The old meets the new! The then generation of Neapolitan tailoring relived with a touch of modern dandyism.
Italy is one of the renowned fashion countries in the world, and within the south coast of this country lies a city well-known to sartorialists as the super-powers of bespoke tailoring. Naples (Napoli) as some call it the cradle of artisan tailoring and it’s a hometown of some of the iconic tailors known in the sartorial fraternity.
My sartorial style is mostly influenced by the then culture of Kofifi in Sphiatown, today I’m reliving the old school style with a refined touch of modern dandiness. Visiting Italy and meeting different people taught me a thing or two about sartorial menswear fashion and style. Year after year I always want to learn new things and meet new people and this year I met a gentlemen by the name of Gianni Cantore, of Saint Gregory Tailors. Named after one of the historical districts in downtown Naples, also known as San Gregorio.
Based in a small township called Casalnuovo, is a fairly new tailoring house established in 2017. As young as they are, they house tailors with decades of experience and undying passion of traditional Neapolitan tailoring. They are also mentors of the new generation of tailors that are bringing fresh breath of modern style, while respecting the rituals and sacredness of Neapolitan tailoring.
Neapolitan tailoring dates back to as far as the 14th century and its history and heritage has been preserved and respected by many even today. However this style of tailoring has also faced criticism by others for being too casual for a suit. The first thing that comes to one’s mind when the word “Neapolitan” tailoring is mentioned is “handmade”. The whole unstructured look from soft shoulder padding to the shirt-like constructed sleeves called “mappina”. They also prefer half lining or no lining at all, as they enjoy displaying the masterpiece construction inside the jacket. There’s a lot more, but the noticeable ones like the boat shaped pocket called a “barchetta” and the extended dart that gives the jacket an elegant silhouette. Neapolitans prefers flexibility and freedom of movement when wearing their jacket, it should be easy to seat down or hug a person without having to unbutton the jacket. The fit is easily seen and described as the “classic” fit.
Not everyone would prefer the rawness and ruggedness of this style of tailoring as a lot are more into the more structured and hugging type of fit. Some wont event have the patience of multiple fittings that goes into a bespoke jacket or suit. Some may even want to change their minds when they come for first fittings and seeing their jacket full of threads (basting stitching), with no buttons nor pockets. The perfectly imperfect look of a Neapolitan jacket is what makes it so unique and stands out from a lot.
Apart from the customs of Neapolitan tailoring, every tailor house or tailor has its own methods they follow and which distinguishes them from others. With all that said, at Saint Gregory they believe in giving what the client wants and feels comfortable with. Both the style consultant and the tailor are present on the first day of consultation so they both get a clear understanding of what the client needs. It’s after that where they get to tell the tale of Neapolitan style and how they will fuse it into the client’s needs and specs.
The process is so bliss it doesn’t even feel like a consultation but more like a friendly conversation with an old friend. A client gets the pleasure to choose his preferred option, whether bespoke; made-to-measure and even ready-to-wear. RTW is also accessible on their up-to-date website (S/S”19) and every item can be modified to the client’s needs and specs. MTM and bespoke takes place in a private and intimate space over a cup of coffee served in classic Italian style.
I am planning to visit Napoli soon and maybe get a fully tailored bespoke jacket, even though it will require multiple visits and fittings. In the meantime they’re making an MTM 6×2 double breasted jacket and my choice of this particular jacket is because I’ve always encountered minor errors with my previous DB jackets. If it was not the gap between the jacket collar and the shirt collar it was the random creasing of the lapels.
In as much as the sartorial menswear here at home is slowly accelerating, I’ve learnt that the majority is only focused at just looking dapper in a suit. For the suit connoisseurs, it is attention to detail on the jacket itself without any accessories, it’s all about the cut; the finish and the fit. What was more interesting during a consultation is how he paid more attention to my body structure. Even though it’s going to be an MTM, the aim is to make it feel and fit like a bespoke jacket. He noticed two things with my posture and the first one was a “stooping” or hatched back. The second one was the slopping shoulders which are not usually visible on a jacket with padded shoulders.
Looking forward to seeing the finished product and how my body structure was taken into account when making the jacket. The full post of the jacket will be on my Instagram page soon. And for more about Saint Gregory visit their website https://www.saintgregory.it/ or https://www.instagram.com/saintgregory_tailorsinnaples/ on Instagram.
Until next time