Originally Posted by dopey
Originally Posted by voxsartoria
There is a natural tendancy to view tailored clothes as a product or object. It is that, of course. But, what I enjoy so much about what Filangieri wrote is that he describes (somewhat romantically, but why not?) clothing as experience, process, and a social activity. No matter how much you might want it to be otherwise, it seems unlikely to me that what he describes can really serve any clientele other than what history formed those tailors to do: make clothes for discerning locals of leisure. When I read about American clients taking delivery of their Neopolitan bespoke garments without even one fitting, or stuff disappearing into Alitalia flights, I suppose that I conclude that something intrinsic and important to how the art is practiced there is missing. Maybe the objects...the clothes...are still as good. I wouldn't know. But how wonderful it must be to be a local customer of this tailoring tradition. What do you guys think? - B
You can't go home again, but that doesn't mean there is nothing worthwhile about life in the new place. Alitalia aside, there is something fun about the intersection of the internet, airplanes, Naples, NY and tailoring, and the fact that it is being done by a new generation of Neapolitan tailors and a new generation of customers makes it all the more interesting. One kind of relationship is gone, but in the old days Salvatore and Foo couldn't have been such good friends.
I don't highlight the suboptimal evolution of that relationship since that was originally posted in 2009 purely for my amusement; I think there's something important about noting it.
Many love to imagine romantic artisanal relationships and perhaps it was once true. There's no doubt the posts requoted by vox are tremendously entertaining to read. But at the end of the day ordering clothes remains a commercial relationship, and I rather think that all those lounging decadent Bourbon aristocrats mentioned in some of posts upthread would not have been so welcome to loiter around a tailor's premises if they hadn't also been very happy to part with large amounts of their money over time. I'm not convinced that's a mythic romantic ideal to be chased; it doesn't strike me as particularly different to the veneer of charm & hospitality deployed by a good pub landlord. Everyone is always welcome, provided they bring money. So what, really? I guess I prefer to reserve my meaningful friendships for those relationships without (at least, obvious) gain to be had by one party over the other by maintaining the appearance of friendship.
Perhaps it's simply unwarranted cynicism but I view bespoke orders as commercial transactions. Transactions for beautiful items, certainly, but buying something pretty doesn't make the transaction any less commercial. They should absolutely be done in a friendly, polite & open manner; that's the best way to ensure an outcome everyone is happy with. And I certainly want to feel confidence in the skill of the firm to execute the order correctly. But I can't bring myself to view it as a romantic process; this attitude probably heavily colours why I just can't be bothered to deal with the complications of international tailoring and am happy with a British firm. I am also very small-scale in my orders (generally, only 1-2 items p.a.), which I suppose also affects the nature of the relationship, though I don't think I'd view it particularly differently if I was ordering more. Mind you, if others like to project something more into their ordering I'm sure that can be very pleasant for everyone concerned; there's nothing wrong with a bit of illusion and artifice in life (another example would be the romantic overlay applied to buying jewellery, flowers or perfume). It can be quite fun . As long as the relationship continues to work well for both parties, which rather takes us back to the bit I highlighted above.
Sorry for throwing a bit of cold water onto the warm Neapolitan streets.