Ports1961 CEO Fiona Cibani recently told an interviewer of her rejuvenation of the classic clothing brand: “Understated embellishment is what we’re all about.” Apparently, the fashion executive and her husband, Alfred K.T. Chan, a Chinese retailing giant who has owned the Ports1961 brand since 1989, extend their tastes for the understated but embellished beyond sharply tailored sheaths to townhouse facades. The couple recently purchased a five-story, 7,300-square-foot townhouse at 116 East 78th Street with a stately Neo-Georgian facade embellished with French windows, wrought-iron balconies and limestone cartouches.
However, like the clothing brand they helm, the 18-foot-wide townhouse will need a significant overhaul (Ms. Cibani took over as CEO of the brand several months ago and is hoping to revamp the label’s conservative reputation). The home, which was listed with Sotheby's Serena Boardman and Stan Ponte for $8.25 million and sold for $7.3 million, according to city records, was last configured as 11 independent apartments and will demand a full renovation according to Key Ventures’ A. Laurance Kaiser IV, who has toured the property. “It’s a total gut renovation but it’s nice because there’s a garden in the back that opens onto Christ Church and there’s an elevator.”
Mr. Chan’s retail business, which includes the famous-in-China PCD Stores, an empire of luxury department stores and outlets, is based in Hong Kong and Xiamen, where the Ports1961 offices were based until the brand’s recent decampment to New York City. With headquarters newly established in Manhattan it makes sense that Ms. Cibani and Mr. Chan will need a local port, though it’s uncertain what the couple’s plans are for the property.
“We represented the seller, not the buyer, so we don’t know what their plans for it are,” Mr. Ponte told the Observer.