Uman is making its U.S. debut exclusively at Barneys New York for fall.
The men’s tailored clothing collection, conceived and executed by former Brioni chief Umberto Angeloni, has been given prime positioning — a 300-square-foot shop has been installed right off the elevators of the company’s Madison Avenue flagship. The collection, which has limited distribution around the world, joins other luxury labels such as Kiton, Brioni, Isaia, Battistoni, Zegna, Oxxford and Canali on the store’s seventh floor.
Launched a year ago in Italy, Uman is a concept wardrobe targeted to the affluent intellectual man. For Angeloni, it is more than just an apparel collection, but a wardrobe that speaks to this man’s way of life, his passions and his social and ethical concerns. The silhouette was also designed for the modern man. Angeloni commissioned Alvanon, owners of the largest database of consumer body measurements in the world, to provide information on the ultimate silhouette. He then set out to create the “perform form,” one that defines and enhances today’s masculine body. Up until now, he said, measurements have been based on post-World War II body sizes.
Tom Kalenderian, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear for Barneys, acknowledged the concept of Uman is “deep,” but is confident that Angeloni’s pedigree in the men’s apparel industry and his personal sophistication will find a following in the U.S. “His perception is very philosophical,” he added. “We’re selling suits, but we’re also selling culture. He believes real people make the spirit of a brand.”
Angeloni said that while the collection is on one hand “very simple,” it is also highly complex. “It’s hand-tailored, made in Italy with a modern silhouette and exceptional value. But there’s more to it. It’s a philosophy that puts the man at the center of the process.”
When Angeloni shared the concept of Uman with him last June, Kalenderian said he was “immediately impressed and set out a plan to bring the product to Barneys.” Currently, the collection is sold in only three locations: Harrods in London, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Braun in Germany. For fall, it will be added to Tsum in Moscow as well as Barneys in San Francisco.
The shop, which was designed by Angeloni and his team, features a nearly bare mannequin that wears only a suit — no shirt or tie. The form was created especially for Uman’s new measurement system and Angeloni expects it to be “intriguing” to customers. The shop features re-created 17th-century tapestries as a backdrop — the linings of the suits are the same — and there are midcentury modern chairs and lamps, providing a “yin and yang of new and old,” Kalenderian said.
As far as the merchandise is concerned, suits, sport coats and overcoats are primarily blue, another symbol of “the perfect male uniform,” Kalenderian said.
He added: “Uman is a well-thought-through estimation of what Umberto Angeloni wants to offer to the men’s wear industry. It’s a beautiful, well-fitting suit that is full-canvas and hand-finished with great value.” Pure wool suits retail for $2,995 while wool-silk blends are $3,195. Wool sport coats are $2,495 while cashmere blazers are $3,150. Each person who buys a Uman garment is given a book on different iconic men’s wear pieces such as the Cubavera shirt or the golf jacket. The shop also features a copy of The Lexicon, a six-chapter definition and clarification of the Uman concept, written by Angeloni.
Since hitting the floor last weekend, Barneys has already sold two suits, giving Kalenderian confidence that it will be a success. On Sept. 7, during New York Fashion Week, the collection will be showcased in the store’s windows with an installation similar to that in Uman’s Milan showroom.
Although he declined to provide a projected volume figure, Kalenderian said Uman “complements the assortment we have. It’s a tight and focused package, but will be a meaningful addition to the floor.” If successful, he said the store will add it to other Barneys units in the future.
Kalenderian summed it up this way: “It’s clear and distinctive and will register with a certain guy. But at the end of the day, it’s the garments that will make the sale.”