Hi all! As promised in the Solito thread (http://www.styleforum.net/t/249606/solito-thread/480), I will be writing about my recent experience in Naples with two renowned Neapolitan tailors. Instead of contaminating the Solito thread with work from other tailors, I decided to open two new threads dedicated to each tailor that I had experience with.
Part I: Measurements and Fittings
The first tailor is Master Pino Peluso.
Master Pino Peluso is a 43 year old Master tailor from Naples. He began working for his father (also a renowned master tailor) when he was 12 and has had 30 years of experience. He has been awarded the "Forbici d'Oro Napoli" (Neapolitan Golden Scissors award) and is currently the Vice President of the "Camera Europea Dell'Alta Sartoria" which is the European Chamber of Haute Couture.
He was one of the featured Master Tailors in Gianluca Migliarotti's film, O'Mast.
My first impression of Pino was that he was very unassuming and humble, especially for someone with the credentials that he has at a relatively young age. He was a true cultured gentleman who never bad-mouthed any other tailors (he was very cautious with his words when I asked for his opinion on my Solito suit) and I thought there was an air of elegance about his presence.
How I Found Him
I was searching the internet for great neapolitan tailors that are less well-known to the igents and bloggers. I had already commissioned a suit from Solito and posted pictures in the Solito thread. While I was pleased with the result, I wanted to find a reliable tailor that I could order suits from when I graduate (in about 6 months!) and return back to Singapore. With all the discussion about reliability in Solito's thread, I admit I felt a little wary about ordering suits from him across the globe. Thus, I decided to look for a tailor who was responsive to emails and reliable.
I first chanced upon Pino's work in Christophe Debon's tumblr page: http://sartoriaandco.tumblr.com. Pino also has his own tumblr: http://pinopeluso.tumblr.com. Unfortunately, I am a horrible photographer, and I think that the pictures there are better than the ones I took as you will see below (I am eager to show you some pictures of his pick-stitching, so I've asked Christophe for permission to use some of his pictures to which he agreed. Christophe is an excellent photographer btw).
What first struck me, was Pino's signature peak lapels. I have always been a fan of the peak lapel single breasted suit (since I am a budding lawyer and Harvey Specter wears them on the hit TV series, Suits) and was pleased that the proportions looked really good. There were some pictures of his standard notch lapels, and I liked it very much too.
When I first contacted Pino, I was pleasantly surprised that he replied my emails in the same day. He would reply up to thrice a day (which is a real record for neapolitan tailors I must say). I was also very pleased that he understood basic English, because I wanted to have the "bespoke relationship" so many gents here fawn about with their tailor. Hence, I told Pino that I would like to commission a suit from him, and that I would only be in Naples for 4 days. He told me to come in on the first day for measurement.
The First Meeting
After arriving in Naples, I went to Pino's Sartoria. It is located at Via Martucci, which is in the tailoring district in Chiaia (probably one of the nicer areas of Naples). I was invited into his Sartoria and where he offered me a cup for espresso (You have probably read this same sentence when reading about other Sartorias, but trust me, it is true. They ALWAYS offer you espresso like it is obligatory haha).
I first asked Pino about the prices (it is important for me because I am a student on a budget and I need to save up for these suits!). He told me that prices start around 2,500 euros to 3,000 euros. I asked to see some of the fabrics in that range and was a little shocked to see some pretty darn good fabrics below 3,000 euros. He even showed me a 5000 euro option - one where the mill would custom weave the cloth for you. This was unfortunately, way out of budget:p
Next, I told Pino that I would only be in Naples from Thursday to Sunday, and that we would probably have to make do with only one fitting. To my greatest pleasure, Pino said that for him, cutting a suit that he would be satisfied with is most important, and that he will do two fittings for me. He told me that when I first contacted him via email, he had arranged his schedule in anticipation of this. We would have the first fitting the next day, and the second fitting the following day.
This meant that there was no time to order in a batch of cloth, and Pino agreed to work on the cloth that I brought along. I am not sure if Pino normally does CMT, but due to the time constraint, we had no choice.
After taking my measurements, Pino started drawing directly onto the cloth. It would be a single breasted peak lapel suit that I will use for work and going to court. It is made from a sombre dark navy s130s english cloth.
(Pino working immediately on my cloth)
(The "Golden Scissors of Napoli" award that hangs behind his cutting table)
I stayed for awhile to speak with him to ask him more about himself, and to watch him work. This would be the first time I saw a tailor actually drafting a pattern for me! Pino even explained a little bit of the basics to me as he went along.
Before I left, Pino showed me some of the suits he was working on before I came. He assured me that his Sartoria was smaller and more intimate. This means that he does a lot of the sewing himself. At the time, there was only one other person in the work room. He showed me how everything was painstakingly hand stitched, the old neapolitan sartoria way.
