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Milan: Brief Thoughts (also now featuring Naples reports) - Page 6

post #76 of 129
lurker[1].gif
post #77 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiron View Post

Did they finally pick up the garbage in Naples?

 

No. Environmental sprezz you see.nod[1].gif
post #78 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

Surprisingly, the gentleman who greeted me, while very nice and helpful, was one of the poorer dressed jacketed men I saw in Naples. 

 

I know EXACTLY who you are talking about, 3 button jacket, with all of them buttoned, right? I am still surprised every time I walk in there and see him! Doesn't speak a word of English either frown.gif

post #79 of 129
Thread Starter 
Having given you directions to the Cappelli store, it remains for me to tell you what you expect once you get there. foo.gif's blog post serves as a useful primer. I recommend reading it, and will presume knowledge of it for the rest of this post.

I came by in the afternoon. My first visit to the store was around 2 pm, but the door was closed and locked, presumably for the mid-day lunch break. I rang the doorbell and was greeted and allowed in by a woman who asked me, "Lei cerca delle cravatte?" (Are you looking for some ties?) nod[1].gif

I was first led downstairs to look at the RTW tie selection. As foo.gif notes, you'll see more risks taken with patterns at Cappelli than at any other Napoli tiemaker. There are wild paislies, rubbery madders (I don't think I saw any madder anywhere else in Naples), grenadines grossa and fina (also the only place I saw a grenadine), as well as some geometrics.

All of Cappelli's displayed RTW ties are divided into three parts. There are those of "normal" construction, your standard, tipped, ties. I can't remember if they are 3 or 4-fold as I was looking for something more exotic. Then there are the 7-fold ties, still tipped. Then on the opposite wall there are the unlined ties (n.b: read foo.gif's blog post on this. I will continue to use the English word "unlined" to refer to these ties, as Patrizio calls them "sfoderate" in Italian.). Here I focused my energies.

Athough Cappelli ties are quite distinctive and unique, if I had to wear only Cappelli RTW ties for the rest of my existence, I doubt I would feel much remorse for missing out on other makers. I found our sensibilities quite similar. Therefore, I consider his taste impeccable. Nearly all of Cappelli's ties are made in a 9 cm width, which is my preferred width as well. The exception are those in an especially loud pattern, which are made in a narrower width (8 or 8.5 cm) so as not to become too domineering. The majority of the collection is comprised of the navys and browns that are most versatile for any man's wardrobe. But they are never boring or pedestrian. Every fabric used has something interesting, be it a nuanced shade of the ground color, a little bit extra "fantasy" in the pattern of a neat (which Italians call "micro-fantasie"), or interesting secondary and tertiary colors that are apparent only upon closer inspection.

After a few minutes spent perusing these ties, Patrizio himself joined us downstairs. He was wearing a tie that I had been admiring on the shelf only minutes prior, a sort of muted blue and biege geometric in an unlined construction. The tie complemented beautiful the mid-gray suit he was wearing, the bespoke Neapolitan tailoring of which was unmistakeable. After introductions, I inquired after the suit's maker. Patrizio revealed that it was made many years ago by a tailor now in his eighties, who only keeps a very small number of clients. I didn't push for a name any further than that, but this tailor must be a man of great talent.

A quick detour. Before coming to Naples, the only unlined ties I had any experience with were Vandas, the beauty of which many of you SFers know well (in case you can't tell from my posts and Tumblr, I love me some Vanda). All the silk Vandas I have are woven, not printed.* The difference, especially for an unlined tie, is quite noticable. If you have only tried an unlined tie in one of the two and formed an opinion of unlined ties generally from that, I encourage you to try a tie made of the other genre of silk as well. They really are different animals. A woven tie has a bit of stiffness, which gives the tie some "memory". You can pinch and mold the knot a bit after tying, and the knot will maintain whatever shape you sculpt for at least a while. If you sit for a while, the tie will maintain a slight upward curl for a bit after you stand up. It feels almost as if the silk has some aluminum foil woven into it. Patrizio has some unlined ties of woven silk, but also a large number of printed silk, which vary in weight and softness. These ties are more drapey and flowy. You can pull on the softer ones a bit and they'll stretch. You let go and they will effect an insouciant bounce. The construction and material is so light, it almost feels as if the tie is only folded up without stitching to be tied around the neck, and will then fall back to being just a silk scarf after removal.

