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Italian Luxury Brand Isaia Opens First Canadian Storefront in Toronto with Plans for a Second in Vancouver: Interview with CEO Gianluca Isaia 

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Italian luxury menswear brand Isaia has opened its first standalone Canadian store in Toronto’s Yorkville area. In an in-person interview, CEO Gianluca Isaia told Retail Insider that the brand is looking to also open a store in Vancouver. 

The Toronto flagship opened in a unique heritage building at 77 Yorkville Avenue in November. An upper level spanning more than 1,500 square feet includes rooms housing the brand’s range of ready-to-wear, made-to-measure clothing, leather goods, accessories and footwear as well as a tailor shop. The lower level includes a social space resembling a bar spanning about 800 square feet called the Vesuvius Lounge with windows facing onto Bellair Street. 

ISAIA Toronto, image taken from Yorkville Avenue (Image: Daniel Green)
ISAIA Toronto upper level (Image: Daniel Green)
Gianluca Isaia

The Yorkville Avenue side of the building was built in 1867 and was originally the house of John Daniels, a constable for the village of Yorkville in the mid 1800s. A contemporary addition provides a juxtaposition in architectural styles while also expanding the space substantially from the size of the original residence.

Isaia replaced women’s fashion retailer Pink Tartan which occupied 77 Yorkville Avenue for about a decade prior to its closure last year. Before that, antique retailer The Paisley Shop operated in the space. Hanna Struever of California-based Retail Portfolio Solutions negotiated the lease deal on behalf of Isaia. The Savills Toronto Retail Team under the direction of Jordan Karp listed the space.

In an interview, CEO Gianluca Isaia said that he would like to open a second Canadian Isaia store in Vancouver, noting the strength of the market. Similar to Toronto, the brand would seek out a unique retail space ideally with heritage elements and other unique design features — globally, many of Isaia’s stores are showstoppers such as a location in San Francisco in the city’s only building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

ISAIA Toronto, Bellair Street-facing windows (Image: Daniel Green)
ISAIA Toronto, Vesuvius Lounge (Image: Daniel Green)

The standalone corporate stores are meant to complement Isaia’s wholesale business in Canada according to Mr. Isaia. Toronto-based menswear retailer Harry Rosen carries the brand, as does Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Toronto which was open as of December 2021. Luxury multi-brand retailer Nicolas on Cumberland Street said in an interview that he was denied the opportunity to carry the line in 2021 following the announcement of the new Toronto flagship. 

Mr. Isaia said that the Toronto market is strong enough to carry the full collection of the brand, noting that it has become a global city with men seeking out luxury finds. The brand is priced at the high-end with suit jackets in the $3,500-$5,000 range, sweaters typically in the $1,000-$1,700 range, dress shirts are priced from $500, and trousers that start at about $675. 

ISAIA Toronto, Yorkville Avenue doors (Image: Daniel Green)
ISAIA Toronto, upper level ready-to-wear salon (Image: Daniel Green)

The brand is recognized by its tiny red coral logo which is considered to be a good luck charm in Naples. Isaia was founded by Enrico Isaia in Naples, Italy in 1920 as a fabric store. In 1957, brothers Enrico, Rosario, and Corrado Isaia relocated the business to a village near Naples and converted the brand to a men’s tailoring company. The business continues to be family run with 18 stores operating globally as well as stockists in some of the world’s most prestigious multi-brand stores. 

Mr. Isaia said in the interview that the brand would look to continue opening stores globally as part of its expansion and that it would examine other markets in North America including Vancouver. A location in Chicago opened several months ago on prestigious Oak Street in the city’s Gold Coast which some compare to Yorkville in Toronto in terms of retail offerings and high-density affluent demographics. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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