My upcoming book The Italian Gentleman, slated for release September, 2017, will be similar in format to The Parisian Gentleman but will reach more than 300 pages (versus 256) and 500 original photos (versus 350).
Producing The Italian Gentleman has been a monumental endeavor from the get-go and the reason for the increase in the number of pages is simple : This slightly insane project, which is a unique attempt to report precisely and genuinely on the Italian sartorial scene, finally required around 100 visits to narrow down a selection of about 50 houses that will be featured in a book delivered more than one year later than planned.
Although I intended to deliver both books in rapid succession with my publisher Thames & Hudson – one on Parisian Style, and the other on Italian style, I simply had no comprehension as to just how gigantic a task the second part of the contract would prove to be.
While my essay on Parisian Style took about 18 months of work in Paris, in contrast, my upcoming treaty on Italian style has required more than two years of intense field work across Italy, from Biella to Palermo, though Bologna, Florence and Naples.
I’m still baffled at how we managed to conquer this incredible project, which has required visiting personally, with Sonya and Lyle Roblin, each tailor, shoemaker, shirtmaker, glove maker, tie maker, accessory crafter and artisan to research and capture the spirit of each house. The project has demanded an unfathomable number of visits, conversations, dinners and even an ongoing complete revalidation of our work by Parisian Gentleman’s Neapolitan-borne editor Francesco Antonio de Caprariis.
The Italian Gentleman has been a labor of love and has been free of compromise. We financed the bulk of the endeavor alone, with the help of a few friends from Biella and Naples, whom you can count on a single hand and still have fingers to spare and without whom this one-of-a-kind and costly project would never have seen the light of day.
But we are reaching the end of our incredible Italian journey. To effectively write the book, we stayed “in residency” in Milan for more than four months and in Naples for more than three months. We discovered amazing craftsmen and artisans all round Italy and, of course, in the fascinating former capital of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies – notwithstanding two truly under-appreciated tailoring houses on which we would like, today, to shed some light.
Many of you know of the Neapolitan sartorial superstars—names like Rubinacci, Solito, Dalcuore, Pirozzi, Panico, Ambrosi or Ciardi, for instance. But there are at least a few other houses worthy of your best attention.
Meet tailor extraordinaire Pino Peluso, as well as the small but wonderfully talented house of Manna :
Pino Peluso, along with the Manna family, is one of the most interesting discoveries we made during our three-month tailoring pilgrimage to Naples.
Peluso works alone with an apprentice and a couple of other workers who work from home on great soft-tailored pieces. Deeply Neapolitan in spirit, Peluso’s tailoring is more international in silhouette than many other Neapolitan peers.
The house’s con rollino shoulder is particularly superb, giving relative structure to what ultimately remains a Neapolitan suit. A surprising mix indeed, and the result is striking.
Pino Peluso is a wonderful tailor and a very pleasant gentleman who lives by and for his work. So I relinquished myself to commission a dinner jacket from him this past April – a blue velvet smoking jacket which you can see below during my second fitting, with delivery due in September.
Sartoria Manna is a house we discovered last-minute in Naples.
Just before leaving Naples, as we were literally packing our bags, I decided to review the list of tailors to include in the book with Italian filmmaker and friend Gianluca Migliarotti (of O’Mast fame, among other accomplishments). At this time Gianluca turned my attention to Raffaele and Fabio Manna (father and son), the two heads of the bespoke tailoring house Manna—whom I’d never heard of before that day.
Upon impulse, I made an appointment to see the atelier. The visit proved promising, and I saw a few suits with extremely nice finishing, Neapolitan shoulders with a natural flow, and quality trousers. Feeling confident in their work, I commissioned a double-breasted suit (you can see in the first image below during the second fitting). Incredibly, Sartoria Manna completed my suit in less than a month—the fastest turnaround in my experience with true bespoke tailoring.
It’s a classic double-breasted suit – spectacularly light while remaining rather structured. A stylish and comfortable piece of tailoring, cut from Super 150s fabric / 210g blend of silk and wool from Caccioppoli – one of Naples’ greatest names in the fabric business.
The attention to detail is on par with that of many more famous names. So much so in fact, that I chose this suit as one of my main outfits for this year’s summer Pitti Uomo (as you can see in the pictures above). Manna is a small but innately talented house that is well worth your time and attention.
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Pino Peluso On Facebook
Sartoria Manna’s Website
Pino Peluso pictures @Sartoria and Co & Lyle Roblin
Manna Pictures @Parisian Gentleman, Lyle Roblin & Fabrizio Di Paolo