February 14, 2009

Saks lands pricey suits amid recession

New York's Saks Fifth Avenue is opening a long-sought, ultra-pricey Kiton menswear boutique just as a recession has taken hold Wall Street, observers say.

The retailer announced it will on Monday unveil what its calls the crown jewel of its flagship store's men's department: a 2,000-square-foot boutique devoted to the Italian luxury label, complete with Carrara marble, The New York Times reported.

The store for years has been trying to expand its inventory from Kiton, which offers hand-sewn suits for $7,000 off the rack and $21,000 for custom-made versions. Saks has finally landed the suits in larger quantities, but now faces recessionary times in the financial sector, prompting to some question if enough well-heeled customers remain for the boutique to succeed, the Times said.

You have to be over a certain income level to even consider the Kiton line, said Simon Collins, dean of fashion at Parsons the New School for Design. Once you put it on, you can't go back.

In this particular recession, where people are threatened just by the news of unemployment around them, (the wealthy) have to be careful how they behave and how they look, added Walter Loeb, president a retail consultancy Loeb Associates.