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Anna Matuozzo - A walk-through of my bespoke shirt purchase in Napoli. - Page 4

post #46 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

Marco, first of all, Anna's 250 euro shirt does not include only two or three hand details. You get hand-stitched sleeve attachments, buttonholes, pick-stiching over the yoke and collar, bar tacking at the sleeve gauntlet and bottom of the side seams, and partial hand-stiched reinforcements of the shirt placket. Yes, I understand "hand-stitched" long seams are first machine-sewn before being lapped with hand-stitches--I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, though. As for the collar attachment--you are wrong. There is no machine stitching on it in Anna's fully handmade shirt.

As for whether a 400 euro shirt from Anna is worth it compared to others in Naples: look at the simple math. If you select all the hand-sewn options at another competent shirtmaker in Naples, how much will it cost you all-in? Maybe somewhat less, but 400 euros is not a ridiculous price. Whether you want all those features is a separate matter.

The other thing to keep in mind is that shirtmaking, like tailoring, is not a simple commodity. It's not just a matter of checking off features and options. Anna is a fantastic fitter. I've heard others in Naples say her prices are crazy, but there is no doubt she has an artful way of cutting a shirt. Perhaps you will discount my experiences as an outsider, but I've seen what I've seen.

I do not think we are talking the same thing about collar or you may not be familiar on how shirt collar are constructed or attached...

You first need to attach the two panels and the interlining at the border inside out and that is done by machine at what will eventually become the edge the collar is then turned so that the seams allowance end up in with the interlining in the middle, and normally a reinforcing stitching is done all around at 0,4-0,5cm from the edge, and this could also be done by hand at some spots (like the collar band). The finished collar is then attached by machine first only to the outside yoke pannel, and then attached to the internal yoke pannel by hand....

A "fully" hand made shirt like the one from Anna would only cost me about 50-60 euro extra on what I pay as standard from Prisco, and considering that I buy my own Riva's , I would not even get to 250. If you get the Riva's from him, you get to 300-310 euro per shirt tops, on 5 shirt is a 500 euro saving, do not tell me that this is marginal on shirts...

I keep saying this, but there are better value for money options in Naples as there are some worst. I am not discounting your experience as an outsider, but I do not recall you trying various options in your visis to Naples, I think you admitted that you went with what other styleforum members recommended, as for Rubinacci, Matuozzo and Ambrosi. I have tried many more shirtmakers and got to know the old (house based seamstress) and new shirtmaking industry in Naples.
post #47 of 262
And I keep saying this: neither tailoring nor shirtmaking are simple commodities. It is wrongheaded to assess value merely based on how many things are stitched by hand.

Comparing apples to apples (not your CMT pricing), a 300 euro Prisco and 400 euro Matuozzo shirt are not so far apart in price that I would immediately consider one to be ridiculously cheap or the other ridiculously expensive. Hell, a bespoke Charvet shirt, which is entirely sewn by machine, starts above those prices. After all, you are not simply paying for features. You are also paying for the quality of execution of those features (I've never seen the workmanship on a Prisco), and, more importantly, cut and fit. If you like the way Matuozzo cuts a shirt, it could easily be worth an extra hundred euros to you.

Would I be stupid to pay for Charvet above either of those two, despite that there are absolutely none of the "features" you're paying for in Naples? This is the wrong way to think of things.

If you are choosing between a 300 euro and 400 euro bespoke shirt (both expensive, let's be honest), the deciding factors should lie far outside the realm of what is and isn't stitched by hand.
post #48 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

And I keep saying this: neither tailoring nor shirtmaking are simple commodities. It is wrongheaded to assess value merely based on how many things are stitched by hand.

Comparing apples to apples (not your CMT pricing), a 300 euro Prisco and 400 euro Matuozzo shirt are not so far apart in price that I would immediately consider one to be ridiculously cheap or the other ridiculously expensive. Hell, a bespoke Charvet shirt, which is entirely sewn by machine, starts above those prices. After all, you are not simply paying for features. You are also paying for the quality of execution of those features (I've never seen the workmanship on a Prisco), and, more importantly, cut and fit. If you like the way Matuozzo cuts a shirt, it could easily be worth an extra hundred euros to you.

Would I be stupid to pay for Charvet above either of those two, despite that there are absolutely none of the "features" you're paying for in Naples? This is the wrong way to think of things.

If you are choosing between a 300 euro and 400 euro bespoke shirt (both expensive, let's be honest), the deciding factors should lie far outside the realm of what is and isn't stitched by hand.

