1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

Blast from the past: "The Neapolitan 'Sartoria' Experience"

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by voxsartoria, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. comrade

    comrade Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,874
    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Menlo Park, CA
    Wonderful post. Refinement arises from decadence

    An old Maestro told me that many decades ago, when he was a young apprentice, most of the best customers belonged to the old Bourbon aristocracy and they had a lot of time to amuse themselves in the "sartoria" because they were not supposed to be personally involved in any kind of professional occupation (labour belonged to the bourgeois middle class and to the poor members of the working class). The affluent gentlemen of the high Neapolitan society used to spend endless hours perfecting their exclusive wardrobes down to the tiniest details, and they literally "trained" generations of tailors to work in a finical, exacting manner and to seal into their bespoke suits the patrician allure and the appetite for perfection of their aristocratic customers.

    Many members of the Neapolitan gentry grew so affectionate to their custom tailors that they used to say (of couse in Neapolitan dialect) : "E' mane 'n cuollo m'e ponno mettere sulamente mugliereme e o' sarto" ("I allow only my wife and my tailor to touch me .")
    That's how - through decades of countless, endless fitting sessions - the elusive, aristocratic style that is known as the "Neapolitan cut" came to life.

    Anyone who remembers the the Marcello Mastroianni
    roles in Marriage Italian Style (1964) ( Naples), and Divorce Italian Style(1961)( Sicily),
    will see the archetype of the original Neapolitan tailoring client.
     
  2. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,118
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Tombstone
    And people wonder why we moan about how Andy's used to be.
     
  3. LeonM

    LeonM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    London
    And people wonder why we moan about how Andy's used to be.

    Indeed.

    Leon
     
  4. stant62

    stant62 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,015
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Great read...

    Now if there was a Neapolitan RTW tailor that was more affordable, I'd be a happy camper.
     
  5. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    18,647
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Location:
    In the not too distant future
    Great read...

    Now if there was a Neapolitan RTW tailor that was more affordable, I'd be a happy camper.

    Sartoria Partenopea?
     
  6. edmorel

    edmorel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    25,669
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    Great read...

    Now if there was a Neapolitan RTW tailor that was more affordable, I'd be a happy camper.


    there are a lot of affordable, very good Neapolitan bespoke tailors.
     
  7. AgentQ

    AgentQ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Location:
    Boston/NYC
    there are a lot of affordable, very good Neapolitan bespoke tailors.

    some names, per favore!
     
  8. stant62

    stant62 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,015
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Location:
    New York, NY
    there are a lot of affordable, very good Neapolitan bespoke tailors.

    I know there's Solito, but $2800 is still quite steep for me. I can always wait for an Isaia sample sale, I guess.
     
  9. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    25,756
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    There is a natural tendancy to view tailored clothes as a product or object. It is that, of course. But, what I enjoy so much about what Filangieri wrote is that he describes (somewhat romantically, but why not?) clothing as experience, process, and a social activity.

    No matter how much you might want it to be otherwise, it seems unlikely to me that what he describes can really serve any clientele other than what history formed those tailors to do: make clothes for discerning locals of leisure.

    When I read about American clients taking delivery of their Neopolitan bespoke garments without even one fitting, or stuff disappearing into Alitalia flights, I suppose that I conclude that something intrinsic and important to how the art is practiced there is missing. Maybe the objects...the clothes...are still as good. I wouldn't know. But how wonderful it must be to be a local customer of this tailoring tradition.

    What do you guys think?



    - B
     
  10. dopey

    dopey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,577
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    There is a natural tendancy to view tailored clothes as a product or object. It is that, of course. But, what I enjoy so much about what Filangieri wrote is that he describes (somewhat romantically, but why not?) clothing as experience, process, and a social activity. No matter how much you might want it to be otherwise, it seems unlikely to me that what he describes can really serve any clientele other than what history formed those tailors to do: make clothes for discerning locals of leisure. When I read about American clients taking delivery of their Neopolitan bespoke garments without even one fitting, or stuff disappearing into Alitalia flights, I suppose that I conclude that something intrinsic and important to how the art is practiced there is missing. Maybe the objects...the clothes...are still as good. I wouldn't know. But how wonderful it must be to be a local customer of this tailoring tradition. What do you guys think? - B
    You can't go home again, but that doesn't mean there is nothing worthwhile about life in the new place. Alitalia aside, there is something fun about the intersection of the internet, airplanes, Naples, NY and tailoring, and the fact that it is being done by a new generation of Neapolitan tailors and a new generation of customers makes it all the more interesting. One kind of relationship is gone, but in the old days Salvatore and Foo couldn't have been such good friends.
     
