In today's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica braves the Fifth Avenue tourist throngs to get a look at Massimo Dutti, the latest European chain getting its feet wet in Manhattan before the inevitable rollout through America's shopping malls.
He manages to leave out a significant detail or two, mainly the fact that the store does, in fact, carry women's apparel as well as men's. Actually, the majority of the store is devoted to women's wear. He also buries the not unimportant point that Massimo Dutti is the slightly more sophisticated sibling to fast fashion phenomenon Zara.
Anyway, our shopper credits the store with filling a presumed gap between casual and dressy clothes for young men not quite ready for serious suit shopping —businesswear for beginners, so to speak. We aren't entirely sure that this is its intended direction. it seemed to us more like cut-rate Brunello Cucinelli or Ermenegildo Zegna. A (relatively) affordable version of refined Italian menswear is not necessarily a bad thing, even if it's by way of Spain and a host of Eastern European factories. Success is in the execution, however, which apparently isn't totally consistent,
But for every spot-on jacket or sweater, there were one or more items that seem designed for a less discerning customer. Take the froggy-green moto-style jacket ($368), or any of the denim, which felt glazed and cheap ($89.50).
Well, sometimes you get what you pay for. Will Massimo Dutti be a success bringing a fast-fashion point of view to a more elegant mode of dressing in America? We will probably only find out after it makes the move beyond Fifth Avenue, where the sidewalks are clogged with international tourists.