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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 3)

Ultimo
114 East Oak Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312/787-0906)

Last fall marked the 25th anniversary of Chicago's premier designer showcase for men and women. Ultimo introduced the Midwest to such names as Armani, Ferre and Missoni, and today remains in the forefront of designer styling--not the glitz and flash, but the more quiet high style that comes from simplicity and quality. While today the store carries such diverse lines as Issey Miyake, Commes des Garcons, Yamamoto, Robert Freda and Dries van Noten, Ultimo has always leaned toward Italy (which accounts for about 70 percent of the menswear): a full representation of Zegna, Valentino, Gigli and Cerruti, as well as Armani and Ferre. Service is a key consideration here: 22 salespeople and 16 tailors ensure personal attention.

Wilkes Bashford
375 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California 94108
(415/986-4380)

Wilkes Bashford pioneered the upscale designer movement on the West Coast and continues to be the authority for advanced thinking on international polished taste and quality. On the seven floors and 18,000 square feet of selling space (five floors have complimentary bars, the seventh a salon for private shopping and dining), the key gentlemen's resources include the sumptuously tailored suits and sport coats by Brioni, Kiton, Ermenegildo Zegna, Richard Tyler and Dolce & Gabbana, plus the Japanese triumvirate of Issey Miyake, Matsuda and Yohji Yamamoto. Wonderful shoes from Testoni (Italy) and J.M. Weston (France), sportswear from Industria and handmade dress shirts from Luigi Borrelli. There is also Wilkessport, the sophisticated private-label casual sportswear. The sales staff is highly trained to provide world-class service.

Two Special Entries

The Alan Flusser Shop at Saks Fifth Avenue
611 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10022
(212/888-7100)

Edgar Pomeroy Ltd.
2985 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30305
(404/365-0405)

One hesitates to include these two fine shops only because they specialize in very refined, custom-tailored clothing. Both designers, in fact, have a penchant for very urbane suits with lots of drape and distinction. Pomeroy is perhaps the more dandyish and brash, Flusser the more concerned with soft construction and classic flair. But both are noted for their fine ready-to-wear collections of dress shirts (in the high-count 120s two-ply cottons), Italian and English woven silk neckwear and one-of-a-kind accessories. At any particular moment, it's possible to find at the Flusser Shop a wonderful selection of Swiss linen pocket handkerchiefs, a dozen or so beautifully hued Italian cashmere ties or a selection of exquisite French lisle hosiery. Pomeroy may be showing his latest collection of English silk braces, hand-embroidered velvet slippers or imported Macclesfield neckwear. Both designers seek out those unique, tasty, Old World items of clothing craftsmanship that are harder and harder to come by.

G. Bruce Boyer is the author of Eminently Suitable (W.W. Norton, 1990).


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