Just in time for holiday shopping, a new luxury menswear store has opened in Katonah. Italian suits made of luxurious fabrics, designer jeans, sweaters and ties are now offered by Rick Fortuna, a 30-year importer of merchandise from Italy.
"We're truly the only store in the area selling suits and jackets—it's mostly sportswear," said Fortuna, a 16-year Pound Ridge resident who is a 60 percent partner in the shop.
When asked if that wasn't an indication of a more-sportswear-all-the-time trend, he replied: Don't bet on it.
"I am shocked at how many people are coming in," he said of the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. "I've had parents in with their college-aged sons, buying sport coats and suits. Plus, one suit for $400 and two suits for $700 is a good value."
Fortuna said they are able to offer Italian suits made under the Bresciani label at 40 to 50 percent discounts because they eliminate the middle man. In some of the larger department stores or designer boutiques the customer pays more for the same quality clothing to cover overhead costs including marketing and advertising budgets.
Italy Direct is located at 284 Katonah Avenue, in the Katonah Shopping Plaza, the former home of Jaymark Jewelers. Lively jazz plays in the narrow shop, lined with suits on one side and a glass case displaying ties and dress shirts priced at three for $100.
The shop also offers casual sweaters made of a cashmere/merino wool blend and a cashmere/silk blend and Green Coast, a stylish line of nautical clothing including wash and wear sweaters and jackets with zip-off sleeves.
Fortuna said the two-button suits, made with a high-end fabric that has a high yarn count according to industry standards, fits all shapes and sizes well.
"We're batting a thousand—we have a very good-fitting model," he said."It's a misnomer that an Italian suit only fits someone like me," he said of his lean 6' 2" frame.
Fortuna said he's happy to be working in Katonah, close to his home in Pound Ridge, where he lives with his wife, color consultant Peggy Fortuna. The couple has three daughters, one is a junior at Fox Lane, the second is a reading specialist and the third a college student at Hobart and William Smith College.
He originally planned to open as a "pop-up" shop for the holiday season, but said he's probably going to stay, given a steady flow of sales since his opening earlier this month. He's also busy importing and selling clothing wholesale to shops around the region.
"I like saying, Italy is almost broke, let's support it," he quipped.
Italy Direct is open 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.