And so when Patrizio asked me if I wanted to look at the silks he had for bespoke ties and offered the option of starting off looking at woven or printed silk, I decided to indulge my newfound love of printed silks. The silks are organized by color. Most of the patterns are neats, although we passed by occasional patterns of other sorts. We began with the blues, Patrizio unfolding square after square of beautiful silks until they covered the table dividing us. Importantly, what Patrizio shows you are entire pieces of silk, not just swatches. This allows you to fold it into something approximately tie-sized to get an idea of what the finished product will look like. This leads to great improvement in choice of patterns, in my view. I find decisions in these situations to be extremely difficult, but I was comforted by the fact that I couldn't possibly make a bad choice. After a while I put a few pieces of blue silk to the side for further consideration. We moved on to browns. The process repeated with greens. At that pointed I decided to stop looking at new silks and focus on paring the many I had already pulled out to five. Patrizio was patient and helful throughout. As for which five I chose, I will wait for them to arrive before revealing. Partly to build the suspense, partly because description could never be as vivid as pictures, and finally because I don't fully remember. I decided to do a sampling of different constructions so as to get a better idea of the differences. I think I got one 7-fold, one 5-fold, and the rest 4-folds, but all unlined. As I didn't want to leave with nothing but the anticipation of a package of goodies in two weeks time, I went back downstairs to choose a RTW tie to purchase and take with me. As I had chosen all neats for my bespoke ties, I decided to with something a little more exotic, this time a woven pink paisley on a blue ground. It turns out I would not have left empty-handed in any case, as before leaving Patrizio allowed me to choose a pocket square. I ended up grabbing a beautiful suedey madder. I exchanged a friendly goodbye with Patrizio and his assistant and headed back out into the Neapolitan heat.

On the day of my departure, I went out for a morning coffee ahead of my early afternoon flight. On my way back to my hotel, I saw Patrizio in the street, looking very elegant once again. He recognized me and stopped for a nice chat and wished me a pleasant journey and a quick return to Naples. I finished my walk back feeling much less a stranger in this town than when I arrived.

*To be clear, Vanda has printed silk ties as well. It's just that all the ones I have in silk are woven. If you're unsure about whether a given tie is woven or printed, there's an easy way to tell if the tie is untipped. Look on the back of the tip. If you see diagonal lines with a kind of photo negative of the pattern you see on the front, like here, then it's a woven tie. If it's just a more muted version of the pattern on the front, like here, it's printed.

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post #80 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

After a few minutes spent perusing these ties, Patrizio himself joined us downstairs. He was wearing a tie that I had been admiring on the shelf only minutes prior, a sort of muted blue and biege geometric in an unlined construction. The tie complemented beautiful the mid-gray suit he was wearing, the bespoke Neapolitan tailoring of which was unmistakeable. After introductions, I inquired after the suit's maker. Patrizio revealed that it was made many years ago by a tailor now in his eighties, who only keeps a very small number of clients. I didn't push for a name any further than that, but this tailor must be a man of great talent.

Good write up.

Cappelli is often seen in stuff by Mario Formosa, recently pased away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Alden View Post




B


I remember Mario Formosa lamenting that unlike other tailors in Naples, like Solito, Pirozzi or Pastena, he did not have a son who was a tailor to carry his work forward. Well, the good news is that Mario did have a son, and that apparently his son has chosen to continue the family business. Some of the most successful Neapolitan brands of today are driven by sons who were not trained tailors.


