By  on March 16, 2010

THE Bergdorf Goodman men's store has an exclusive for a new, more modern and lower-priced collection from Kiton.

The line, CIPA 1960, which is named for Kiton chairman Ciro Paone and the year Kiton started offering tailored clothing, is showcased in a shop on the third floor of the Fifth Avenue store. It is part of an effort to lure reluctant male shoppers.

“The clothing brands were hit the worst in the recession,” said Margaret Spaniolo, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s. “Men last year just said, ‘We’re not shopping.’ So we thought about what nice surprises we could offer them when they finally came back.”

The collection is based on vintage fabrics that have been reinvented. The model is more modern, with either a peak or notch lapel, higher armholes and a slimmer silhouette. “It’s a sexier fit,” said Brooks Thomas, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of men’s clothings and accessories.

A regular Kiton suit retails for around $8,000, and a CIPA 1960 suit is $5,500. “But they’re made exactly the same,” Spaniolo said. “It’s just that the fabrics are different.” A regular Kiton suit may have 14-micron cashmere, while a CIPA 1960 is in wool or linen. “They wanted to modernize the brand and address the need for sharper pricing,” she added. “And having a gentler price point was important.”

The line also includes dress shirts and $250 neckwear. The handmade shirts retail for $495. Regular Kiton dress shirts start at $495 and reach $1,000.

The store is not doing marketing for the line but expects to develop some for fall. “It’s like a soft opening,” Thomas said.

The collection will be part of Bergdorf’s Meet the Masters customer event on April 9 and 10, when Kiton representatives will be in attendance.

Spaniolo said Kiton isn’t the only brand that has responded to the demand for lower price points. “That was one of our strategic goals for fall,” she said. “We worked with all our manufacturers to get the suit prices down.”

Almost all of the vendors responded. “Zegna suits are $2,200, and we told them we needed $1,900,” Thomas said. “And Brioni provided us with some suits for $4,900 instead of $5,500. There’s a psychological barrier of over $2,000 or $5,000, but all our partners worked closely with us,” he added.

Spaniolo said business in tailored clothing is experiencing “a major upturn. Sportswear is up, too, but clothing took the biggest hit,” she said. “It’s not like it was at its peak, but it’s nice to see men are shopping again. It’s encouraging.”

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