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For the love of d'Avenza

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by thegreatgatsby, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. thegreatgatsby

    thegreatgatsby Senior Member

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    I'm kind of obsessed with d'Avenza - from the fit to the freedom of the garment (which, I suppose goes hand in hand), to the level of craftsmanship, to the extraordinary materials, to the buttons, to the under-the-radar nature of the brand itself...to the interesting backstory of the brand: a RTW tailoring house offering the best of the best to everyone from Brando to McQueen.

    D'Avenza, for some reason, never cracked the North American market - and (until its relaunch last year as a techy clothing brand), it never really broke out of Europe. It has gone bankrupt on several occasions. There's an urban legend that Brunello Cucinelli bought the company (he didn't - by the way - he just poached their tailors). Bill White of Scarpe di Bianco tried to bring d'Avenza to America - but there was no marketing budget behind his effort. Now Michael Sestak is trying to do the same - he's gotten d'Avenza into Barneys and Axel's and a handful of high-end boutiques...and we'll see how that goes. It's not the same company it once was: the emphasis, now, is on Moorer-style garments: windbreakers that cost $1000, and cashmere blazers that have internal channeled vests. Interestingly enough, one of the big guns at Moorer (a great company if you don't know them) is the former CCO at d'Avenza.

    Anyone want to talk about their experience with d'Avenza - what you've purchased, where you find and buy their suits, blazers, sport coats and outerwear, what you think of the cut, etc? Any comparative analysis might be interesting (or useful) as well - how d'Avenza compares to Kiton or Attolini or Brioni. There's a good deal of handwork on certain d'Avenza models. In all cases (from what I've read and seen first hand), d'Avenza completed everything by hand - except the attachment of the jacket lining.

    I would also define the d'Avenza that I'm discussing here as "former" - it no longer exists as a fully hand-cut (pattern and cloth), fully hand-sewn tailoring house.

    The current d'Avenza offers many garments that are laser cut. The extent to which the current company offers fully-canvassed jackets (for instance), is unknown to me.

    I'm much more interested in SF members' experience with the former d'Avenza - the one that went bankrupt in the 90s and in the 2000s - when thousands of their garments were liquidated for pennies on the dollar - and (it seems) that a half dozen re-salers bought up their entire stock. Once in a while, I run into a rogue scavenger, for instance, a man from Australia who bought 100 suits during one of the early liquidation phases. It seems though that most of the good stuff is long gone - the re-salers having sold them to customers on Ebay. The Sierra Trading post, as many of you know, once had some highly coveted pieces for sale. Those are long gone as well.

    Thoughts on your experience with d'Avenza?

    Pics of what's in your closet?

    Any stories of how you came to know the brand, and if you've found anything you like more?

    I always thought I was a Brioni guy - until I tried on a d'Avenza sport coat...
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018


  2. Ich_Dien

    Ich_Dien Distinguished Member

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    It's very hard to come by, even in Italy, unfortunately.
     


  3. MarkWinter

    MarkWinter Senior Member

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    Yes, I completely agree with you!

    The company was established by Simon Ackermann, an English tailor, (owner of the Chester Barrie factory, at the time the best British factory for quality tailoring). D’Avenza was the first company in Italy to mass produce Hand-Made suits. Many high-end Italian tailoring houses such as Attolini and Kiton were craving to implement this new techniques and they adopted the “D’Avenza method”.

    Marcello Mastroianni and Marlon Brando wore their bespoke garments onscreen, while Cary Grant was a regular customer in their Rome boutique. Without question, the 70’s was the peak time for the company, but the name “D’Avenza” is still prestigious among tailoring connoisseurs.

    [​IMG]In my opinion, the cut, construction and finishing of D’Avenza garments is on par with the most well-known high-end tailoring brands. Brioni comes to mind as the best comparison given the similarities in the style, but it always had a heftier price tag.

    We at SARTORIALE were fortunate enough to acquire a great stock from the original D'avenza, probably one of the last collections available, still uploading these garments to our site, but you can already find some truly amazing pieces. Just look at these cashmere polo coats, the cut and fabric are both something you hardly ever find these days, especially at this price point.