That being said, I don't recognize Formosa style in the images on the website. Formosa was, in my mind, one of the greatest Neapolitan tailors along with Albino and Attolini. His clothes were beautiful. The SB looked a lot like Albino's. It was Neapolitan and English at the same time. There was no Naples folklore in it, just great Naples tailoring. You could wear his clothes anywhere in the world and be considered elegant. If you took Nunzio Pirozzi's work and blended it with vintage Attolini it would come close to the SB Formosa used to make.


But Formosa's real strength was the DB. It was considered the best in Naples. And I would not begin to know where to send anyone to find anything that would come close to matching it. It was Italian and not Italian. The lapels were full without being exaggerated. There was belly to them but not as much as say A&S. The lapels were straighter and shorter, as the notch was placed in the center of the upper chest and the button point was higher than the low slung, high notched models of today's exaggerated Naples fare.


The image of the Formosa DB is in my mind every time I try to make one. I have come close without seriously rivaling the old Master.


What I remember most about Formosa was his incredible eye and tough sensibility. It was almost impossible to have a suit made by him. He worked with very few people and took pride in selecting his clients. He was "old school" Naples in every way, a throw back to another time. Since he did not feel the presence of a son wanting to take his craft forward, he did not seek to grow it. His craft was accessible through introduction. Late in his life, he made some trips to Milan to save some of his best client's time. But he truly believed his work would die with him and that there was no need to expand something that could not be perpetuated. His work did not die..or maybe it did. I'll stop by my next trip south and take a look.


Cheers


Michael Alden
post #81 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

(I don't think I saw any madder anywhere else in Naples)

I heard that madder has been banned in Europe - I don't know how true that is though, but I heard it from a reliable source.
post #82 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpooPoker View Post

I heard that madder has been banned in Europe - I don't know how true that is though, but I heard it from a reliable source.
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post

"Ancient madder" ties made from all natural dies haven't been made for half a century, if not longer


Subsequent madder silks fabricated into ties using fabrics from Adamley or Evans were manufactured with artificial dyes but also lime, the latter being illegal for some number of years.


What people think of madder these days is a napped silk with the Adamley or Evans patterns, and a number of top makers use these fabrics including Drakes.



- B


“The ‘madder’ part of this lovely phrase refers to a natural dye from a Eurasian herbaceous plant, Rubia tinctoria, the root of which was used since ancient times as a regal dyestuff. Thus ‘ancient’ madder. Since the 19th Century the dye has primarily been used on silk, producing beautifully deep, muted and soft colorations of red, green, chocolate, medium blue, and yellow. Silk dyed in this manner is characterized by a dusty-looking finish and a feel (referred to as a chalk hand by the experts) very much like a fine suede, and a matte finish. And not just any silk. A special ‘gum’ silk, is used. The silk is first boiled to remove its natural gum (an organic resin), dyed, and then the fabric is bathed in a new gum-based solution that gives it its characteristic soft handle and heft.
 
“Today the process is employed mainly for neckwear printed in England in a paisley or small geometric pattern. The coloring agent in madder root – called alizarin — was in fact first chemically extracted and then synthesized in 1869 by two English chemists. Although the dyeing process, even today, requires a variety of painstaking steps, synthesized alizarin brought the price within the reach of commercial producers, and paisley-designed silks of ancient madder became popular in the second-half of Victoria’s reign for neckwear and scarves.
 
“Paisley madder ties have been a status symbol on college campuses since the 1930s, as a natty alternative to the traditional striped tie. Paired with a tweed sports jacket, they’re as conservatively colorful and slightly idiosyncratic today as ever.”

— G. Bruce Boyer
post #83 of 129
Very slowly, but steadily we continue to work on a project to use real natural madder again as a dye for pocket squares and neckties.

Along with other dyes.

