John Vizzone

Barneys New York is heightening its focus on the Millennial shopper and has tapped Cifonelli creative director John Vizzone to create a more-moderately priced collection of tailored clothing targeted to this younger customer.

The collection, John Vizzone x Barneys New York, is exclusive to Barneys for at least the next year, said Vizzone, who served as creative director for Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label collection for more than 25 years before signing on with Cifonelli in 2014.

Tom Kalenderian, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear for Barneys, said Vizzone and the retailer’s merchandising team were brainstorming about how best to attract a younger customer where they saw a void in the assortment. “It was the missing link in our business,” he said.

The younger guy will come to Barneys for his limited-edition sneakers, jewelry or other items, but with the average suit selling for more than $3,000 and shirts in the high $300 range and above, he often shops elsewhere for his more-tailored pieces, Kalenderian said.

So Vizzone agreed to create a line of Italian-made suits, sport coats and trousers that will retail for $995, $695 and $250 to $265, respectively. The collection will also include woven shirts made in Spain for $195, ties made in Italy for $95, Spanish-made merino knitwear for $245, cut-and-sewn cotton polos for $145 and cloth outerwear that ranges from $395 for a vest to $795 for a parka.

“It’s not so much about price,” Kalenderian said, “but more about what’s relevant to the Millennials.”

Vizzone said the initial collection will feature one model of suit that he described as “late Sixties Savile Row but with a more-contemporary feeling.” It will have a two-button coat with a slim lapel, strong shoulder and side vent that will be paired with plain-front trousers.

The shirts will all feature stretch and will have a narrow fit, he said, and the ties will be trim.

“I found that when spending time in stores, there was something missing for Millennials,” Vizzone said. “So I wanted to design something sexy and modern that guys can wear and not look like a fashion victim. I believe they want something contemporary and cool that looks elegant and modern.”

Kalenderian said the collection will be merchandised near Boglioli on the retailer’s floors. And he also said Barneys is shaking up the distribution model with the John Vizzone collection. Instead of carrying it in its flagships in New York, Beverly Hills and Chicago, the line will launch in Boston, San Francisco and Las Vegas initially and then be rolled out to Seattle, Glendale, Calif., and Brooklyn, N.Y., for spring.

The locations were chosen after speaking in-depth with the management at those stores and determining that they were most in need of a line like this. “We’re trying something unconventional,” Kalenderian said.

Vizzone said the collection is self-funded and he will continue to serve as creative director of Cifonelli.

And if successful, he hopes to eventually expand distribution to other retailers. “For the first year at least it’ll be exclusive to Barneys — they’ve been great. But I think we’ll eventually branch out,” he said.

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