Not Just Another Neapolitan Suit : The Gifted Hand and Eye of Master Tailor Luigi Dalcuore

Dr John SLAMSON

Not Just Another Neapolitan Suit : The Gifted Hand and Eye of Master Tailor Luigi Dalcuore

Neapolitan tailoring is known for emanating nonchalance mixed with ‘accidental flamboyancy and quirky details’.

Often regarded as being nonconventional, Neapolitan tailors are proud to be detached from hardcore traditional suit-crafting. And, while regional tailors may insist on making suits-with-a-swag, few of us can disagree that the Neapolitan style yields a memorable and striking appearance.

No wonder the Neapolitan take on contemporary fashion continues to attract worldwide attention (even more so than French and British tailors).

Soft tailoring allows for playful extravagance and makes for a spectacular look with some excesses. But “excesses” never outrank the importance of precision for Luigi Dalcuore, the famous Neapolitan master tailor who is his own man—possessing a rare combination of having both the hand and the eye for making suits, while keeping to the spirit of Naples.

The craze for anything Neapolitan is not without side effects, namely a certain overindulgence which opts for extremes in the name of style. Luigi Dalcuore chooses a different path with less adherence to the “everything unstructured” rule. His tendency to craft suits  with an assertive silhouette  gives us the best of both worlds, namely a suit which has plenty of stylish ease, yet still enough structure to be taken seriously.

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My opinion of ‘Gigi’ Dalcuore is that he is not just one of those great names among contemporary tailors—he is a man who does what he does with a particular elegance. I could go so far to say that ‘Gigi’ Dalcuore is the epitome of class itself. His technical proficiency and sense of detail is stunning. But he adds good taste to the final work, with the utmost snugness and a sense of lightness that, in my experience, is unparalleled.

The life & the style

tumblr_nwki6spnoe1uq1vn2o1_1280Luigi Dalcuore did his first apprenticeship at tailor Del Duca and travelled a lot in Europe when he was young, opening his mind to various traditions. These numerous experiences made him a self-taught tailor, unlike most of his Neapolitan counterparts who were all educated by an old “Maestro”.

He debuted his own shop at 26 years old, after (already) years of tailoring experience.

Today, he is known as an expert cutter—and although he has about twenty trained tailors in his workshop, Gigi still does the cutting himself, as an overseer of the construction of the suit. If you awaken early in the morning (or return home late at night) and walk down the street past via Francesco Caracciolo 17, which runs along the Bay of Naples, oftentimes you can look though the large picture window in front of the atelier and see Gigi Dalcuore fast at work.

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15053251_10209216229979992_961443767_oHis eye is ever so acute, whether taking measurements, cutting or imagining the customer’s fit. Since 1966, he has progressed to become a master tailor whom embodies the emblem of precise handmade work with a designer-level acumen to choose fabrics for clients who want his guidance.

The Dalcuore house style is also especially versatile, and readily crafts three different types of shoulders : a su camicia, and a con giro aperto with or without a slight rollino.

Sartoria Dalcuore’s suits, like Luigi himself, have an air of nonchalance, but keep an ironic distance from the tendency to overdo, in the name of preserving the act of precision.img_8997-copieWith a nuance difficult to describe but worth the effort to explain, Gigi listens to the customer while more importantly, understanding what is left “unsaid”…leaving his intuition to interpret the rest.

Doppiopetto con giro aperto

Although my request was minimal (a blue double-breasted), Maestro Dalcuore was able to build upon my vision and suggest a great fabric from Draper’s, an original fabric which at first seemed plain. I later understood that the fabric is made of a micro-pattern in two shades of blue, giving it an unexpected punch in appearance.

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Among the various types of shoulders, Gigi thought the most appealing for me would be his own specialty, the giro aperto, or open armhole, whose shirring is produced by folding the sleeve onto itself and doing the same with the shoulder sleeve head, giving volume and suppleness, structure and lightness. It is an original way of designing a soft natural shoulder.

With a high collar-back, large lapels, a skirt with class and the neatest shoulder, he developed a overall consistent cut.

But cut is one thing and fit is another— the fit is just screamingly snug. Managing freedom of movement while keeping the fabric very close to the body is quite an achievement and only bespoke of the highest quality can manage that feat.

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The Dalcuore double-breasted suit is in line with the Neapolitan tradition, except it brings together Neapolitan softness with assertive structure.

As jackets take visual precedence, one often forgets that trousers are no less important for the total outlook. Luigi Dalcuore’s trousers are astonishing. The complex buttoning has a two-button strap inside the belt and another elongated side strap: the whole belt is thus solidly constructed and allows for a very comfortable fit and impressive drop.

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World traveller

With the help of his daughter Cristina Dalcuore and son-in-law Damiano Annunziato, Luigi Dalcuore enjoys international renown.

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At Brio in Beijing, Beams in Japan, Villa del Corea in Seoul, Signet in Manilla, but also in Moscow, London, New York or Paris (at Jean-Manuel Moreau), he has made his unique style well-known around the world. For all its confidence, his approach is akin to a toned-down version of the Neapolitan spirit, devoid of extreme choices, using the traditional softness without flaunting it.

One spontaneously calls Luigi Dalcuore “Maestro”, a well-earned title reflecting his demanding sophistication and self-assured mastery. What he adds to the mix is his own brand of precision and passion, the light touch of someone who’s been around the block and knows exactly what works and what doesn’t.

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Not only does Naples possess a distinct style (while the rest of the world is in thrall to cultural uniformity), but the sheer variety of tailors working in family-owned companies using predominantly handwork, ensures that you can still get top of the range bespoke in the region.

At the heart of this intense network among Neapolitans, Luigi Dalcuore stands out as a hugely distinctive tailor with a unique style, and Dalcuore suits continue to gain worldwide attention for good reason.

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Sartoria Dalcuore : Via Francesco Caracciolo, 17, 80122 Napoli, Italie

Tél : +39 081 764 5785 

E-mail : info@sartoriadalcuore.com

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