I'm still looking for a custom shirtmaker in LA, but in the meantime, I decided to buy a Barba shirt, as I heard they run slim. I was familiar with Ian because I had seen his auctions over the years on ebay, and he's a highly recommended seller here and AA. If you notice his auctions, they all invite potential buyers to visit his store to see his items, so I thought I'd give him a call to set up an appt. I arrive promptly, and after I introduce myself, he leads me over to his warehouse, which is two blocks away. The warehouse consists of two rooms, which I'll call the studio side and the storage side. As soon as the lights came on, my jaw just about hit the floor. The studio side houses his computer, measuring table, photography equipment, and mannequins, as well as about a dozen stacks of Borrelli shirt boxes that literally reach the ceiling. As anyone who's seen a Borrelli box can attest, they are really nice boxes...to see so many of them at once was nothing short of awe-inspiring. The storage side is essentially a naked room that consists of racks upon racks of high end clothes. It was like being a kid in a candy store. Slacks on one side, suits on the other, with sportcoats and shelves full of knitwear and ties in between. Attolini and Borrelli everywhere. Theworldsfinest is an apt name. I tell him I'm pretty much only in the market for a shirt, and he immediately starts unfolding neatly packed shirts for me to try on. I tried on a bunch of Barbas as well as Borrellis...all the while talking about clothes. His only reaction to my nitpicking the sleeve lengths is to immediately seek more shirts for me to try. He even lets me try on things I have no intention of buying, eg an "˜American' Borrelli v. an "˜Italian' Borrelli; or things he knows I can't afford, eg an Attolini suit. It was the most fun I've ever had in a clothing store. He also showed me some shoes that he's importing from Italy, that are supposedly comparable to Lobb. I can't remember the name, but he mentioned he might post here about them to get some more information about the maker. He did show me the shoe trees that they came with...they are very unique. They look to be made of cedar, but the forepart is completely hollowed out - they look like a work of modern art. It supposedly takes a day to make a pair of trees alone. He's also working on a deal to get some Finamore and Fray shirts in the near future. Ian's a really cool, laidback guy, never once pressuring me to buy anything or rushing me...and when it comes to clothes, I'm slow. We spent about two hours together, even though I was only expecting to stay for 20 minutes. The only thing he asked of me was to tell my friends, which is the only reason I decided to write this. I was very tempted to keep this a secret, but he deserves the recognition. To anyone in the LA area, or even if you're just visiting, I highly recommend that you take him up on his invitation to visit his store.
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11/2/04 at 5:49pm