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Isaia at Pitti Uomo 83

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
If you're looking for well made tailored clothing that isn't a navy blue interview suit, you'll find many attractive suggestions at Isaia. Isaia's style is youthful but not immature, carefree but not careless.

Suits are dressed down by casual details like patch pockets, fabrics with more texture than luster, and of course the classic Neapolitan soft tailoring. You also won't find many solids in the Isaia lineup. But while the large scale patterns give the garments visual interest and an insistence on informality, the muted colors make them easy to wear.

Isaia still maintains traditional tailoring techniques as well as styling. These are clothes for a man who is stylish and elegant, but who doesn't take himself too seriously. A man such as Gianluca Isaia himself, who was kind enough to join us for this interview.

StyleForum: What's your first memory that gave you a sense that clothing and style are important?

Gianluca Isaia: How my father would put away his clothes when he got home from work. How he carefully removed and store his jacket, his tie. He treated his clothes with respect.

SF: How did you get into the clothing business?

GI: I followed my father. I was coming to Pitti Uomo as a young boy even. I would go to my grandfather's house, who was in the clothing business also, and play with the fabrics there.

SF: Being in Naples, these were lightweight fabrics?

GI: No, heavy fabrics! Heavy, English fabrics.

SF: So you don't find it difficult designing for A/W then?

GI: No, not at all. The Neapolitan tailor invented the unlined jacket, with a very light canvas and a soft shoulder construction. This was to be more comfortable in the summer. But the style is still very elegant in the winter.

SF: You have used some beautiful colors for this collection that aren't often seen in menswear. Orange, for instance. Are these colors more difficult to wear? Should some people avoid them entirely?

GI: It's not that there more difficult for some than others. Everyone needs to find their own style. What they feel comfortable and most themselves in. What they can get on stage in front of everyone and feel confident in. You can't buy style. You can't just walk into a store, open up your wallet and tell the sales person to make you stylish. You have to find that on your own. That's really what we try to do in our company, is help clients find their own style.

SF: When designing an article of clothing, do you think much about where its buyer might wear it?

GI: Never. I make clothes that I like and wear clothes that I like. I own neither a solid navy nor a solid charcoal suit. I dress like this pretty much all the time [Ed. note: As seen below, Gianluca was wearing a SC with a muted pattern, the ubiquituous Italian light blue shirt, a tie that complements, without matching, the colors in his jacket, and glasses that playfully recall the color of his tie]. Even for weddings and funerals. Even for a funeral, I don't dress in a sad way. The occasion itself is sad enough already. I don't believe in rules that everyone should follow. I know some books say, "exactly 1.75 cm of shirt cuff must show beyond the jacket sleeve," but I don't believe in fixed rules like that. I have rules, but they're my own rules. And each person needs to find their own rules they are comfortable with in their own style too.

SF: Do you think that wearing patterns frequently requires owning more clothes, since patterns are more difficult to put together into an outfit than solids?

GI: No - men need to have fewer clothes. A few clothes that can be combined into outfits that the man feels himself and comfortable in. People today buy too many clothes without thinking. It's better to buy fewer things, but better things, and put some thought into which quality pieces to buy.

SF: Do you find yourself facing a more educated consumer now compared to five or ten years ago?

GI: Definitely. Young men today have much more information available to them than any previous generation, and they are eager to learn more. They appreciate quality construction and the value of a well-made garment.

SF: What about future generations of tailors? Are tailors retiring faster than they are being replaced?

GI: There are two kinds of tailors today. There are those with the old mentality, who guard their secrets jealously and don't want to teach others. And then there are those like in our company. We take on and teach our art, because it is art, not work, to young people even if I know that in five years, they may leave us to start their own firm. I am happy for young people who strike out on their own, and wish them success. Because our lives are short, and the goal is to leave something behind when it's all over.


Me and Gianluca, posing with a motorcycle helmet with a depiction of San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples and inspiration for Isaia's Fall/Winter '13 collection


Isaia prides itself on coming up with beautiful fabrics every season, such as this silk and cashmere scarf.


Isaia buttons are engraved with a depiction of the coral often seen in Isaia jacket lapels, a mythical good luck charm in Naples.


