Paul Stuart has a secret.Tucked away behind the scenes on the third floor of its Madison Avenue flagship, 23 tailors quietly produce ultra-luxurious robes and sleepwear for men and women.Up until now, the collection has been available only in Paul Stuart’s own stores, but on Monday, the company will begin selling it wholesale. Paul Stuart has taken a booth at the Curve New York lingerie and swim show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and will bring its Made on Madison collection for men and women to a wider audience.This is just one of the many moves made by Paulette Garafalo,who was brought in as chief executive officer in the middle of 2016. The men’s wear veteran has spearheaded a renovation project of the 60,000-square-foot flagship, updated silhouettes and hired Jarret Kerman, former vice president and commercial director for the Americas for Brooks Brothers, as senior vice president of strategic growth initiatives to oversee the wholesale launch.Garafalo said that just before she joined, the company had quietly eliminated its robe and loungewear business. But she immediately rehired the tailors, headed by master robemaker Florinda Ahumada, and got back into the business that had established a loyal customer base over many decades.[caption id="attachment_1202587646" align="aligncenter" width="600"] A women's robe from Paul Stuart.[/caption]“What do we do that nobody else does,” Garafalo asked. “We make robes, pajamas and loungewear in-house, and we’ve been selling a lot of them in our stores and on the web. We sell them so quickly, we can’t keep track.”At Curve, women’s robes in bright patterns and colors will be the primary offering, but men’s products will be included as well. Most are made of silk, but cashmere, wool, linen and cotton will also be available.They’re not cheap: the women’s robes average $595 retail, with cotton versions about $100 less and cashmere selling for $1,295 and up. Men’s robes are marginally more expensive.Garafalo knows that the prices may put some stores off, but believes the robes are different enough to justify the price. They’re all made by hand and feature unique piping and trim. And because Paul Stuart is primarily a men’s wear retailer, it has expertise in tailored clothing manufacturing so the robes all have set-in sleeves. Additionally, products can be customized for each retailer.[caption id="attachment_1202587663" align="aligncenter" width="600"] A variety of robe patterns will be offered at the Curve show.[/caption]Garafalo hopes that if the wholesale attempt is successful, it will help bolster the company’s business. She said sales in December were “terrible,” although November was up in the double-digits and January was strong. The renovation project did not produce the expected bump in business, nor did the company’s enhanced digital presence.“In classic men’s and women’s wear at our price points, it’s a challenge,” she said. “But we’re not going to give up trying. We know it’s hard to break into the wholesale market but we’re going to cast a very wide net and see where the opportunities are.”She said Paul Stuart hopes to begin wholesaling its shoes in May and is also contemplating bringing its Phineas Cole younger-skewed men’s collection to other retailers. “But it’s a very crowded niche, and brick-and-mortar is severely challenged right now,” she said. “Things haven’t leveled out yet, so we’re not ready to leverage our resources to try to hit a moving target.”Paul Stuart operates two stores in Chicago and one in Washington, D.C., in addition to its New York flagship. There are also more than 100 in-store Paul Stuart shops in Japan, as well as two flagships in Aoyama and Ginza in Tokyo.Mitsui & Co., the company’s longtime Japanese licensee, purchased the business from the founding family at the end of 2012.
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.