A few days before his first New York flagship opened in The Plaza hotel this spring, Italian bespoke men’s wear maker Angelo Galasso was in the hotel’s Palm Court sipping an espresso and explaining one of his trademark design innovations: a shirt cuff cutout that frees one’s showpiece watch from behind any troublesome fabric.
“Spend one million, buy a watch, and then hide it inside the cuff — it’s not fair,” he says with a smile. “Buy a Ferrari, and [leave] the Ferrari all the time in the garage. It doesn’t make sense.…If a man buys a Ferrari, it’s because [he] wants to come out, find a woman…and take advantage of the Ferrari. Show to everybody.”
Words like ostentatious and unapologetic lose all meaning in the presence of Galasso, a native of Southern Italy’s Francavilla Fontana whose last label was a joint venture called Billionaire Italian Couture. Although he also operates stores in Milan, London and Moscow, he may not seem, at first blush, the most obvious choice for an in-house men’s shop at the storied hotel’s tony Edwardian Room. But it takes less than an hour with Galasso — as he reads aloud e-mails from random cab drivers and steals the occasional sidelong appreciation of one of The Plaza’s more attractive female guests — to realize that he’s pretty comfortable anywhere. Besides, those design flourishes, which include double-button collars and intricately stitched back pockets, make a strange sort of sense in the post-Gilded Age environs of The Plaza. As do the store’s prices, with suits starting at $4,590, jeans ranging from $796 to $9,289, and shoes at $1,194 to $15,923.
“My supplier, they call me knife man because I’m very careful for the details, so they watch me, you know,” he says. “Because I love the details. Details are the only things special for men that make a difference. It’s easy, no?”