NEW YORK — Paul Stuart, the Madison Avenue men’s store known for strict adherence to tradition and resistance to trends, is about to loosen up.
This week the retailer will introduce a relatively fashion-forward label, and company executives say the slim, modern Phineas Cole—the first new brand in Paul Stuart’s 69-year history—may eventually occupy a store of its own.
“The brand is a vehicle for the branding of Paul Stuart, but Phineas Cole also offers the potential for the selective rollout of future freestanding stores,” said Sandy Neiman, Paul Stuart’s director of merchandising, who came aboard two years ago as a consultant.
Based on the fictitious “errant nephew” of Paul Stuart, Phineas Cole is aimed at a younger, more contemporary man drawn to bold patterns and a slim silhouette.
According to Neiman, the initial collection of suits, sportswear, shirts and ties will appeal to well-educated, well-groomed men in their thirties who are comfortable mixing sartorial metaphors.
“Phineas Cole is geared to the younger man who already has style and knows how to dress, but wants to take his sartorial knowledge to the next level,” said Paul Stuart president Clifford Grodd. “He wants to trade up.”
Unlike classic Paul Stuart, Phineas’s shape is sleek and lean. Suit trousers sit lower on the hips, and they have clean lines thanks to on-seam pockets and the absence of belt loops. Neckties are narrow and bottle-shaped, while dress shirts have higher armholes, Phineas’s signature copper-colored gussets, and sewn-on labels printed with whimsical statements like “No sartorial cowardice” and “It is not a crime to be well-dressed.”
Custom-inspired suits and shirts will be numbered and available only in limited runs of 20. Once an item is sold out, Phineas Cole will not reproduce it. Retail prices range from $1,384 to $2,384 for suits, $228 to $275 for dress shirts, and $125 to $165 for neckwear.
An official launch party is set for Oct. 23, to be held in the new Phineas Cole section of the Madison Avenue flagship, which is housed under a campaign-style tent on the second floor of the store. Hosted by comedian and former Daily Show with Jon Stewart correspondent Mo Rocca, the fête is expected to attract a younger, edgier crowd than Paul Stuart is accustomed to.
The new line represents a marked departure for the seasoned retailer, which has been reluctant to stray too far from its clubby New York roots, and the company has embarked on a series of marketing initiatives to communicate its evolution to the younger demographic.
Since Neiman’s appointment two years ago he has helped create an Internet department, hiring two creative Web mangers and luring a Web merchant from Bergdorf Goodman. In addition to revamping Paul Stuart’s Web site, the new team has designed a separate Phineas Cole sub-site where the new line can be purchased; it is scheduled to go live this week. Phineas will also have his own cheeky blog, offering whimsical style tips and a forum for men to discuss their sartorial dressing needs.
The company is also in the beginning phases of a Phineas Internet advertising campaign, which Neiman said will likely appear in the lifestyle sections of financial Web sites of publications like Forbes and The Wall Street Journal. “The Phineas customer is selective in what he’s reading and the Internet is a great place to speak to this guy,” said Neiman.
Additional branding strategies include the launch of a fragrance collection for both the Paul Stuart and Phineas Cole labels sometime next year, as well as the hard launch of a new women’s collection next spring. The company recently hired women’s designers away from Ralph Lauren and St. John to help expand Paul Stuart’s women’s line.
“This is really the enhancement, the extension and the evolution of Paul Stuart,” said Neiman.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye