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Interesting visit to Venanzi

TheFoo

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I stopped at Venanzi during lunch and spent some time talking to the proprietor, Eugene Venanzi. I thought they had a lot of beautiful things, particularly their cashmere ties. The taste level seems a bit higher than at other high-end Manhattan men's stores. Eugene seemed like a nice man--but maybe a little too eager to 'teach' me. I was surprised to learn and hear a few things:

1. They sell RTW suits manufactured in Italy, but they also create bespoke suits entirely in-house (including trousers), with the exception of buttonholes. They do not sell MTM. From what I could tell, it was true bespoke. Eugene discussed other New York bespoke tailors and seemed to be generally cynical, although I can't remember exactly who he did or didn't like.

2. Eugene did not believe that the sleeves of my double-breasted suit were shirt-set and insisted that the shoulder was padded. He categorized my suit as Roman in style, not Neapolitan. He also seemed to think the extra fabric between the shoulder and chest was a mistake.

3. He was more familiar with Rubinacci as a RTW retailer than as a bespoke operation.

4. Apparently, Oxxford no longer handstitches lapels.

5. He believes the Sicilians are the most talented tailors in Italy--more so than the Neapolitans.

I don't think he was necessarily right about everything, but he seemed very well-versed and welcome to conversation. I don't know why I started this thread. Just bored.

Thoughts?
 

Manton

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The tailor making suits upstairs is Mike Chen, a journeyman Manhattan tailor of many years standing who has never had his own shop. He used to work with Shattuck sometimes (some of my stuff is partially sewn by him) and does fantastic and refined needlework. His Venanzi suit is more traditional "bespoke", well made, but too lean and clean for me (and too padded).

V's ties and squares are great and a decent price.
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by edmorel
My thoughts are that Venanzi will be out of business before year end. They do have very nice stuff though.

Why? Just the economy? People have been saing that since he launced in 2005, and he's still there.
 

voxsartoria

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Originally Posted by mafoofan
I stopped at Venanzi during lunch and spent some time talking to the proprietor, Eugene Venanzi. I thought they had a lot of beautiful things, particularly their cashmere ties.

Didn't they host Manton's book signing?

Originally Posted by mafoofan
2. Eugene did not believe that the sleeves of my double-breasted suit were shirt-set and insisted that the shoulder was padded. He categorized my suit as Roman in style, not Neapolitan. He also seemed to think the extra fabric between the shoulder and chest was a mistake.



Originally Posted by mafoofan
4. Apparently, Oxxford no longer handstitches lapels.

Do you mean he said that they no longer hand pad the lapels? Seems like a startling claim.

Originally Posted by mafoofan
He believes the Sicilians are the most talented tailors in Italy--more so than the Neapolitans.

Aren't M. Alden's secret tailors Sicilian?

Originally Posted by mafoofan
I don't think he was necessarily right about everything, but he seemed very well-versed and welcome to conversation. I don't know why I started this thread. Just bored.

Thoughts?


I have found that many shopkeepers and tailors are the worst source of accurate industry gossip. One of the last standing bespoke tailors in Boston sometimes says things to me that are so outlandishly wrong I wonder if he's pulling my leg.

But I don't think so.


- B
 

TheFoo

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Originally Posted by edmorel
My thoughts are that Venanzi will be out of business before year end. They do have very nice stuff though.

I don't know about that. If you believe Eugene, a significant portion of their business is in bespoke tailoring, so a lack of visible store traffic doesn't mean much.

Originally Posted by Manton
The tailor making suits upstairs is Mike Chen, a journeyman Manhattan tailor of many years standing who has never had his own shop. He used to work with Shattuck sometimes (some of my stuff is partially sewn by him) and does fantastic and refined needlework. His Venanzi suit is more traditional "bespoke", well made, but too lean and clean for me (and too padded).

The shoulder line is very straight, although the padding appeared minimal to me. The needlework did seem very fine, but not quite as fine as Rubinacci's to my eye
.

Originally Posted by Manton
V's ties and squares are great and a decent price.

