MILAN — Tom Ford fans will have to wait until next spring before they can slip into something from his eponymous men’s collection.

Construction permit delays in Manhattan coupled with a demanding blueprint have forced Ford to push back the opening of his highly touted luxury men’s emporium on Madison Avenue by months.

A spokeswoman for Tom Ford said the 9,600-square-foot store, originally slated to open in November, is now expected to bow in early spring 2007.

Unlike other store openings, however, the Tom Ford flagship is tightly integrated with the launch of his men’s wear brand. The New York shop is the exclusive retail outlet for the first year. As a result, the ready-to-wear, custom-made and accessories collections will roll out in the Madison Avenue shop for spring and fall 2007 instead of holiday 2006 as originally planned.

“We have completed demolition,” the spokeswoman said. “Due to the construction lead time necessary in order to obtain a high level of craftsmanship and to execute the project as designed, we’re facing a longer construction period than originally contemplated.

“We will be opening the store and launching the collection in early spring.”

Tom Ford and his business partner, Domenico De Sole, signed a long-term licensing agreement earlier this year with Ermenegildo Zegna for the production and distribution of the comprehensive line, which Ford said would offer a man everything he could want from “custom-made tennis shorts” to “hand-knitted socks.”

Following the first season, the brand will begin a limited distribution with top wholesale accounts for fall 2007 and be rolled out worldwide in 2008.

Other directly operated stores are expected to open in Milan, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles in the next three to four years. Ford told WWD he was scouting locations here in the city’s Golden Triangle.

Meanwhile, a Tom Ford showroom is set to open here on Via Borgonuovo in the first half of next year.

This story first appeared in the June 12, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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