    D_AVENZA_Roma_Handmade_Gray_Cashmere_DB_Polo_Overcoat_EU_50_NEW_US_M00001_1024x1024 (1).jpg



    D_AVENZA_Roma_Handmade_Gray_Cashmere_DB_Polo_Overcoat_EU_50_NEW_US_M00004_1024x1024.jpg
    D_AVENZA_MARENGO_Handmade_Blue_Cashmere_DB_Polo_Overcoat_EU_50_NEW_US_M00001_1024x1024.jpg
    D_AVENZA_MARENGO_Handmade_Blue_Cashmere_DB_Polo_Overcoat_EU_50_NEW_US_M00002_1024x1024.jpg

    Let’s keep thread going, if you have any questions, we can dig deeper into the fabulous history of D'avenza together.
     


  4. jefferyd

    jefferyd Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    Simon Ackerman took the idea of making very high-quality ready-made clothing from the U.S., where he spent several decades, and where the relatively new concept of quality read-to-wear had been largely perfected; at the turn of the century if you wanted the best quality you generally went to a custom tailor- you only bought RTW if you wanted something inexpensive. Hickey Freeman decided on a different philosophy and was one company which had been making mass-produced hand-made suits since 1899; many people came from around the world to study the methods used.

    A friend and colleague was working for Chester Barrie in England and he told me the reason they started D'Avenza was that they were importing so many tailors from Italy that they figured it made more sense to go set up shop in Italy rather than keep bringing them in to England. Paul was sent to work in Italy for I don't remember how many years, and once showed me a coat he made for himself eons ago- most interesting was the shoulder pad which had to have been close to two inches thick. I have seen vintage Chester Barrie garments whose workmanship was the best I have ever seen in ready-made garments, and D'Avenza does (did?) some really lovely work too.
     


  5. aph999

    aph999 Senior Member

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    I've had pretty good luck with d'Avenza; some of their fabrics are truly sublime. For example, this sapphire blue wool and cashmere suit that I purchased in 2016. I get compliments almost every time I wear it.

    s-l500.jpg
     


  6. MarkWinter

    MarkWinter Senior Member

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    This gray PoW is another example of D'avenza using exceptional fabrics. Note the handsewn buttonholes and the angled breast pocket.

    180320-0538f.jpg

    180320-0544.jpg
     


  7. NoNameNecessary

    NoNameNecessary Well-Known Member

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    Hi guys, I was trying to convince a eBay seller to sell me a D Avenza suit for Belvest price. But I was told the one was from Avenza first choice, the line was almost entirely hand sewn and on par with Brioni. Is there anyone know about this higher line?
     


  8. sipang

    sipang Distinguished Member

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    In case anyone might be interested... I have a pretty reasonably priced D'Avenza raglan overcoat listed over on the B&S. Can't really speak to the finer points of construction and workmanship as my knowledge there is lacking but it's made of a striking llama hair fabric that looks and feels positively luscious

    /shameless plug
     


  9. NoNameNecessary

    NoNameNecessary Well-Known Member

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    Anything made by D Avenza should be good quality
     


  10. RogerP

    RogerP Distinguished Member

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    Pretty much my fave business wear brand.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     


  11. MarkWinter

    MarkWinter Senior Member

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    Really nice collection Roger, great fit as well.
     


  12. thegreatgatsby

    thegreatgatsby Senior Member

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    Yes - to my knowledge there is no such thing. On 90% of d'Avenza garments (the deadstock ones) everything is done by hand (except the attachment of the lining). There was one season when d'Avenza did a crazy amount of handwork detailing - but those garments are not "more hand sewn" than the other ones - there's just more noticeable hand stitching or embroidery. There is no "first choice" (not sure what that would even mean) from d'Avenza. The problem with Belvest (in my experience) is that the company makes an industrial garment sometimes, and sometimes a partly handmade one. It's impossible for me to know which one I'm getting - there seems to be no one who actually knows whether Belvest is hand or machine made at present - or when the company went (more or less) industrial. I know almost nothing about Belvest. It seems like a strong brand (not well advertised). I would think both brands would cost about the same - for deadstock items (new with tags, but old stock) - between $400 and $600. I wouldn't pay more - despite the value being really good. In my opinion, a large percentage of d'Avenza outerwear, leather jackets, and many suits (double breasted in particular), are just not styled well. They look old. They feel instantly dated. I feel the same way about their three (or even four???) button suits, or oddly styled collars. You have to be very selective. Sometimes the pleating (on the pants) can be extreme - given that some of this merchandise is upwards of 10 years old. As for the Brioni comparison - I find that d'Avenza is more minimalist than Brioni. I've owned a lot of Brioni and I find d'Avenza is much lighter (in the best possible way) and is cut for someone with a more athletic build. I like d'Avenza's fabrics much more than Brioni's. My sense (from my tailor) is that there is sometimes more actual (physical) stitches in a Brioni lapel (for example) than a d'Avenza lapel - but I'd make the argument that such a distinction translates into zero difference. You'll never see the difference (unless you open up the lapel and look at the architecture of the coat). The difference can be felt, though - Brioni's jackets are more constricting than d'Avenza's. The shoulders (on a Brioni) are typically more heavily padded. There's a good deal of snobbery that Brioni is better (hands-down), but I see no real evidence of this. D'Avenza has never (ever, ever) been marketed well. It's the most under-the-radar larger-scale brand of handmade suits to come out of Italy in the past 60 years. It doesn't get a lot of respect. Tastemakers have worn it. It's been an iconic brand for Italians, Italian-directed films, and for heads of state for decades. It just doesn't advertise. I've never heard a case that actually made sense for Brioni being better. Hope that helps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018


