NEW YORK — Boston is getting a taste of Naples.
Borrelli, the high-end Neapolitan men’s wear line, will open its fourth U.S. boutique in Beantown on Aug. 14 as its domestic business continues to grow. The store, located at 73 Newbury Street, the city’s premier shopping corridor, comes after a two-year wait for the company, best known for its hand-stitched shirts.
“We wanted to get into Boston for a few years,” said Giuseppe de Corato, U.S. president of retail operations, noting the brand’s strong performance at area wholesalers such as Louis Boston. “We just weren’t finding the right space.”
Steps from the Ritz-Carlton and two blocks from the tony Boston Common, the new Borrelli boutique, at 1,200 square feet, will be a little larger than the company’s doors in New York, Palm Beach and San Francisco. It will stock the brand’s full line of handmade shirts, seven-pleat ties, luxe outerwear, accessories and clothing, as well as Luxury Vintage, its line of more-casual sportswear. The store will also offer made-to-measure services for both shirts and clothing. Made-to-measure services account for 25 percent of the company’s sales.
The Boston door is the newest chapter in Borrelli’s expansion plan, which calls for 10 additional stores in North and South America within five years, the next likely landing in Las Vegas. “We’re a small company, so we have to grow slowly,” explained de Corato, noting that existing store sales have jumped 30 percent each year. “We’re ready to expand but not more than one or two stores a year.”
Slow growth is part of the brand’s DNA. Manufactured by elderly Neapolitan women in their homes, Borrelli’s shirts are known for their hand-tailoring and long production times. It is said the shirts have to be vigorously washed before being shipped because they are covered in cigarette ash and oils from the women’s hands, and that the garments smell like food. Perhaps romantic lore, but the company encourages such musing. Each shirt is signed by the donna that made it.
The brand has 50 wholesale accounts in the U.S. Its stand-alone stores will offer more of the Royal Collection, which consists of high-end sea island cotton shirts worn by the Neapolitan royal family, as well as a higher percentage of garments cut in a slimmer, Italian fit. Borrelli makes a roomier silhouette for many of its domestic wholesale accounts.
The company also operates six other boutiques worldwide and is planning to open doors in Tokyo, Dubai and London by 2009.
Borrelli shirts retail from $390 to $650; ties for $195; and off-the-rack suits from $3,300.