Stand by for updates...
post #84 of 129
Awesome.
post #85 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hober View Post

Very slowly, but steadily we continue to work on a project to use real natural madder again as a dye for pocket squares and neckties.
Along with other dyes.
Stand by for updates...

Oooh. Do tell!
post #86 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

"The ‘madder’ part of this lovely phrase refers to a natural dye from a Eurasian herbaceous plant, Rubia tinctoria, the root of which was used since ancient times as a regal dyestuff..."

 

A while back, I did a bit of reading into the dyes used to make colours used in ancient times. I'm open to correction by those who know better, as this is very much written from memory, but IIRC...

 

Madder/Alizarin dye use was more common in the middle (eg equestrian) classes, because it's cheaper to obtain than the other sources of "purple-crimson" and/or "reddish-purple" (madder can produce both shades, depending on concentration used). The original source of the redder shade was the Kermes insect ("kermes" being the etymological origin of our "crimson") and the original source of the more purple shade was the Tyrian snail. After the fall of Constantinople, Tyrian Purple production collapsed, but Crimson production in the Mediterranean continued. It was displaced as a source of expensive red only by the discovery of South America, and therefore Cochineal.

 

(Interesting plebian aside: madder was used by Cromwell's New Model Army, the original incarnation of the later "redcoats" of British Empire fame. So in a funny sort of way, madder is very much the anti-regal dyestuff! smile.gif)

post #87 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpooPoker View Post

I heard that madder has been banned in Europe - I don't know how true that is though, but I heard it from a reliable source.

but not foie gras
post #88 of 129
Thread Starter 
Finamore is best known for its shirts, in particular the dramatic Finamore collar. As I wasn't in the market for a new shirtmaker, I assumed my visit there would be brief. I was wrong.

The first surprise was that the windows featured not that the bold and dramatic collar shape that I know from Finamore (for instance, here), but some wimpy and extra-floppy looking casual collars. But beyond the window, I saw an exciting array of squares and ties.

These were the brightest and boldest colors I saw anywhere in Naples. Even the linens and cottons had rich and vibrant spring tones. Selections were difficult, but I finally decided on five pocket square and one very interesting tie.

I've never seen a tie like this one, in texture, colors, or construction. The salesperson told me it's 100% silk (no fabric tag), but it's got much woolier feeling than any other silk I've touched. It's got a definite fuzz and texture to it, but it's not nubby like shantung. The faded colors combine for a Seurat-painting-a-meadow sort of pallete. The blue in particular is a pleasingly surprising violet-ish shade. Finally, the construction is completely unlined and 8-fold. Any of these three qualities would have had me interested. The three together made the purchase decision easy, especially at 90 euros.

Also once inside, I was happy to see examples of the types of Finamore shirts I knew from photographs. You can see one, with the typical Finamore collar, in the picture below, laid over some pocket squares. Besides the normal textured light blues seen so often in Naples, the walls were stacked with ebullient paisleys and other patterns for the more daring, or the more oblivious, depending on how you view these things. MTM services were of course on offer as well. They also had RTW jackets on a couple of racks in the back, but to me they didn't seem to warrant much further attention.

Worthies on this forum have discussed in the past whether such a thing as "Neapolitan style" really even exists. But to the extent that it does, it doesn't seem to me that Finamore embodies it. But that doesn't prevent it from being a store worth visiting, as its offerings are unique and often gorgeous.

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More Pictures (Click to show)

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post #89 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by dopey View Post

This is mostly true in the main tourist areas, but inter-piazza, there is plenty to see. Some of the best dressed people I saw were in the area north and northeast of Via Veneto. There are a lot of tourists in Rome (I will be one again shortly), but the Romans are there too until mid July/August.

What happens to them after that? Hunger Games in the Coliseum?
post #90 of 129
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenTribe View Post

What happens to them after that? Hunger Games in the Coliseum?

Many Italians in cities go on vacation in August, usually to a beach somewhere.
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