I am putting selling value into the context of labour cost to understand how someone 50 euro becomes someone else 150 euro. I have seen good fitting and not so good fitting shirt made by Matuozzo, and too often a bit to loose/blousie to even look bespoke, so I cannot see where the premium come from...

Also, not sure of the no Riva pricing, as you can get many great and durable shirting at considerably lower pricing by other reputable and well known shirtmakers with Neapolitan like Prisco, Lombardi, Aprea, etc...
post #49 of 262
I honestly have no idea what you're talking about now. You can charge more when people are willing to pay the price for your work. The fallacy in your thinking is that all shirtmakers in Naples execute the same level of workmanship and provide the same level of service, and the only differences are in fabric and features. Again, we are not dealing with commodities. Not sure how many times I can keep saying that.

If you don't like the way Matuozzo shirts fit or look, that's up to you. But you cannot discount those factors as the very reasons others might choose Anna over other shirtmakers. I for one abhor the skin-tight shirts typical of Naples. The city is filled with second-rate tailors who think making something tight constitutes fitting it well. To their credit, clients seem to eat it up too.

I stuck with Anna so long because I liked the more relaxed but still fitted cut. The shirts always skim, never grip.
post #50 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

I honestly have no idea what you're talking about now. You can charge more when people are willing to pay the price for your work. The fallacy in your thinking is that all shirtmakers in Naples execute the same level of workmanship and provide the same level of service, and the only differences are in fabric and features. Again, we are not dealing with commodities. Not sure how many times I can keep saying that.

If you don't like the way Matuozzo shirts fit or look, that's up to you. But you cannot discount those factors as the very reasons others might choose Anna over other shirtmakers. I for one abhor the skin-tight shirts typical of Naples. The city is filled with second-rate tailors who think making something tight constitutes fitting it well. Clients seem to eat it up to.

I stuck with Anna so long because I liked the more relaxed but still fitted cut. The shirts always skim, never grip.

What the clients want the clients get. Younger generation may go skin tight the older gent element may get a looser fit by the same shirtmakers / tailors however in shirt construction/fitting there is a key indicator of a bespoke shirt made fro he client max mobility and comfort and that is the shoulder points, yoke width, and a great otter should always get that right relative to the client, no matter the fit, and hat is where my comment on fit, before my comments on the loose example seen too often.

There are great tailors as well, world class ones, that do not charge over the top because are not PR/ media orientated.

Out of curiosity, if in 1991 you had been a client at Rubinacci and he cutter making your garments set up on his own few years later at 1/3 of he prices, would you have followed him or would you have continued going to Rubinacci with a different cutter paying for he brand?
post #51 of 262
It's hard to say, but part of the reason I chose Rubinacci is precisely because it is not a one-man shop. I assume I will outlive my tailors since I'm relatively young, so it was important for me to find a house where there would be continuity in the event one person retired, left, or passed away. Also, it would be a mistake to discount Mariano's management of his tailors. He is very involved, overseeing their work in the shop and nitpicking here and there. I've seen him direct the movement of a buttonhole up or down a half centimeter, or tell a tailor something must be completely redone. He is not a tailor himself, but he has a better eye than most and understands style better than almost anyone I can think of. Luca is a different animal to be sure, but no one understands what his father does better than he. I feel great comfort that when Mariano retires, Luca will continue serving his father's clients as his father would.

The thing to realize is that London House institutionalizes in its tailors a way of doing things. That's why a Rubinacci suit tends to look like a Rubinacci suit, not just some suit from Naples. So, you are not paying for any one cutter in particular. You are paying for them to get it done the right way (and the London House way), regardless of how they need to get there.
post #52 of 262

I've lost the ability to follow the logic in your discussion with eachother but it is fascinating either way and I'm learning a lot from it.

post #53 of 262
i've learned that mafoofan is an expert on all things Napoli, having flown to Italy twice.
post #54 of 262

I'd like to think myself an expert on all things fish n' chips because I spent a week in England as a 9-year-old.

post #55 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trompe le Monde View Post

i've learned that mafoofan is an expert on all things Napoli, having flown to Italy twice.

Did I say I was an expert? Did I demand that you accept what I'm saying based on my expertise? I've offered my reasoning, on top of my observations. If you had anything worthy of contributing to this discussion, you might have addressed those things, rather than make a red herring out of my supposedly self-claimed expertise.

