Michael Bastian is aiming for the corporate market.
This story first appeared in the February 2, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The New York-based Bastian will expand beyond his designer collection and launch a range of classification suits, blazers, dress shirts and neckwear exclusively at Barneys New York in mid-February. The line is aimed for the workplace and will be priced 20 percent less than Bastian’s designer collection, which has been carried at Barneys stores since 2007.
“We’ve never attacked the classic suit business and we think there’s a great business opportunity there,” said Bastian, who also designs the Gant by Michael Bastian sportswear label for Sweden-based Gant.
Suits in the Barneys offering will retail for $1,495, blazers for $1,150, dress shirts for $265 and ties and bow ties for $165. The tailored clothing is made in Portugal from Italian wool, cotton or cotton-silk blends. Shirts are in Italian cotton with mother-of-pearl buttons and a modified point collar, while the ties are in silk, cotton or linen.
“I’ve been so happy with the results from the factories in Portugal that I’m also moving my production for tailored pieces in the designer collection there next season,” noted Bastian, who previously made the pieces in Italy.
Styles in the Barneys line this first season include solid navy, charcoal and pin-striped suits, all in two-button silhouettes, while blazers have more of a fashion attitude in plaids and three-button stances. Both the suits and blazers are slightly less fitted than the tailored pieces in the Michael Bastian designer collection, making it accessible to a broader audience — as does the lower pricing.
The collection will be distinguished with a blue-on-white cotton piqué label, versus the red-on-white cotton piqué label of the designer collection.
“It seemed natural to me that Michael Bastian should be outfitting his client in our stores 24/7 and the dress-up piece was all that was missing,” said Tom Kalenderian, general merchandise manager and executive vice president of men’s and Chelsea Passage at Barneys. “Michael has always had a strong base of tailoring in his sportswear ensemble. It was time to allow the clothing to emerge with authority.”
The new line will launch in Barneys doors in New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco, in addition to barneys.com.
Kalenderian originally brought the idea to Bastian last summer as a business category ripe for exploiting, as younger customers embraced tailored clothing for both the workplace and off-duty occasions.
“We’re seeing a whole new generation of guys who are approaching the suit in a more modern way — they’re treating it more as a fashion choice than as something they are forced to wear,” explained Bastian. “But it can’t be that anonymous baggy ‘going to work’ suit everyone remembers their father wearing.”