When you first enter Domenico Vacca’s new showplace at 15 West 55th Street, which opens its doors to the public on Monday, April 18, you may wonder where the fabulous men’s clothes are: those beautifully hand-tailored pieces that make you feel just like a movie star (for example, Daniel Day-Lewis, who wore one of Vacca’s tuxedos on the Oscar red carpet).
Rest assured: they can be found in the back of the ground level (in a gorgeously conceived and decorated room) and hanging upstairs at this amazing, two-story 16,000-square-foot emporium. And, to be fair, the clothes are really just part of the whole Vacca equation.
The store, a major expansion from his former Fifth Avenue flagship, will also house Vacca’s first-ever eyewear line, a glorious array of accessories (many in his signature alligator skin), a new fragrance line for both genders, and pieces from Vacca’s new tableware collection. Not to mention, there’s an exquisite espresso bar (with the drinks being made by specially trained baristas utilizing Italy’s finest Rancillo machine), magnificently appointed grooming salons for men and women, and even a massage-manicure treatment room that can be used by either gender, all of which don’t even require you to look at even one piece of clothing. That’s right: anyone can simply step off the street and take advantage of these services.
However, there is one element of Vacca’s new store that does require you to do something else: pay a membership fee – in fact, $20,000 per year. Part of the store contains a private club (located in the rear of the second floor), which will be open after 5 p.m. five days a week, and where you (and three of your friends) can lounge in comfort, hang out on the exquisitely furnished, terrace, and drink and eat as much as you like (from coffee to Cristal) without ever receiving a bill. And during the month of your birthday, Vacca will even throw a party for you and 20 guests! (Ok, so maybe $20,000 isn’t so much after all?)
The club space will also be used for private events, including Vacca’s in-house runway shows. (In September, he will follow the lead of other women’s wear designers and have those clothes immediately ready for purchase – a practice he intends to follow with his men’s shows in 2017.) Oh, and last but not least, you should know that Vacca now owns the whole 10-story building, most of which are being used for short-term residences. (He has also purchased the nearby building at 19 West 55th for possible expansion.). As you can imagine, this is a project with a hefty eight-figure price tag.
So, to quote Marvin Gaye, what’s going on?
“For one thing, I have always wanted to be in the hospitality business, as well as fashion,” says Vacca. “But more importantly, about two years ago, I realized that the retail business was really changing. People could just shop online if they even want to shop at all, so they really need a reason to come to your store. I just didn’t want to do another typical flagship shop. But the funny thing is a client of mine showed me this building five times, and I said no five times. Then one day, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to not just display all of my collections, but create a whole new shopping experience. It’s taken almost a whole year to complete this, but I can’t wait for the doors to open.”