While They Don't Come Cheap, Custom-Fit Shirts Can Be a Bargain
G. Bruce Boyer
From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, Nov/Dec 97
(continued from page 2)
Most of Ascot Chang's regulars--about 75 percent of them--prefer button cuffs, which gives them the opportunity to show off the elegant double-thick shell pearl buttons (single thickness if you prefer, of course).
The firm would like a month or so to complete an order (four-shirt minimum). Prices for cotton shirts start at $90 and end at around $500, silk at $130 to $450, tuxedo shirts from $210 to $800.
Geneva Custom Shirts Ltd.
38 West 32nd Street, New York 10001 (212)967-7460
Mike Athanasatos is the amiable and understanding proprietor of Geneva. Nothing is too much trouble for him to make you look as you feel you ought. It is a family business--son Eugene, now at Pace University, will become the business manager upon graduation--that treats you like family.
"Mr. Mike" not only meticulously handcrafts every shirt right there in the shop--you can watch your shirt moving from artisan to artisan as it is finished--but also provides complete laundry and repair service. Even this aspect deserves notice. The shirts are gently washed, hung to drip dry (a dryer would be unthinkable!), then hand-ironed. Customers from all over the country, even his European ones, regularly send their Geneva shirts back to this atelier to be laundered.
The complete custom operation begins with precise fitting and fabric selection from the finest that Italy, England, France and Switzerland have to offer. Particularly prized here is the rare Zendaline cotton, considered the best available: a luxurious 2X2 180s (priced at $225). Fabrics are laundered before they are sewn for a more precise fitting. The first shirt is ready for a fitting in one week to 10 days. Corrections noted, the order (minimum of six first time around) is completed in three weeks.
All the signs of the true art are here: superior Swiss linings, Italian pearl buttons, 22 stitches per inch of single-needle sewing, monograms hand-embroidered. It's no secret that Geneva makes shirts for not a few of the most prestigious retailers and private tailors in the country, as well as a number of high-wattage gentlemen from Paul Newman and Colin Powell to former President Ronald Reagan, Tom Brokaw and basketball superstar Patrick Ewing (who has a 44-inch sleeve measurement). We refrain from revealing the name of the chap who stopped by a while ago and ordered 350 shirts.
Business shirts start at $170, evening shirts at $195.
903 Madison Avenue, New York 10021 (212)861-7700
"We try to keep to the Old World traditions here and look for lifelong relationships," says the erudite Alex Kabbaz. Which means that fathers still bring their sons around to introduce them to the craftsmanship of a handmade shirt.
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