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FrontRunners: Brocade Brigade

William Kissel

Liana Lee’s (212.588.9289) pillbox-sized men’s haberdashery on New York’s Lexington Avenue is stocked with shagreen cigar boxes, jeweled cuff links, handmade cotton dress shirts, and silk sleepwear, all reminiscent of a kinder, gentler day and age. This winter, the former television and film stylist delves even further into the past to a time when smartly dressed gentlemen wore dashing evening wear for entertaining at home. Lee’s new collection of one-of-a-kind silk brocade waistcoats and evening jackets, priced from $600 to $2,500, are tailor-made with covered buttons and full silk backs. Custom bow ties and cummerbunds can also be ordered.

“These are unusual fabrics that you won’t find in the traditional men’s market,” says the petite shopkeeper, who scours fabric houses in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and China for her elaborate and exclusive silks. Some of the more subtle fabrics have also found their way into Lee’s new limited edition women’s collection, including silk blouses with what Lee describes as “very 1930s- and 1940s-style exaggerated sleeves.”

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Photo by John Pangilinan
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