Anyway, if you need an expert on Neapolitan tailoring to convince you that tailoring can't be reduced to a checklist of features and fabrics, you're truly lost.
post #56 of 262

Great discussion, guys, great amount of good information, keep it going. Thank you.

If I understood correctly, marcodalondra's point is that you can get the same construction quality and the same fit for less. It seems to be reasonable.

post #57 of 262
Thread Starter 

Foo and Marco have been most kind to engage in this discussion and they have both sent me PMs offering me their advice and assistance.  For that I am most grateful. 

 

I think that most everyone will agree that no shirt is truly worth this amount, but people pay for the name, experience, and exclusivity.  It is a luxury item. 

 

I am sure that there are other shirt makers that can make a similar level shirt for less money.  Of course finding the back alley tailors is a challenge, and knowing if the quality is commensurate with the price is going to be a challenge too.  That is why Matuozzo is successful with her overseas clients. 

 

-I believe that Foo is saying that while Anna charges more than she ought for shirts that are now semi-handmade, she still makes one hell of a good shirt with superior fit. 

-Marco is saying that she offers a similar product as most other local tailors and that as foreigners we are paying more than we should. 

 

I agree with both perspectives since while I live here, I am still an outsider.

 

All-in-all I hope the photos of my experience and the ensuing discussion will help others who are thinking of buying a shirt in Napoli. 

 

Thanks to all for a spirited discussion that has helped me and others who have read this thread. 

 

-Tommy  

post #58 of 262
Hi Marco,

Interesting posts about the shirt makers in naples!

Could you kindly make a comparison between Prisco, Lombardi and Aprea in terms of quality, flexibility of style (ie: willingness to listen to and understanding of what the clients want), price, accessibility to non-italian speaking clients, availability of fabrics etc, please.

I have seen your posts on Prisco and Lombardi but if you also have heard about or used Aprea, I would be very interested to know.

Thanks,
Yasu
post #59 of 262
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanGent View Post


Gus-
No problem!
It was a good experience for me to learn about the process.  I think I am a much better judge of bespoke shirts now that I have a shirt from Anna.  

Incidentally - I have a friend (former exchange student) who lives in Stockholm who will be coming to visit us here in Napoli this spring!  Let me know if you need anything "smuggled" back to Sverige!

Thanks! There might be some stuff from Mina or Anna...
post #60 of 262
Look, I'm just saying that bespoke clothing is never just about buying a set of specs. I'm alarmed by Marco's and others' tendency to reduce things like a bespoke shirt to a set of dollar-by-dollar features. That sort of deal-hunting approach wrongfully assumes that a handcrafted object's character can be reduced to quantifiable measures and that there is no artistry or taste in execution. In truth, even if two different tailors are equally skilled and create a garment to the same specs, each will still put out a product that is recognizably his own. This is partially why firms like Charvet or Rubinacci can charge more for their product. Yes, name and brand have something to do with it as well, but if you look at the results, there is still something unique about what they create.

I don't fashion myself an "expert" on Neapolitan tailoring. That said, I've been to Naples enough times (more than twice, by the way) to see that the general landscape of Neapolitan men's style is nothing to envy. On the forums, people overemphasize the quality of being "Neapolitan" as a positive in and of itself. Yet, it's not as if every bespoke shirt or suit that walks past you in Naples is a piece of art. Actually, most of it is in terrible taste, regardless of how much handwork there is. The city is littered with tailors who will make you a shirt, jacket, suit, etc., with a ton more handwork than you would typically see elsewhere. Make no mistake: it's mostly junk.

I found Matuozzo's shirts to be exceptional for their cut and fit--the hand-stitching is just a bonus. When choosing a shirtmaker, don't get caught up in who does how much handwork and charges how much. Price matters, of course, but keep in mind what you are really paying for. It's a whole shirt, not just a quantity of hand stitches put into a particular fabric.

When I stopped using Matuozzo, it was for service and quality reasons. Now I get my bespoke shirts from Geneva in New York. They looked at my Matuozzo shirts to get a sense of what I like. The result is perfectly correct in terms of fit, but entirely lacks the same curvaceous, airy character. I miss that. If I ever pay 400 euros or more for a shirt again, it will be to regain that cut and feel, not the number of hand-stitched features.

You wouldn't order a suit from a random London tailor and assume it is comparable to a Huntsman or an Anderson & Sheppard. Likewise, not all Neapolitan tailors and shirtmakers are interchangeable. You are buying taste, style, honesty, service, etc. Those things are much harder to come by than a hand-attached collar.
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