When did Australian men become so stylish that the country is now home to two Tom Ford stores? Well, shop-in-shops to be official, but nonetheless, suiting wasn't big business five years ago, while at the turn of the millennium men were still stuck in the sartorial nonchalance of the nineties. Harrolds, Australia's bastion of good taste in menswear for a quarter of a century, has had a large hand in revolutionising the local industry, providing retail access to international brands otherwise unattainable and thus educating local men on the vast differences in quality. But far beyond this, the retailer - which boasts Sydney and Melbourne stores, both at over 1000sq metres - has elevated the shopping experience by making it a calm, gentlemanly pursuit, free of the chaos and disorder that so often beleaguers the larger department stores. In turn, men have quickly adapted to shopping being a leisure activity, rather than a necessity, and so it is that a year after opening within the Sydney store, Harrolds opens the door to a second Tom Ford shop-in-shop within its Melbourne store.
Tom Ford, of course, needs no introduction. As one of the world's most respected fashion designers with a CV that spans stints at Saint Laurent and Gucci, the latter which he revolutionised from staid Italian leathergoods house to the high fashion world's sexiest brand, Mr Ford launched his namesake label, beginning with menswear, in 2006. As he told this journalist in a prior interview: "I was having my suits made on Savile Row but it was challenging to get them to do anything different - cut a lapel extra wide or give my jacket shoulder a bit of a roll. I realised that there was a big gap in the men's market and decided to start my own menswear business." Attention to detail, indeed.
That same standard of quality is met by Mr Ford's local retail partner, Harrolds, alongside Harrods in London, Isetan in Tokyo and Bergdorf Gooman in New York, with the shop-in-shops designed by Mr Ford and his longtime architectural collaborator Bill Sofield. With this personal attention to detail, all shop fittings - cabinetry, carpentry and stone masonry - have been hand-crafted in Europe, with the company dispatching craftsmen to Australia to complete the installation. As they should. It's not every store that is finished with ebony and marble. And like Mr Ford's standalone stores int he northern hemisphere, Harrolds offers the full range of the designer's seasonal menswear collections: made-to-measure tailoring, ready-to-wear, leathergoods, shoes, accessories, eyewear and fragrance. Mr Ford's in-house master tailor, Antonio Blazevic, visits annually to personally fit Harrolds' clients.