  11. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    25,756
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    You can't go home again, but that doesn't mean there is nothing worthwhile about life in the new place.

    Alitalia aside, there is something fun about the intersection of the internet, airplanes, Naples, NY and tailoring, and the fact that it is being done by a new generation of Neapolitan tailors and a new generation of customers makes it all the more interesting.

    One kind of relationship is gone, but in the old days Salvatore and Foo couldn't have been such good friends.


    Hmmm. That makes sense.

    - B
     
  12. dv3

    dv3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,074
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Also missing is the fact that most of those around you do not/can not appreciate the fineness of your dress. You and the man on the street cannot share in the joy of a hand-stitched sleeve or a perfectly rolling lapel. No matter how happy you are in your neapolitan wardrobe there is a void that can only be filled at a SF meet-up or the irregular encounter with someone just as dapper.
     
  13. apropos

    apropos Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,455
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    TBH, what I find more surprising is the apparent disconnect between finesse and painstaking attention to detail displayed by these Italian sartoria and various other Italian artisans/ateliers, and how Italian society in general 'runs'.
     
  14. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    25,756
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
  15. Michael Ay329

    Michael Ay329 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,582
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Location:
    From Parts Unknown
    Naples' cloth merchants should be a good source for information on competively priced tailors. Sorry I do not have contact information for any. Perhaps other members can chime in.

    Michael Alden of the London Lounge might be a good start at referring you to the right person
     
  16. Ivar

    Ivar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    928
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Location:
    Stockholm
    Deserves yet another bump.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  17. Holdfast

    Holdfast Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,562
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    You can't go home again, but that doesn't mean there is nothing worthwhile about life in the new place. Alitalia aside, there is something fun about the intersection of the internet, airplanes, Naples, NY and tailoring, and the fact that it is being done by a new generation of Neapolitan tailors and a new generation of customers makes it all the more interesting. One kind of relationship is gone, but in the old days Salvatore and Foo couldn't have been such good friends.
    Hmmmm.... [​IMG]

    I don't highlight the suboptimal evolution of that relationship since that was originally posted in 2009 purely for my amusement; I think there's something important about noting it.

    Many love to imagine romantic artisanal relationships and perhaps it was once true. There's no doubt the posts requoted by vox are tremendously entertaining to read. But at the end of the day ordering clothes remains a commercial relationship, and I rather think that all those lounging decadent Bourbon aristocrats mentioned in some of posts upthread would not have been so welcome to loiter around a tailor's premises if they hadn't also been very happy to part with large amounts of their money over time. I'm not convinced that's a mythic romantic ideal to be chased; it doesn't strike me as particularly different to the veneer of charm & hospitality deployed by a good pub landlord. Everyone is always welcome, provided they bring money. So what, really? I guess I prefer to reserve my meaningful friendships for those relationships without (at least, obvious) gain to be had by one party over the other by maintaining the appearance of friendship.

    Perhaps it's simply unwarranted cynicism but I view bespoke orders as commercial transactions. Transactions for beautiful items, certainly, but buying something pretty doesn't make the transaction any less commercial. They should absolutely be done in a friendly, polite & open manner; that's the best way to ensure an outcome everyone is happy with. And I certainly want to feel confidence in the skill of the firm to execute the order correctly. But I can't bring myself to view it as a romantic process; this attitude probably heavily colours why I just can't be bothered to deal with the complications of international tailoring and am happy with a British firm. I am also very small-scale in my orders (generally, only 1-2 items p.a.), which I suppose also affects the nature of the relationship, though I don't think I'd view it particularly differently if I was ordering more. Mind you, if others like to project something more into their ordering I'm sure that can be very pleasant for everyone concerned; there's nothing wrong with a bit of illusion and artifice in life (another example would be the romantic overlay applied to buying jewellery, flowers or perfume). It can be quite fun . As long as the relationship continues to work well for both parties, which rather takes us back to the bit I highlighted above.

    Sorry for throwing a bit of cold water onto the warm Neapolitan streets. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by