Haute Shopping: Menswear on Madison Avenue

The Canali Store
The Canali Store

Photo Credit: Andrew Wener/Madison Avenue BID

Madison Avenue has long been home to the greatest concentration of luxury retail stores in the city, a status unchanged by the migration of top brands to SoHo, the Meatpacking District, and the new World Trade Center shopping hubs. While Madison Avenue is known worldwide for its abundance of women’s designer labels, the gilded shopping stretch that runs from 55th to 86th streets has recently been welcoming a host of new menswear shops. “The last year has been a time of tremendous growth in the men’s marketplace on Madison Avenue,” says Matthew Bauer, president of the Madison Avenue BID (Business Improvement District), a trend that will continue in coming months with new openings and flagships for veteran retailers, among them Bottega Veneta and Tom Ford. Here’s Haute Living’s guide to shopping what’s hot and haute along the avenue.

Stop by Canali (625 Madison Ave.; canali.com) for suits and sportswear separates that are all about refined, low-key style, beloved by well-known fans of the label like Barack Obama. The single-breasted Kai jacket is a must for Manhattan men-about- town. Trendsters and classicists alike flock to Barneys (660 Madison Ave.; barneys.com; the Downtown store reopened at 101 West 17th Street earlier this year) for the latest, the edgiest, and the finest from top designers like Thom Browne, Saint Laurent, Vetements, Ann Demeulemeester, and Lanvin, and such exclusive-to-Barneys brands as Cifonelli, Fioroni, and Barba. Check out the sumptuous cashmere sweaters for fall from the store’s private label, Barneys New York. Berluti (677 Madison Ave.; berluti.com) first became known for its exclusive custom footwear, worn by Robert De Niro and the late Andy Warhol, among others. Antoine Arnault, who oversees the brand and is son of LVMH honcho b, has expanded it to include bespoke suiting and ready-to-wear.

Brioni (brioni.com), the Italian label that’s been worn for decades by such boldface names as Clark Gable, Leo DiCaprio, and Ansel Elgort, will open a new flagship at 680 Madison Avenue in the glamorously restored Carlton House. You’ll want to check out this season’s fresh gray palette for men’s suiting. Tom Ford (now at 845 Madison; tomford.com), the designer/film director whose suits are worn by Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling, Will Smith, and countless other Hollywood machers, will also debut a new emporium at No. 680. Brunello Cucinelli (683 Madison Ave.; brunellocucinelli.com) is the favorite go-to for high-end casual for city power players. Look for new deconstructed cuts, fabrics of the finest natural fibers in both ready-to-wear and athleisurewear, and palettes that focus on timeless neutrals. This season, beautifully executed patterns (pinstripe, houndstooth, glen plaid) are an important part of the collection.

The Berluti Store
The Berluti Store

Photo Credit: Berluti Madison Avenue BID/Berluti

At Hermès (691 Madison Ave.; hermes.com), designer Véronique Nichanian mixes neutrals with color (shades of brown with pink; grays with blue or aqua) and includes a selection of beautifully cut leather jackets in the fall line. While the Birkin may be the ultimate status accessory for women, an Hermès briefcase is high on the list of covetables for New York’s über-successful men. (JFK had one in black crocodile that he used throughout his presidency). Bottega Veneta (bottegaveneta.com) will open a large (24,000 square feet) flagship at 740 Madison in 2017, housing both men’s and women’s collections. Shoppers visiting the current store (at 650 Madison) will also find plenty of new Tomas Maier classics to crave, including long leather coats, cashmere and velvet suits, and a new pant silhouette. Whatever the collection, Loro Piana (748 Madison Ave.; loropiana.com) is renowned for its finer-than-fine fabrics, among them cloud-soft cashmeres and butter-smooth leathers. Few can do neutral better than Loro Piana, and this season you’ll find what the brand is calling “transversal” tones— camel, warm gianduia, taupe, and beige, accented with shots of color like pervinca blue, merlot red, and prune. The new pieces crafted in Plongé and grained Nabuk leathers, as well as in the brand’s famous Storm System fabric (where natural fibers are made waterproof and wind-resistant), demonstrate Loro Piana’s peerless ability to merge style with technical innovation and comfort.

Nearby is Giorgio Armani’s temple to modern power dressing (760 Madison Ave.; giorgioarmani.com). The iconic designer is always tweaking his winning formula of deconstructed cuts made with superluxe fabrics, which is no doubt why celebs like Russell Crowe remain steadfast clients. Among the maestro’s inspirations was the Beat-era personality William Burroughs, for a collection that included sharp silhouettes, ethnic textures, and a palette of deep blues and natural hues. For more than 80 years, Cesare Attolini (798 Madison Ave.; cesareattolini.com) has been a standard-bearer for the finest in Neapolitan tailoring. Founder Vincenzo Attolini first gained fame in 1930 with a then-revolutionary deconstructed jacket. Since that time the atelier’s flawless craftsmanship has attracted the world’s wealthiest— custom suits today begin at $6,000 and can quickly soar higher depending on the fabric. (Expect an eight-to ten-week turnaround.) You’ll also find smart ready-to-wear at his two-story flagship, located at 798 Madison Avenue.

John Lobb (800 Madison Ave.; johnlobb.com) began making bespoke boots and shoes more than 150 years ago and, over the decades, has counted such notables as Laurence Olivier, Frank Sinatra, and Calvin Klein as customers. (Lobb makes women’s shoes, too. Queen Victoria, Jacqueline Onassis, and Diana, Princess of Wales wore them.) Lobb’s bespoke craftsmanship is renowned world-wide—each pair of custom shoes requires an average of 50 hours’ work in the label’s Paris atelier. Corner-office denizens head to Zegna (823 Madison Ave.; zegnagroup .com) for fine-crafted suits made with the label’s specially designed fabrics that are favorites of globe-trotters around the world. Zegna’s High Performance wrinkle-proof wool, created in 1985, was updated for 2016 to be even more accommodating to clients who are al- ways hopping time zones and onto and off (usually private) jets. The Ralph Lauren flagship (867 Madison Ave.; flagships.ralphlauren.com), located in the landmark Beaux Arts Rhinelander mansion, houses the brand’s men’s collections—Purple Label, Black Label, RRL, and Polo Ralph Lauren—and pro- vides made-to-measure services, too. Isaia (819 Madison Ave.; isaia.it) is renowned for fine Neapolitan tailoring and made-to-measure suits beautifully crafted in Italy. The label also likes to experiment with vibrant plaids and colored tweed and suedes, which lend a spirited twist to its take on modern classics.