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Harrison James

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by tgfny, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. tgfny

    tgfny Well-Known Member

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    In the late '90's there was a fun men's shop on 54th St in Manhattan called Harrison James. It lasted around 2 yrs. Who was behind it and how did it have such a short lifespan? There was also a young African American who worked there and was a designer. He was originally from Georgia. Does anyone know his name?
     
  2. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    I believe you're thinking of Avery Lucas. A true gentleman, with great taste, and a wealth of knowledge. He is one of only two people I have ever met who had a complete set of all the Apparel Arts issues from the 1930s. Talk about envy. Avery worked at a lot of places in Manhattan, including St. Laurie and Dormeuil. I can't remember who was behind Harrsion James, but others certainly will. As to its short lifespan, the most likely explanation is that they were selling decent but not spectacular or unique goods at much too high a price, with much too much overhead, to last very long.
     
  3. Mark Seitelman

    Mark Seitelman Well-Known Member

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    My hearsay information is that it was opened by the former manager of the late Bijan on Fifth Ave. (The Beverly Hills Bijan is still going strong.) He had backing from some major Bijan customers.

    The store, Harrison James, was named after his children.

    Some very talented people worked there. E.g., Robert Gillotte who became bespoke manager at Turnbull. Also, tailor Phillip Ferrante who became Flusser's tailor at Saks. Mr. Ferrante stayed at Saks and is the head of alterations. If you buy a suit there insist that he fit you. He's a great tailor, and he still makes some suits for some private customers.

    I assume that it died for lack of lack of enough business to carry the enormous overhead of a townhouse.

    I believe that the owner has his own tailoring business in Fiorvanti Building called Tailoring by Allan.
     
  4. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Well-Known Member

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  5. lisapop

    lisapop Well-Known Member

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    Alan Katzman was at least one of the people running HJ, which was named after his two sons.  AK now runs a high-end "custom" clothing firm on 57th St.  Last time I was there, suits started at around $5,000.  
    Grayson
     
  6. tgfny

    tgfny Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. It was Avery Lucas. I knew Rob well when he was at T&A. Went to Oxxford then Brioni. Where's he now?
     
  7. lisapop

    lisapop Well-Known Member

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    I heard Avery Lucas now owns a wines and spirits business, but I had spoken with him not too, too long when he was working at Barry Bricken. He and his wife made shirts out of their home in Westchester, however I never had the chance to visit with him. We spoke about various tailors around NY. Nice guy.
    Grayson
     
  8. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Well-Known Member

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    I too want to know where Rob Gillotte is. We met years ago at The tailoring shop of John Reyle. At that time he was working with Calvin Klein as a consultant. We would get together and chat all the time. He used to send me customers when he was at Turnbull. I saw Avery a few months ago. He was helping a guy who had a women's wear business to develop a men's tailored sportswear business. I am not sure where they are at with it. I don't think his wife, adriana has been in front of a sewing machine in a long time. No one returns a bottle of Vodka for shrinkage. I met them years ago when they took over the Onyx shirt business on West 37th st. from Jerry Drotman. Jerry recently passed away. He was still making a few shirts a week from his spare bedroom in Plantation, Florida for a few select customers. The Harrison James business always seemed like a financial disaster from the start. I don't want to know how much money was lost in that venture. Carl www.cego.com
     
  9. lisapop

    lisapop Well-Known Member

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    The HJ failure paled in comparison to the Louis Boston stint on 57th St some years ago (Anyone remember that?). Bad location, location, location, among other factors.
    Grayson
     
  10. tgfny

    tgfny Well-Known Member

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    The Harrison James business always seemed like a financial disaster from the start. I don't want to know how much money was lost in that venture.
    The HJ failure paled in comparison to the Louis Boston stint on 57th St some years ago (Anyone remember that?). Â Bad location, location, location, among other factors. Grayson
    Wasn't it like on 57th and 8th or some other location in Jersey? Great place for a car dealership, not so great for a highend retailer.
     
  11. lisapop

    lisapop Well-Known Member

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    Opposite direction: LB was situated on 57th St. off of Lex, which is an area known for lots of cheesy luggage shops and lowrung boutiques.
    Grayson
     
  12. lisapop

    lisapop Well-Known Member

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    Biggest retail debacle on 57th St might have been the much- ballyhooed French-based Galeries Lafayette store, which had been adjacent to Tiffany, now replaced, ironically, by Niketown, a far cry. Although, judging from the prices of Nike's sneakers, maybe not such a far cry after all.
    Grayson
     
  13. cuffthis

    cuffthis Well-Known Member

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    I wonder which lost more money, Harrison James or Dormeuil custom tailor (62nd St?)
     
  14. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    67th, actually. Not to be pedantic. [​IMG] I'll bet HJ did. Much bigger store, larger staff, bigger overhead.
     
  15. cuffthis

    cuffthis Well-Known Member

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    But it seems people actually shopped at HJ. All of my NYC friends went to Dormeuil, said how outrageously priced things in the townhouse were, and didn't buy anything. And these guys are big purchasers.
     
  16. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Well-Known Member

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    It's difficult to find the common thread in the failures of LB, Sulka, and Harrison James, especially if you're not in the business.

    HJ and Sulka were highly priced "house brand" stores. Sulka, unlike HJ, had an international and established reputation. LB, at that time carried many unknown English labels (Sexton, Wells of Mayfair shirts-little name recognition), again at high prices. It was very large and had a large staff. So why could Louis make it in Boston, in a very high-rent district, but fail so quickly in NYC. Simply more competition? But note too that Zegna, widely known and extensively advertised everywhere, closed the store close to Bergdorf. Did it just move?

    Maybe just the high rent overhead was the cause (but does Bergdorf own or rent the men's store location?). Maybe competition? Four Seasons Hotel, about 3 minutes walk from LB, seems to be doing fine at Park & 57th, despite being east of the park.
     
  17. tgfny

    tgfny Well-Known Member

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    I bet Holland and Holland topped 'em all. Have heard some crazy numbers about their worldwide losses when they were in full expansion mode.
     
  18. lisapop

    lisapop Well-Known Member

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    The ill-fated Dormeuil shop charged way too much for Edward Green shoes and their "bespoke tailor", Timothy Everest, left much to be desired.  After you get past that, they basically were just an expensive cloth store.
    Grayson
     
  19. tgfny

    tgfny Well-Known Member

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  20. lisapop

    lisapop Well-Known Member

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    Problem with Holland & Holland is they are a gun purveyor, and they tried, in vain, to appeal to those NYers who, while not into shooting themselves, might want to look the part: All hat, no cattle, as they say in Texas. The authenticity of much of their apparel was lacking. I'll never forget speaking with Edward Sexton's son, who ran the "bespoke" clothing department at H&H and after telling me about the great heritage of H&H bespoke, confided in me that everything was actually made in Brooklyn, NY, by Martin Greenfield. I wondered then if Holland & Holland might have referred to the Holland Tunnel.
    Grayson
     

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