Lap of Luxury: Italian menswear brand Isaia

- This week on the Lap of Luxury we visit Italian luxury menswear brand Isaia at its New York City flagship store on Madison Avenue to kick off our celebration of La Dolce Vita: the sweet life.

For its March La Dolce Vita Issue, the Robb Report is focusing on the artisans and craftsmen that create the culture of Italy and have been doing so for generations. That is where Isaia comes in.

David Arnold, senior vice president of publishing at the Robb Report, says Isaia is one of his personal favorites. The brand is known for suiting, but also has added an array of products in its casual line to become both very elegant and casual at the same time.

For Gianluca Isaia, Isaia's president, making a suit is an art. He says you need to be very creative and love what you do. That art of suit-making has been part of the Isaia brand since 1957, when Gianluca's grandfather started the company in Naples.  He set up shop in Casalnuova, the town of tailors.

That fine tailoring is an essential part of Isaia today. Gianluca says when the tailors in his factory are working on a jacket, they carry it around the factory as if they're holding a baby in their hands. Their work comes from their heart and soul.

At the heart and soul of Isaia: the fabrics. What makes the brand so unique? It creates its own fabrics. Gianluca says tailors design their own fabrics internally and then go to the mills to have them realized.

The Solo 8 fabrics are the top of the line and are high limited. Each fabric can produce just eight suits. Once those suits are made, the fabric is removed from inventory forever.

Starting price for a Solo 8 suit is $9,550. Isaia suits start at $3,295. Made-to-measure suits can run $15,000.

Gianluca's favorite suit, he says, is always the one he is going to make tomorrow.

Besides jackets and suits, Isaia also makes shirts and ties. A few years ago Isaia started a sportswear line, made with the finest materials.

Crocodile sneakers sell for $4,000. Made-to-measure top coats, also run $4,000, and were crowned the Best of the Best by the Robb Report in 2015.

Gianluca says details are the most important thing in making luxury and quality. He believes every man has to create his own rules to be elegant, and Isaia helps customers do that.

Among those customers are Will Smith, who wore Isaia to the "Concussion" premiere, Aaron Rodgers, who wore Isaia to the Oscars, and William H. Macy, who was in an Isaia tuxedo at the SAG Awards.

Last summer, Isaia opened a flagship store in Beverly Hills. In September, it opened up shop on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Those are the only two stores in the United States.

Gianluca says the stores aren't just places to sell clothes. He envisions them as a second home, where customers can feel comfortable, relax, and have a little fun. Because, he says having a little fun doesn't mean you're unprofessional!

Isaia, 819 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y.

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