The casual suit: soft tailoring, pick stitching, and the Neapolitan long front dart.
post #2 of 26
Excellent. Thanks for that.
post #3 of 26
Thanks for the post. Looks like we will see a lot of blue and green combinations from them this fall. It is an attractive color combination. I like it.
post #4 of 26

Nice to have some fresh, original content here; thank you!

post #5 of 26
Gianluca, if you guys have ever met him, has a pretty darn good sense of style. It also doesn't hurt that he and I agree on most points smile.gif
post #6 of 26
Quote:
No - men need to have fewer clothes. A few clothes that can be combined into outfits that the man feels himself and comfortable in. People today buy too many clothes without thinking. It's better to buy fewer things, but better things, and put some thought into which quality pieces to buy.
I'm try desperately to reach this place! Meanwhile, I love that silk and cashmere scarf. decisions.gif

Great interview, unbel. Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by pocketsquareguy View Post

Thanks for the post. Looks like we will see a lot of blue and green combinations from them this fall. It is an attractive color combination. I like it.

There was also a lot of green and blue in the MP Mossimo Piombo photo shoot with Robert Rabensteiner I saw somewhere. They even shot it on blue and Rabensteiner has bright blue socks on in all the pictures.

Pantone's Color of the Year for 2013 is Emerald 17-5641

http://www.pantone.com/pages/index.aspx?pg=21055
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

GI: No - men need to have fewer clothes. A few clothes that can be combined into outfits that the man feels himself and comfortable in. People today buy too many clothes without thinking. It's better to buy fewer things, but better things, and put some thought into which quality pieces to buy.

I have put a lot of thought into this and have been trying to build a well edited wardrobe. Did he have anything more to say about this? The best resources I have found about this are a section in the Suit, M Alden's "Medium" or "Minimum" wardrobe thread and Manton's "What you need to dress well" thread.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
I think he'd probably tell you to try and find your own way more than reading up on the recommended paths. After all, the man doesn't have. A dark solid business suit. He may not even have a blue blazer. But I doubt he'd want you to just adopt everything that's in his closet either.
post #9 of 26

Nice work! Interesting read.

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

I think he'd probably tell you to try and find your own way more than reading up on the recommended paths. After all, the man doesn't have. A dark solid business suit. He may not even have a blue blazer. But I doubt he'd want you to just adopt everything that's in his closet either.

I disagree. Part of developing knowledge and wisdom is seeing how other experts think. You may not agree with everything or anything they say, but it can make a good reference for thought, for discussion and a method to develop what works for you. After all, human knowledge was built upon those before them.

He could have had said something insightful or something mundane, but we don't know.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well I shouldn't put words in his mouth, but on the whole his philosophy is more about being confident and comfortable than being "correct".
post #12 of 26
That is interesting because I think being "confident and comfortable" requires a bit of introspection. Understanding yourself and being true to yourself is nontrivial.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorsod View Post

That is interesting because I think being "confident and comfortable" requires a bit of introspection. Understanding yourself and being true to yourself is nontrivial.

Absolutely. Couldn't agree more.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorsod View Post

I disagree. Part of developing knowledge and wisdom is seeing how other experts think. You may not agree with everything or anything they say, but it can make a good reference for thought, for discussion and a method to develop what works for you. After all, human knowledge was built upon those before them.
He could have had said something insightful or something mundane, but we don't know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorsod View Post

That is interesting because I think being "confident and comfortable" requires a bit of introspection. Understanding yourself and being true to yourself is nontrivial.

I think that the core of what is needed is humility. There can be arrogance in the student as well as the teacher. In my experience, students are often more prone to arrogance than teachers, because they believe in their school of thought more than their teachers, who know better the flaws and gaps.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

I think he'd probably tell you to try and find your own way more than reading up on the recommended paths.

 

I noticed that potential conflict in his advice (paraphrasing: develop your own style but edit it ruthlessly) as editing requires a desired endpoint/frame of reference that you work towards, and so you can't edit unless you already have that personal style. The problem remains even if you initially co-opt an expert's opinion, as you still need to choose which experts you actually want to listen to, and that also requires a frame of reference... I suppose the obvious route out of this potential paradox is iteration over time, which is no bad thing.

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