I bought a very nice royal blue cashmere and silk square for $75--positively cheap when you look at what they charge at Jay Kos or Bergdorf.
 

lizmasc

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He's probably going to be around for a long time, and it's funny how some people are dead set in their opinion, you'd think you being the onwer of your clothes would know better than him what you're wearing
 

edmorel

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Originally Posted by Manton
Why? Just the economy? You have been saing that since he launced in 2005, and he's still there.

I have been a chicken little with that store. My thoughts are that it offers very little, if anything, that cannot be had elsewhere. It is in a "weird" location, the most people I've seen on that street is when the A&F flagship line snakes up that way. The "no sales" policy (has that changed?), makes very little sense in retail and even less sense in this environment. Tiffany and LV can get away with that, I don't think Venanzi can. I don't know the economics of the store and they may have a great lease deal/low overhead but they do not seem to be doing gangbusters business in that local.
 

haganah

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Originally Posted by Manton
Why? Just the economy? People have been saing that since he launced in 2005, and he's still there.
When I walked in, I had 3 or 4 women helping me look at items. I was the only one buying in there. I liked my experience, but I don't understand how they survive.
 

edmorel

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Originally Posted by mafoofan
I don't know about that. If you believe Euguene, a significant portion of their business is in bespoke tailoring, so a lack of visible store traffic doesn't mean much.


I bought a very nice royal blue cashmere and silk square for $75--positively cheap when you look at what they charge at Jay Kos or Bergdorf.



Wasn't their original bespoke head a guy from Brooks and he abruptly quit, with rumors that the business just wasn't there?

I hope that square is not solid. If it is, please dispense of it immediately. Give it to Manton, he is fond of solid squares.
 

TheFoo

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Originally Posted by voxsartoria
Do you mean he said that they no longer hand pad the lapels? Seems like a startling claim.

Right. A guy who works with Eugene used to sell Oxxford at his own stores and claimed to have inside information to that effect.

Originally Posted by voxsartoria
Aren't M. Alden's secret tailors Sicilian?

I think so. Will Sicily be the Naples of 2009 for the iGent?

Originally Posted by voxsartoria
I have found that many shopkeepers and tailors are the worst source of accurate industry gossip. One of the last standing bespoke tailors in Boston sometimes says things to me that are so outlandishly wrong I wonder if he's pulling my leg.

True. They know the right words and the right names, but 20% of what they say always seems conspicuously incorrect.
 

Manton

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I think the bulk of their business comes from a relatively small number of customers who buy a lot of merch. If they are disproportionatly Wall Street or real estate guys, then, yeah, Gene could be in a lot of trouble. But I honestly have no idea who the customers are.
 

voxsartoria

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Originally Posted by mafoofan
Right. A guy who works with Eugene used to sell Oxxford at his own stores and claimed to have inside information to that effect.

I find this hard to believe...mostly because I don't see Oxxford being innovative in that sense, and it still seems to me that their marketing is built around how Oxxford is made rather than how it makes you look.

I suppose its possible, however.

Originally Posted by mafoofan
I think so. Will Sicily be the Naples of 2009 for the iGent?

A logical place for the last stand of the old ways.



Originally Posted by mafoofan
True. They know the right words and the right names, but 20% of what they say always seems conspicuously incorrect.

Exactly. It's like listening to minstrels from the middle ages.


- B
 

rssmsvc

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Originally Posted by mafoofan
4. Apparently, Oxxford no longer handstitches lapels.

5. He believes the Sicilians are the most talented tailors in Italy--more so than the Neapolitans.

I don't think he was necessarily right about everything, but he seemed very well-versed and welcome to conversation. I don't know why I started this thread. Just bored.

Thoughts?


#4: How would he know ?
#5: There is some North-South rivalry , Isaia had some strange lines on their site about how good their
tailors and named the other side as poor tailors. It was odd first time I read that in the normal text.

I have a few of their ties, nice but not even close to my Hobers.
 

whnay.

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I think they have really great stuff in RTW, a well edited selection that may be able to be pieced together in NYC but is not found in one store. Gene did strike me as a lecturer (if not a "know it all") but haven't we all grown used to that in the clothing business?

The bespoke looks well made from the samples that were in production. They have several Wall St CEO in there customer ranks and some notable hedge funds guys (Gene talked at length to me about his clientele which I found a bit garish). $5k a pop for suits.
 

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