MILAN — A 10-foot taxidermy alligator named Ciro greets visitors at the entrance of Uman’s first retail outpost here on Via Gesù, aka Via dell Uomo (or “Men’s Street”).
“The brand is five years old. We have currently four wholesale accounts and this is our first store. That makes one unit per year,” said Umberto Angeloni, Uman’s soft-spoken founder, who is also chief executive officer of men’s wear powerhouse Caruso. “We are not in a rush. Uman is a long-term project.”
The 1,350-square-foot shop replaces Uman’s former showroom, with the tailors still working in the back.
Asked what motivated the opening, Angeloni said, “Because we need to interact with the customer directly. We are going through a very Darwinian period at the moment. In times of recession, the consumer makes [tough] choices. This leads to a natural selection of brands.”
Best known for a compact offering centered on a different men’s theme each season, ranging from safari to sailor, Uman is keen on delivering exclusive fabrics and silhouettes that transcend trends and seasons.
For spring, the starting point was a kimono jacket, which designer Pietro de Angelis developed into a range of sophisticated loungewear made from silk and pure cotton, including boxers, pajamas and home shirts.
Evening options come in the form of a silk jacquard robe layered with chrysanthemum embroideries, among others. According to Angeloni, it took one year to develop the fabric, which was inspired by the decorative techniques used in Japan in the Edo period.