Paul Stuart comes to CityCenterDC, helmed by designer Ralph Auriemma.
Ralph Auriemma describes the Phineas Cole and Paul Stuart collections as best suited for the “well-traveled, well-appointed gentleman.”
Paul Stuart is a clothier that has done what very few have managed: stayed under the radar while keeping both its brand integrity and its sales up. The neo-traditional, storied label opens in CityCenterDC this year, with almost 10,000 square feet of men’s and women’s tailored, classic clothing and accessories.
“At Paul Stuart, we’ve always been about maintaining the highest standard of quality and service and a certain level of sophistication,” says design director Ralph Auriemma, who took over design responsibilities for Paul Stuart last year after having served as a designer for Phineas Cole, a slightly hipper offshoot brand. While there are two brands under the umbrella, Auriemma sees them as two sides of the same coin. “Phineas Cole and Paul Stuart both reflect the time-honored tradition of handcrafted, classic menswear. Phineas Cole is certainly more aggressively styled, but it is conceived and executed as a collection with a distinctive old-world-meets-modern-times point of view,” he explains. “We tend to keep Paul Stuart more focused on updated yet classic silhouettes, fabric selection, and myriad other details—all with a decidedly modern twist.”
An elegant formal look from the Phineas Cole collection.
The inspiration for both the Paul Stuart and Phineas Cole men’s collections bears in mind a well-traveled, well-appointed gentleman—a concept that Auriemma is clear to point out has always been their way, with a resurgence and renewed interest nationwide in gentlemanly pursuits and fashion. “For us, [elegance] never went away,” he muses. “Our customer has always been focused on a refined, Anglo-American approach. We like to say that ‘knowledge is style,’” he continues. “I think the more informed we can help our customer become, the more likely he is to be even more comfortable in expressing his personal style.”
For spring this means, according to Auriemma, “what the gentleman traveler would have worn in the 1930s, in Cap d’Antibes: a lot of blues, suede, linen, and paisley, with a focus on knitwear. Both brands represent a luxe, urbane take on business dressing, with a distinct Paul Stuart spin of bolder patterns, brighter colors, and textured weaves.”
Auriemma is inspired by vintage clothing of the 1930s, complemented by modern touches.
Auriemma’s inspiration derives from his “extensive vintage clothing archives, period photos, and a lot of fabric research,” which all come together in a contemporary space designed by Charles Sparks + Company, the firm behind the brand’s two Chicago outposts. “I think the general sentiment in DC is that CityCenter is something of a game changer,” he says. “More to the point, it affords us an opportunity to present Paul Stuart to a city that understands and embraces the nuances associated with the idea of ‘dressing up.’
“It’s a perfect stepping-off point for Paul Stuart,” he continues. “Paul Stuart customers understand that they can indulge their whimsical side on a daily basis, and Washingtonians know that being well-dressed doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.” He adds, “I like the notion of setting free the inner dandy.” 906 I St. NW, 202-754-8866