  13. NoNameNecessary

    NoNameNecessary Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the informative reply. Just want to share my experience, to clarify, I have no previous experience with D Avenza, I own several Belvest only one Isaia one Brioni. From my limited experience, I feel Belvest is mass produced handmade garments. There are lots of handwork in a obvious way, not sure good or bad. For example, buttonholes are clearly hand stitched but the stitching is messier not as neat as an Isaia. For an Isaia, I have to look really close even to touch it to make sure it was hand stitched, but Belvest can be told from a distance, like a show off. For Brioni, I don’t know why would you say it can be lighter in a good way. But my only Brioni is really light and soft on the body. I think the canvas they used is even softer than Neapolitan Isaia. Shoulder is padded and extended but the material is also light weighted. Go up to Brioni, I noticed that pockets are hand sewn where as Belvest and Isaia pockets are made by machine. Which is the case for D Avenza? Overall, Belvest wins in style and mostly availability on eBay.
     


  14. thegreatgatsby

    thegreatgatsby Senior Member

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    It's pretty simple - in almost all cases - d'Avenza is handmade: the buttonholes (yes), everything is hand done except for the stitches that attach the jacket lining. There are some rare cases - like a summer blazer made of cotton - where d'Avenza did the topstitching with a machine (along the lapel, for instance) - but the internal aspects of the jacket are still hand-sewn.

    It's also fairly straightforward with the Brioni vs. d'Avenza comparison: Brioni has more internal stitches (if you count the number). Brioni is well advertised (d'Avenza is not). Most Brioni coats and jackets have heavier shoulder padding. I have found d'Avenza to be physically lighter (the materials and the structure itself). That is just my experience. I owned one Brioni suit that was very light - the rest were not. I do not have a single "heavy" d'Avenza suit. They often wear like pajamas - you feel as if you're not wearing anything at all. I found Brioni constricting. To a large extent - this is personal preference - I'm sure there exists a fully unlined, unstructured Brioni suit - I just never came across more than one or two in all my years. I have an athletic build (in the shoulders and arms, specifically), and I've found that Brioni just doesn't fit my body right, but d'Avenza does. It's like I'm their unofficial fit model - right off the rack.
     


  15. thegreatgatsby

    thegreatgatsby Senior Member

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    There are a small number of Ebay sellers offering deadstock d'Avenza.

    This Ebay store in Italy is the most recent seller to unearth a cache of d'Avenza suits, sportcoats, and outerwear. I'm guessing that during the early rounds of liquidation (when d'Avenza went bankrupt the first time of many), someone locally (in Carrera) snatched up the really good stuff - and now a lot of it is here:

    ilcravattaiomatto

    I picked up a sportcoat from them and it arrived in New York two days later.


    Eric at Top Shelf Apparel and Mark at NY Milan have also been really good to me over the years (other Ebay sellers).


    What's really interesting about the three primary sellers of d'Avenza (on Ebay) is that they each offer a different product focus:

    Mark has some really unique pieces that trend to the traditional, but also skew fashion forward: nymilan

    Eric has a big selection with some handwork-heavy detailing: topshelfapparel

    They are both remarkable, stand-up guys who offer unparalleled customer service.

    I've also been impressed with the level of communication, the speed of delivery, and the quality of the product from the Italian dealer: ilcravattaiomatto

    All 3 sellers are very reasonable, and their focus is on building a long-term relationship.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018


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