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My visit to Caccioppoli Napoli

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
It seems obvious in retrospect, but the most well-connected business in the Neapolitan tailoring industry is the one where all the local tailors shop: Caccioppoli. It's the only local fabric distributor whose bunches you'll find in every sartoria in Naples (I was surprised to see that Ariston's bunches, the other fabric distributor around Naples that I had heard of, are almost nowhere to be found). You can identify their books easily as on the cover of each is a drawing of Vesuvius, sun setting between its two peaks, that most Neapolitan of all silhouettes.

Caccioppoli's headquarters are a 20ish minute walk from the Chiaia district, where I spent most of my time in Naples. It's a long enough walk that I wasn't especially looking forward to it under the bright Italian sun. But every time I walked into a sartoria and asked to look at summer jacketing, I was shown Caccioppoli's Golden book, reminding me of my upcoming trek.

When I did finally set out, I was happy to see that much of my trip would be along Viale Armando Diaz, a rarity among Italian street names in that Signor Diaz was an actual successful Italian military figure, and also has a genuine connection to the street's city, having been born in Naples. After 5 minutes, however, I was on the more typically named Corso Umberto I, after the second King of Italy, who was about as Neapolitan as I am (I'm half Jewish and born in North Carolina), and honored his country by launching a hapless Italian Empire in Africa, finally crash-landing with an unsuccessful war against Ethiopia in 1896.

Historic though it may have been, my trip to Caccioppoli was a short one compared to the biannual pilgrimages undertaken in earlier generations by scores of tailors throughout southern Italy. The current system of distribution – in which customers order from fabric swatch books kept by tailors, who then in turn order the cloth from the distributor – is a relatively new one. Back when transportation and communication were more expensive, tailors would come to Naples twice a year to order fabric in bulk, from which their clientele back home would then be able to buy.

Many of these tailors would have been met, as I was, by Vincenzo Caccioppoli, who has been working in the family business for 60 years. Vincenzo and his grandson Cosimo are the type of characters that you imagine being in the cast around you when you stage your trip to Naples in your head. Even if you have some initial resentment over their ability to look so effortlessly elegant, or their distracting you from their attractive coworker typing on the computer, you will soon be won over by their friendliness, story-telling, and love of fabrics.

As Cosimo led me around the warehouse, the first thing I noticed was the wall with all the bolts for the Golden bunch that I had seen so much of already. My favorites are the wool-silk-linen blend, which combine the virtues of coolness and texture from linen, durability and drape of wool, and the rich color of silk. These fabrics, like many of the more colorful fabrics that Caccioppoli offers, are woven by Loro Piana, most of them designed and sold exclusively by Caccioppoli. The more standard fabrics – your typical navy suitings, for instance – are made by Vitale Barberis Canonico, another mill in Northern Italy. These are the fabrics that Caccioppoli sells the most of, nearly twenty thousand meters every year.

Though Naples is most well known for its warm-weather clothing, Caccioppoli sells fabric for the entire year. I saw a large roll of some beautiful green donegal – fantastic for a jacket or, even better, a 3-piece suit. Another unique fabric in the new collection is the double-faced pure silk overcoating, made in three colorways.

New this fall as well, Caccioppoli will offer bespoke tailoring. Beginning in September, you'll be able to go to the Caccioppoli warehouse, get measured for a suit to be made in a workshop outside Naples, and then come back for fittings. If this initial project goes well, it could expand into something bigger that would be offered to clients around the world, as Caccioppoli fabrics are already used all over Asia, the United States, and Europe.

The most difficult part of my tour came at the end, when Cosimo graciously offered me my choice of a jacket's length of fabric. I felt like at a Neapolitan fabric house, on a warm afternoon in late June, I should choose something summery. The trouble was that I had already commissioned two jackets out of the Golden book - I wanted to be sure not to duplicate, but I couldn't entirely remember which I had already ordered. I made a mental note to take a picture of a swatch of all cloth I order in the future. I eventually chose a unique light brown check, which is now in the hands of Cosimo's own tailor, in the Spanish Quarter, awaiting my next visit.

But that deep green donegal remained stuck in my head. At another sartorial visit the next day, I decided to order a jacket out of it. Which I'm now thinking will sprout legs and grow into a 3-piece suit. In any case, this time I took a picture.

The machine that cuts squares of fabric into smaller squares for swatch books.

Cloth cut up into swatches, ready to be put into books.

Swatch books in the making.

The time consuming part. All these stickers must be attached by hand..

The new Caccioppoli cover, with Vesuvius on top as always.

The green donegal.

Winter cloth.

Summer jacketing.

Double-faced silk overcoating.

Vincenzo and Cosimo Caccioppoli, always dapper.
post #2 of 48
Great writeup, thanks for that.

Though I don't have anything by them, I do love the fabric from them that I have seen. They certainly have a nice summer book.
post #3 of 48
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 48
Nice write up. I have a hopsack by them.

Did they say how much is the bespoke service?
post #5 of 48

Great write-up.  I'd love to see this stuff in person.

post #6 of 48
Do you know if they're going to be affected by the LVMH takeover of Loro Piana? Will the Loro Piana weaving operation remain the same?
post #7 of 48
Thanks for the write-up. I love their fabrics and am currently having this made up by Cifonelli. Cacioppolli.JPG 250k .JPG file
post #8 of 48
Here's your green donegal made up:

post #9 of 48
Thread Starter 
TRINI - I linked that in the article, actually - it's up on Caccioppoli's tumblr.

ag - how are you having it made up? looks nice.

Derek - Will get back to you tomorrow, I just sent them an email. But I don't think it will be too high.

poorsod - I think that takeover happened after my visit. I'll ask them though.
post #10 of 48
Great write up, as usual.
post #11 of 48
Thank you; I really enjoyed the post.

I ordered some cloth from Caccioppoli earlier this year. The ladies there were very prompt in sending me swatches to help me decide on what to get. I plan on ordering from them again soon.
post #12 of 48
A rather unforgiveable lack of typing assistant photos...
post #13 of 48
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Cantabrigian View Post

A rather unforgiveable lack of typing assistant photos...

I have to leave some incentive for you to visit in person...
post #14 of 48
Originally Posted by TRINI View Post

Here's your green donegal made up:


Wow that is gorgeous.
post #15 of 48
Thread Starter 
Prices will be very attractive - between 700 and 1000 euros, depending on the fabric. I may try it out myself if I get to go back around Pitti in January and will report back.
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