nice cuppa between fittings. For those who want to look active, there's the Polo Sport line, with its rubberized nylon sailing jackets, tank tops and cotton cargo pants.
430 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10022
Sulka is still celebrating its 100th anniversary, marked last fall, as a discerning venue here and in Europe for affluent international gentlemen. John Jacob Astor, Douglas Fairbanks, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gary Cooper have been among its devotees. Every item is the finest, from the store's famous jacquard-woven silk neckwear handmade in France to its meticulously tailored Italian, Swiss and English shirting and worsted suits of impeccable mid-Atlantic cut. Of particular interest, a decided benchmark of masculine elegance, is Sulka's range of gentlemen's intimate apparel, for which it is renowned: English silk brocade smoking jackets (priced at $1,500), silk pajamas in herringbone and chevron patterns ($450) and full-length cashmere and silk satin evening robes (from $1,500). This season, Sulka introduces a new line of luxury travel gear: handmade Italian leather weekend bags, carry-ons, suit bags and briefcases. Custom tailor on the premises.
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