Kiton to open women-centric store on Madison Avenue – WWD
Kiton turns its attention to women’s clothing.
The Naples-based luxury tailoring company, founded by Ciro Paone in 1956, will open a store on Madison Avenue in New York this summer that will be exclusively dedicated to activewear for women and men.
The store, which will be located on 62nd Street, will be two stories and 1,700 square feet and will feature 70% women’s merchandise and 30% men’s casual wear. This is intended to complement the company’s six-story townhouse on E. 54th Street which will continue to carry the full line of merchandise for both genders.
Antonio De Matteis, chief executive of Kiton Group and nephew of Paone, said the idea started during the pandemic when the company moved and expanded its stores in Dubai, Milan and Rome to better showcase the women’s collection. “We moved these three stores because we needed more square meters to make room for women,” he said.
And the change pays off.
De Matteis said that since the women’s stores opened, women’s sales have increased by 5% to 35% in Milan, zero to 50% in Rome and zero to 30% in Dubai.
“It’s the same idea we have for New York,” he said.
In this store, the women’s line will be marketed on the ground floor, while the sportswear for men will be housed on the second, smaller level. The bespoke men’s collection will only be sold at Kiton Townhouse. The company offers a full range of women’s tailored and casual wear as well as accessories and all categories are doing well, De Matteis said.
“We’ve seen the results in Dubai, Rome and Milan that show showing women better is good for business,” he said. “We want to show that to the American market, which is why we wanted to take it a step further on Madison Avenue.” The store is expected to open in June or July, he said.
Prior to the pandemic, womenswear accounted for just 5% of Kiton’s overall volume, but to date, it now accounts for 20% of total sales. De Matteis said the goal is for this category to reach 50% of sales within five years. “We believe we can reach that number after seeing the reaction.”
In addition to the 60 stores it operates in 25 countries around the world, the brand also has a strong wholesale business with high-end retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Mitchells Stores, he said. Asia, especially Japan and Korea, is an important market for the company, as was Russia before the start of the war in Ukraine, he said.
He said the business as a whole is “doing very well”, with sales currently at 38% before 2021. “The situation in Russia has limited our growth, but it is a very good sign for us and we are expect a strong 2022.”
Looking ahead, De Matteis said the majority of the company’s current store fleet only sells menswear, so Kiton is working to move other units to house men and women together. . “We’ll be doing London and Paris soon,” he said.
Paone, who died at the end of 2021, was considered one of the most charismatic entrepreneurs on the Italian fashion scene. The company he founded brought the Neapolitan sartorial message to the fore around the world while emphasizing Italian craftsmanship and culture.
A fifth-generation member of a family of Italian fabric merchants, Paone created a small production of bespoke pieces in 1956 under the CiPa label, which combined his initials. The company was eventually renamed Kiton in 1968, taking inspiration from the name of the tunic worn in ancient Greece. Since then, the private family label has grown to offer outerwear, suits, shirts, knitwear and ties as well as footwear and accessories. In 2005, she also introduced women’s clothing. De Matteis has been CEO since 2007.
Today, Kiton employs more than 750 people worldwide and operates five production sites, including a knitwear factory in Fidenza. In 2010, it acquired a majority stake in the textile factory in Biella, Italy, from Carlo Barbera, a well-known high-end yarn manufacturer, for 3.3 million euros. And in 2013, it acquired Palazzo Ferre in Milan, the former headquarters of Gianfranco Ferre, to serve as its headquarters.