BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | In the window of Tiziano Zorzan’s Bleecker St. boutique a mannequin sports an orange silk dress with a skirt that moves gently in an artificial breeze. Inside, soft jazz music plays in the warmly lit shop. A silver cart with a bottle of wine sits by the dressing rooms.
“We like to share an experience with our customers,” Zorzan said.
The Milan native currently has three boutiques in the city. There’s the 380 Bleecker St. location — described as his “home base” — between Perry and Charles Sts.; a spot at 69 Eighth Ave., between 13th and 14th Sts.; and one at 829 Washington St., in the Meatpacking District. Each location reflects its surroundings: Bleecker St. is quieter while the Washington St. boutique is bit more buzzing given the foot traffic from the neighboring High Line.
But the ethos at each location is the same. Namely, staff treat each customer like a guest visiting their home, with care, respect and honesty. When a customer steps into one of Zorzan’s boutiques, it should feel as if she is perusing garments in a friend’s closet.
The store’s layout is designed to reflect this welcoming, homey vibe, as well. Inside the boutique, clothing is hung on racks spaced out around the floor’s perimeter — again, giving the casual feeling of looking through a friend’s closet.
The spacing also works to showcase the high-end fabrics used to create each piece. The material Zorzan uses to create his dresses, blouses, trousers, bags and shoes are sourced from the top 20 Italian fabric producers. The silks — chiffon, organza, Georgette and Jacquard — come from Lake Como, the silk capital the country. The leather comes from France. The wool and cashmere are from the city of Biele, Italy. The shoes are made in Le Marche, the country’s most renowned artisanal shoemaking region.
Just like the customers that step into the boutiques, each one of Zorzan’s pieces is unique. The designer only creates between 14 and 20 pieces of each item.
When someone enters the boutique, she is shown the collection and given explanations about the pieces. A glass of Italian wine is offered as she looks at the fine garments. As a customer tries them on, Zorzan will offer thoughts on whether a color accentuates her skin tone or eye color, or whether the cut of a dress is overpowering or empowering. To him, clothing should both feel and look elegant, accentuating the wearer’s inner and outer beauty.
“You can be an accountant,” Zorzan said. “You can be a stylist. You can be a fashion designer. You can be a businessman or whatever.
“But you can do it with style.”