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Via Gesù: Men’s Wear Mecca

A large number of top labels are planting their flag on the street.

MILAN — Via Gesù is increasingly coming onto the scene as Milan’s most exclusive men’s wear retail hub, with a large number of top labels planting their flag on the street.

A few steps away from tony shopping street Via Montenapoleone, Via Gesù has long been home to Gianni Versace’s palazzo and, since 1993, to the five-star Four Seasons Hotel in a former 15th-century convent — whose affluent and dapper guests may be seen as potential customers for men’s wear fashion brands.

Brioni will officially inaugurate its sprawling flagship on Saturday on the street, which already counts boutiques by such brands as Kiton, Zilli, Doriani cashmere, Tincati and Barba Napoli; exclusive footwear labels Silvano Lattanzi and Barrett, and tailor Tindaro De Luca, as well as Uman’s atelier. Doucal’s will also officially open on Via Gesù on Monday, with a store concept by Florentine architect Paolo Giachi marked by warm Boston brick red walls juxtaposed with the pale wood and stone of the pavement, in a cocoonlike space, where the exclusive handmade footwear is displayed among vintage blue velvet armchairs, an antique framed mirror and a brass-enameled chandelier.

“The attention to men’s wear has grown tremendously,” said Umberto Angeloni, chairman, chief executive officer and majority shareholder of Raffaele Caruso SpA, who has plans to open a Caruso unit in Milan on Via Gesù in January. “Milan has always been the world capital of men’s fashion and for this reason it deserves a dedicated location,” Angeloni added, defining the street as a “meeting point where the most evolved, high-end fashion brands are present: designer brands, labels, multibrands, tailors…” The executive said he would like to dub Via Gesù “the street of men’s style.” This could be “a denomination to use in promotional material of all brands housed there, an address not to be missed for curious men who enjoy dressing up.”

Kiton unveiled its newly acquired 47,000-square-foot palazzo in January on Milan’s Via Pontaccio, which had housed the Gianfranco Ferré label for 14 years and where the Naples-based firm plans to open a boutique. However, ceo Antonio De Matteis said the existing unit on Via Gesù, renovated and expanded two years ago, will not close and will actually “always remain a point of reference. Kiton has from the first moment believed in that street.” The Via Gesù store was Kiton’s first in the world and opened in September 2001. De Matteis said Via Gesù perfectly fits the Kiton customer. “It’s close to the center but it is more reserved, so that our customer feels more at ease in buying on Via Gesù.”

Stefano Ricci is also expected to open a store on the street next year and, according to sources, Rubinacci is eyeing this prime location.