(Pino actually still does a lot of the stitching himself, as his Sartoria is relatively intimate)
(Beautiful pin stripe jacket made out of fox flannel I believe)
The First Fitting
At 10am the next day, I arrived back at Pino's Sartoria for my first fitting. I had told him about some fit issues i've had the day before, and during the first fitting, it was evident that the had taken these things into account. Pino explained that my right chest and shoulder was pitched forward and was much more developed than my left, and he had to rotate the jacket from the collar in order to ensure that the jacket does not pinch me at my right armhole. This was one of the biggest fit issues I had with the suit from Solito.
The jacket also seemed a little short at this stage, and Pino suggested lengthening it in order to achieve a better proportion. He told me that he also had to consider if I needed a shoulder extension - so that my head would be proportional to my shoulders. I notice some neapolitan cuts that you see on the internet tend to be very close to the shoulders, which makes the wearer's head look slightly too large.
I was already very pleased at the comfort of the basted jacket during this initial fitting. I started asking Pino a little more about the details. The jacket will have patch pockets, and a curved breast pocket (the traditional neapolitan style). With regards the shoulder, Pino said that the exaggerated manica mappina pleating was not elegant, and was never the true neapolitan way. He felt it was a little vulgar and gimmicky, and told me it is better to have a natural, soft shoulder. Something to note, Master Panico had the exact same view about this.
(My jacket at the first fitting - a dark navy blue that will be used in court in Singapore)
(Pino took pictures on his phone too, to help him work on the jacket better for the next fitting)
(Note: the chest is very nice and clean.)
Before I left, I saw other beautiful jackets that were hanging in the workroom. One of them was a beautiful double breasted jacket for a parisian gentleman (pray for paris, I hope everyone is safe). I think you can see a picture of this on his tumblr or Facebook. I make a mental note to myself, that I shall save up enough money for another Pino Peluso suit, and rush off to meet my two beautiful friends who had taken the earlier ferry to Capri.
The Second Fitting
On our third day in Naples (a Saturday), I arranged to meet Pino at his Sartoria at 6pm after returning from Pompeii. He usually closes at 1pm on Saturdays, but kindly agreed to have the second fitting before he had take his wife and kids to his father's house for dinner.
Here, the lapels have been shaped a and the roll on the lapel is just stunning. He has yet to lift the peak lapels up towards the collar, which will make it roll out in an even more grandiose fashion. The jacket has been lengthen to just the length that I like, and the trousers were ready for fitting. Pino cut quite a slim pair of trousers for me (with a nice straight line nonetheless), but I asked for a little more room around the thighs (I have fencer's thighs). He seemed to do a lot of work from the collar, which was where he told me the jacket had to flow from. The collar hugged my neck well and the shoulders rested well on mine, making the jacket very comfortable. At this stage, Pino shaped the jacket to my waist in order to give the jacket a nice silhouette. The back was to be cleaned up a little, but a slight movement in the fabric was inevitable given the very light fabric for the hot and humid Singapore weather. I must say, that Pino was one of the most conscientious tailors I have worked with - he was feeling my shoulder and my waist etc and really took his time during the fittings. Both fittings lasted pretty long, and he seemed to be very detailed.
After the fitting, Pino asked how many times i've been to university (I'm 24, and I think most people my age would have graduated). I explained to him that I had been in the army for 2 years in Singapore. He quietly signalled for me to follow him into the adjacent room where he kept some of his jackets. He shifted the cupboard away from the wall, and it revealed several pictures of him during his time in the military when it was compulsory in Italy. Turns out, he was an airborne ranger who had completed quite a few jumps, including night ones! He told me how he thinks it is good for boys to go through the military, and lamented how many of the youths in Italy these days lack the drive and discipline to make something of their lives. To which, I totally agree. The two years I spent in the military weren't easy, but it sure was a turning point in my life. At that point, I felt like we had a lot of mutual respect for each other.
I had to leave to meet the two beautiful ladies waiting for me for dinner and so did Pino. He told me he will send the completed suit to me in about 2 weeks and we bid each other farewell. He saw me to the door, and one thing I noticed, he never closed the door until I was all the way down the staircase - a small gesture by a true gentleman.
Now, I can't wait for my suit to arrive while(:
In the meantime, here are some pictures of Pino's work. Some were taken by me, others were taken by Christophe.
(Beautiful lapel roll, soft natural spalla camicia and a clean chest)
(Doppia impuntura - double stitch on the lapel seemed to be very neat!)
(Double stitch on the lapel, barchetta pocket and shoulder)
(All 4 working buttonholes done neatly. Other neapolitan tailors usually have only 2 or 3 working buttonholes)
For more pictures, Pino has Facebook and Tumblr, and Christophe has plenty on his Tumblr http://sartoriaandco.tumblr.com. Christophe was actually the first person I approached about Pino's work and he was very friendly and helpful.
I will post Part II after I receive my suit and have taken more pictures. For now, its back to the law books>.<
Edited by Mark Lee Jin Yi - 11/18/15 at 11:48am