Tom Paolini’s grandfather worked as a textile cutter in New York’s Garment District, and his great-grandfather was a tailor in the Bronx.
But it wasn’t until he wore his first custom-made suit in late 2008 that Paolini fully appreciated the craftsmanship.
“It ignited something in me that turned into a fire,” Paolini said.
“There’s so much ‘fast fashion’ that you wear a few times and throw it away. That has its place in your wardrobe. But we are trying to provide a quality garment that has care put in it, made individually for you and not for the masses. Wools from the best mills, the stitching per square inch, hand-finished buttonholes, some even fully handmade — something that will last for years.”
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On Friday, Paolini will open Paolini Garment Co., a custom and tailored luxury menswear showroom, in a two-story building on the Country Club Plaza at 4725 Wyandotte St. It will specialize in suits, sport coats, shirts, tuxedos and overcoats.
An entry-level custom suit starts at $995 and can run to $5,000 or more for a handmade suit in a rare fabric.
But Paolini’s shop also will offer off-the-rack suits from about $450 to $695, as well as custom polo-style shirts (by fit, cut, fabric and design details) and custom shoes. It also will sell the AC78 clothing line, a collaboration with Aurélien Collin, a defender with Sporting Kansas City.
“There are definitely some trends that guys are interested in, but maybe they have a little trepidation about pulling it off themselves,” Paolini said.
The second floor of the building will be an event space for trunk shows, scotch and wine tastings, new product launches, fashion shows, private parties and charity events.
Paolini started a custom clothing company, the Style League, five years ago out of his Mission home. He later opened a Mission shop, seeing customers by appointment only. He closed that shop three weeks ago after signing a one-year lease for the Plaza spot. But he plans to stay on the Plaza long term.
“With Halls leaving the Plaza, there is a void in luxury and high-end men’s tailored clothing, and we would expect to fill some of that,” Paolini said. “But they are a great place, and I’m glad we still have them” at Crown Center.
Plaza stores opening for the holiday season include:
▪ Boulevard Brewing Co., selling a variety of Boulevard-themed products, opening Oct. 17 at 412 Nichols Road. The 1,500-square-foot space had formerly been the foyer of the Country Club Bank building and has been converted for retail.
▪ Red Dirt Shop, a Kansas City company offering limited-edition fashion and accessories made in partnership with artists around the world. Each product sold funds clean water access for someone in need. Red Dirt Shop will open its first storefront at 415 Nichols Road by mid-October.
Other Plaza updates
▪ Locally owned Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott, formerly on the south side of the Halls building, has moved to make way for the redevelopment of the building to Plaza 211.
Natasha’s reopened Thursday in the former Superlatives space at 320 Ward Parkway. The larger space will allow Natasha’s to carry even more desserts, pastries and packaged goods, and it has indoor seating for about a dozen people.
▪ Lawrence’s Phoenix Gallery plans to open at 4740 Pennsylvania Ave., just north of O’Dowd’s Little Dublin, by the end of the month. The gallery will offer works by local, regional and national artisans, including ceramics, blown glass, woodwork, textiles, jewelry and two-dimensional art.
Phoenix Gallery opened in Lawrence about 25 years ago. A new owner took over in mid-2010 and moved to an expanded Lawrence space in early 2011.
“We really feel like we have artwork for everyone,” said Susan Shea, director of the Phoenix Gallery. “We have a wonderful collection of artists, and it will be good to introduce them to another market. Kansas City has a very vibrant art community, so it made sense to open a gallery there.”
▪ Beauty Brands, a retail chain offering a full-service salon, spa and retail superstore under one roof, plans to remodel its store at 438 Ward Parkway this winter as well as expand into the former Kaplan’s Fabrics space next door at 430 Ward Parkway.