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Better Late Than Never: Antonio Tincati

 Although new to New York, the Tincati flagship store hasn’t gone unnoticed. Its arrival was celebrated by more than 600 of the city’s most prominent, powerful and stylish guests.

Antonio Tincati, owner of the world-renowned men’s suit atelier that bears his name, is a man who lives by a strong code of quality and sophistication.  “Our philosophy is to dress a man well,” he said. “[The Tincati customer] is a man who is more than sophisticated. Good trousers, good shirt, good tie, good suit.”

Antonio’s father Peter opened the first family store in Milan in 1965, but having just come back from the war and seeing how much Milan had changed, Antonio had no interest in working for his father. As a favor, he agreed to help for one summer. It was during those two months that Antonio began to understand the importance and variation in clothing quality. At the prestigious university Antonio attended, he noticed his friends were shopping at other shops but not his family’s. He decided the only way to succeed would be to provide his customers with quality garments, so he built a store within his father’s shop, selling top Italian designers like Brioni and Kiton.

“Everyone wanted to buy,” Antonio said of his success, “I remember we [once] had to close the shop because it was impossible to serve everyone.”

When business grew, Antonio needed a place of his own. He was ready to sign a lease for the perfect space on the block of the Four Seasons Hotel on Via del Gesù in Milan when the owner of Brioni who also wanted the space to expand his own brand approached him.

“I thought about what may happen if I were to open with Brioni in front of me. I wouldn’t stand a chance,” he said.

Antonio agreed to give up the space in exchange for payment. Years later, Antonio partnered with Kiton, a brand known for their quality fabric. They opened a store on the same block, selling Kiton clothing.

With huge success in Milan, Kiton decided to open up a shop in New York, but not just any shop – a six-story, Renaissance-style landmark townhouse on 54th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues. With his experience and expertise, Antonio helped with the United States launch, partnering to build Kiton as a major competitor in the New York luxury apparel market.

After having a hand in such a successful brand, Antonio was ready to build his own empire. Two years after bringing Kiton to New York, he sold his shares in the company and moved back to Italy, where he decided to open a third store on the famed Via del Gesù, directly across from the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan. With Brioni on the same street to the left, and Kiton to the right, Antonio knew he had scored a prime location for Tincati. Branding all the clothes exclusively with the Tincati label, Antonio planned to raise the brand to the same caliber of success as Kiton and Brioni.

When you wait for a taxi in the front of the Four Seasons, you look into my [store] window,” he said. “I know that I paid a lot of money for that. It was a big decision.”

Not surprisingly to Antonio, the store was a huge success. He then decided it was time for Tincati to expand globally and New York was the next stop. In the heart of New York’s luxury fashion district on 63rd Street between Madison and Fifth avenues – a location not so different from his shop in Milan – is a breathtaking five-story townhouse, complete with a navy canopy bearing the Tincati name.

The Tincati townhouse is home to one of the leading men’s luxury stores in the world, offering elegant clothing and accessories for men, with suits at upwards of $11,000 and pieces constructed of the finest fabrics and quality, all bearing the Tincati label. With additional services such as an in-house tailor shop, that allows customers to choose their fit and fabric, the Tincati customer base continues to grow.

Although new to New York, the Tincati flagship store hasn’t gone unnoticed. Its arrival was celebrated by more than 600 of the city’s most prominent, powerful and stylish guests.  Much support came from close friend Nello Balan, owner of posh Upper East Side eatery Nello’s.

“It’s a very sincere friendship,” said Antonio of his relationship with Nello. “He sends me many customers.”

In addition to the fine diners, countless others understand the importance of a classic and refined ensemble like that of a Tincati suit. The always well-dressed Italian real estate man about town Ambassador Paolo Zampolli remembers his youth in Milan.

“I always wanted to wear Tincati,” he said. “His suits make me feel very special.”  For those fortunate enough to wear Tincati, they too understand that it is an honor.

As far as the future goes, Antonio plans to expand into foreign markets, putting his company on the map as an exclusive, international brand for those that recognize and appreciate the value of luxury and tradition. Currently, there are stores in Milan, Dubai and plans for new locations in China, Spain and other major U.S. cities, just to name a few.

At the helm of one of the leading men’s luxury brands in the world, Antonio remains confident that he will retain this title.

“I like the competition,” he said. At 66 years old, there is no stopping Antonio Tincati.

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New York February / March 2014
New York February / March 2014