Face Time: Joseph Abboud

He’s directed menswear design at Ralph Lauren and launched his first collection decades ago. Now, HMX Group president and chief creative officer Joseph Abboud opens his latest venture, Streets of Georgetown (1254 Wisconsin Ave.; 202-295-9098), one of two flagship stores in the U.S. We chatted with the 61-year-old fashion vet about Streets’ take on our hometown style.

Why did you zero in on Georgetown?
We love the charm of Georgetown. There are areas around the country that have that charm, like Back Bay in Boston, San Francisco. We aren’t mall-driven. If you look at our name, we want to be on the important streets in important cities.

You also have a Streets store near L.A.
Yes, we opened a small Streets store in Beverly Hills. That is Streets of Beverly Hills. We’re working on a store in Chicago for March of next year. We have our eye on Boston.

No New York?
We love New York, but we don’t think New York has to be the center of the universe. We think America is very diverse. If we had a concept that would work better in New York, of course we’d do that. We think this is a great concept that isn’t just Streets of Georgetown; it’s Streets of London, it’s Streets of Bombay. The great part about this, no pun intended, we can tailor each one of our stores. We want to be part of that community.

What kind of guys are you looking to come to your store?
Whether you’re 22 or 62, it’s really about a style that fits you. We’re not saying, “Oh, we want the young, hip, cool guy.” We want him. But we want the hip, cool guy who might be in his 40s or his 50s. It’s more psychographic than demographic.

You’ve got other irons in the fire. What’s going on with your collaboration with Russell Simmons Argyle Culture?
Russell is an amazing, marketing savvy, tasteful guy. He came to us and asked if we would collaborate with him. We’ve spent a lot of time together. It’s a very inclusionary brand. This is for everyone. It’s a spirited, preppy cool thing. We’re thrilled to be doing it. That’s probably not going to debut until fall ’12.

Any advice for fellas on holiday attire and tuxes?
There’s still nothing more beautiful than a really well-tailored tux. Just in that you could do a vested tux, a cashmere dinner jacket or a double-breasted tux. I still love black for evening. I think what men most need advice about is what’s appropriate, and that’s flexible for how you live life.

No ugly Christmas sweaters?
No! The big X for me is Christmas sweaters with a big Santa on them and no big Christmas ties. None of that.

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