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Inside Men's Fashion House Kiton, Home of the $9,000 Suit

In this week's Lap of Luxury, we visit Italian fashion brand Kiton. Never heard of it? When it comes to men's bespoke shirts and suits, Kiton is the best of the best plus one. In fact, that's the brand's motto. As the president of Kiton USA, Antonio Paone says in Italian: Il meglio del meglio piu uno. Kiton was founded in the 1950s in Naples, Italy, as a fabric merchant. In the 1960s, Antonio's uncle, Ciro Paone, transformed the brand into a tailoring business. Five generations later, Kiton has grown enormously. A $40 million flagship store is located on 54th Street in New York City. More than 700 tailors work for the brand. But quality fabrics and fine suiting are still the focus. Paone says you'll often see 500 tailors working by hand in the Kiton factory, but you'll never see a machine. Every Kiton suit is cut by hand, one by one, as suits were cut 50 years ago. Paone says the quality has not changed. The Robb Report agrees. David Arnold, senior vice president at Robb Report, says that nobody surpasses Kiton in terms of menswear. In the June Best of the Best issue of the magazine, Kiton was awarded best suit for its handmade quality and attention to detail. But that quality and attention will cost you. A basic bespoke suit at Kiton starts at $9,000. It's 100 percent wool, 200 grams, 14 micron. A 100 percent cashmere blue summer weight suit will also run about $9,000. The top level Vicuna fabric, 200 grams, will run $60,000. Paone says that material is truly the best of the best plus one. If it sounds outrageously expensive, he suggests coming in, taking a jacket and trying it on. Paone says when customers walk around in Kiton suits, and take their time to really feel the fabrics, they understand the incredible quality. Let's not forget about the custom shirts. They're also entirely made by hand. Customers can choose every detail: the color, buttons, threads, style and monogram. They start at $500 and run up to $1,200 for Sea Island cotton. The fabrics are all the best cottons, all Italian. In fact the only thing at Kiton that isn't Italian is the name. Paone says Kiton comes from "chitone," which is a Greek name for the fine linen tunics the Ancient Greek people used to wear to formal parties. --ALISON MORRIS

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