Planning for a sartorial trip to Naples
Late in March I realized I had a few days totally vacant consecutive work days at the beginning of April, and decided to act fast. Taking the advantage of this very rare situation, I reserved the days for myself and bought flights to Naples at that instant. The list of things to do was long and I would only have two working days, so I quickly listed the things I wanted to at least get done in my mind. Naturally, I also had a quick look into the weather forecast and was pleasantly surprised - the temperature at the time was around 25 Celsius.
I had sent my upcoming bespoke suit by Pino Peluso (Sartoria Peluso to speak of his company) back to him, as it was now apparent that skipping the third fitting was not optimal and we wanted to change and adjust a few things in it. This included taking it in a little bit from the front and back and making some adjustments to the trousers. In any case, now that I´m visiting Naples very soon it made sense that we have a proper third fitting in Pino's sartoria and check all the details together. First suit being always the most difficult to make right, I felt it wouldn't make sense to not be patient and wait some weeks more to receive the suit. Now that I was visiting Naples anyway, it would be good to have the final fitting together instead of having Pino make the final adjustments based on my pictures alone. I will write a separate piece on the whole bespoke experience, but this text will touch the subject to some extent.
So, visiting Pino's new sartoria in Posillipo would definitely be the highlight of my trip. I would have time for another bespoke commission though, and already having my second commission underway with Peluso I felt like trying something new as well. Wondering between Sartoria Dalcuore and Sartoria Ciardi, I decided I would at least visit Dalcuore on this trip. If they would be able to accommodate a few fittings into my very thight schedule, I would be more than happy to commission a new suit for summer. Finally, in addition to my fittings with Pino Peluso and Gigi Dalcuore, I had made plans to visit some other artisans as well as Patrizio Cappelli.
Paradiso in Posillipo
For this visit I had chosen an older Best Western Paradiso in Posillipo that Maradona used to prefer as one of his party places when he played in S.S.C. Napoli in the 80s. Without sounding too much like a lifestyle travel blogger (although I've never read one so I wouldn't know), the hotel was surprisingly clean and nice for a hotel in Naples, and especially so as the room cost only 70 Euros a night. The hotel also has a somewhat famous roof terrace which is actually quite amazing for having a breakfast or dinner on. And fair enough, I did post a couple of moments videos and pictures with an amazing view.
Day one meetings
My first day began with a meeting with the ever so gentleman Patrizio Cappelli. We discussed tie-making and some of his new designs, and in general it was just great seeing him again. In many ways I think Mr. Cappelli is a rare bird in the menswear scene, not really pushing into the limelight, but simply wanting to make the best ties available and letting the products speak for themselves.
As I left Cappelli, I took a moment to enjoy the Chiaia area, undoubtedly one of the nicest areas of Naples. My next destination was Sartoria Dalcuore in Mergellina, also a very beautiful area and about a 10 minute walk away by the Bay of Naples. I began to walk that way, enjoying the charming busy streets and the Naples vibe.
Upon arrival I was amused to notice that Dalcuore's sartoria is actually in the downstairs of the same Big Four I work for, an interesting coincidence for sure. As I entered the sartoria, it was clear that the operation was quite big when compared to smaller bespoke houses in Naples. I met with Gigi who was already working in the morning, despite having had a trunk show in New York the day earlier. After greeting him for the first time, I proceeded into browsing fabrics with his daughter Christina. We looked for suitable summer fabrics, and I ended up deciding between a tan Irish linen fabric and a fresco like mid blue fabric from Holland & Sherry. Wanting a more versatile suit, I went for the blue fresco. We discussed my challenging time schedule, and I was glad to hear they could actually push for the first fitting that very evening and then we could have the second fitting on my second day. This great opportunity helped me silence my inner bank manager and decided to go for it.
After this, I enjoyed a pizza in a nice place nearby and then started heading over to Pino Peluso's sartoria in Posillipo. Pino greeted me like an old friend, and we talked for quite a bit before actually starting the fittings. Beginning with the suit, Pino had already made some changes to the suit jacket and it was now basically perfect, so we let it be as is. The trousers required some fine-tuning, but then the suit would be finished.
In addition to finalizing my suit, we had a fitting for my upcoming sport coat that I commissioned earlier. This sport coat was a gift from Pino after I helped him with various things earlier this year. We selected a light green linen silk fabric for this project, in what I would call a "light wasabi" kind of tone of green. The sport coat was already in a sort of second fitting phase as we had originally agreed to complete it remotely. As I tried on the work-in-progress though, it was basically perfect already. I actually got really excited for this piece, as it is definitely a little bit different from all the regular blue and navy summer jackets, but still very timeless and fresh, especially fitting for the spring season in my opinion. I will write a separate piece on this jacket later this spring, and you'll probably see it on Instagram already before that.
After we had finished with trying on the on-going projects, we had some coffee and continued discussing basically everything. I think this is also the key to Pino's charm as your tailor. When you commission a suit with him, it's perhaps more comparable to committing to a new friend more as just having a business transaction. While Pino is one of the old time grand master tailors, an O'mast, he is a really kind and an open man, and I think it gets really personal with him, really fast. He is also quite funny, and I can say I've had more than a few good laughs from our conversations or WhatsApp chats.
After ending up spending more than five hours at Pino's sartoria, I knew I had to visit Dalcuore still the same evening for my first fitting there. As I arrived, the first version was already waiting for me, cut from the beautiful blue fresco I had chosen earlier that morning. The first model was also a pretty good fit already, only with minor tightness on my left shoulder. The visit was very professional, quick and efficient and I then proceeded towards my hotel.
Day two meetings
The second morning I had agreed a visit with Sartoria Cuomo in their sartoria locted at Palazzo Serra di Cassano. I decided to take a taxi, had an interesting ride to the palace from my hotel. I swear it never ceases to amaze me through what sort of small holes you can fit those little taxis in the chaotic streets of Naples. In any case, Sartoria Cuomo's sartoria is a nice and intimate space inside an old palace. Vincenzo Cuomo and the master tailor Raffaele Pelliccia were working inside, and Vincenzo gave me a nice introduction into their bespoke products. After having an espresso with the fine gentlemen, I headed to my next destination, lunch.
During day two I had a few other pre-arranged meetings with different artisans I wanted to meet, and in the evening it was time to see Gigi Dalcuore and my upcoming summer suit again. I arrived to Sartoria Dalcuore at around six, and waited for some time as Gigi was having a fitting with another client at the moment. After the previous fitting, Gigi worked a little bit more on my suit and I had a great discussion on the S.S.C. Napoli vs Juventus relations with Roberto, a really nice guy working at Dalcuore. As the maestro was finished working on my my suit, it was time for the second fitting.
The suit was now in a really good shape and the fit was quite near perfect. The angle of the sleeves was bang on and the chest area was just right. Apart from adding more space for movement to my left shoulder area and letting the jacket out from the gut there wasn't much else to fix. The trousers were also near perfect, but we decided to add a little bit more curve shape to accommodate my goalkeeper bow legs. After the fitting, we sat down with Gigi himself and had a little chat on their operation. Even though I knew Dalcuore has become a bit of a social media sensation lately, I was still surprised how many suits they make per year. Despite the big numbers, it was great to see they still had time to sit down, enjoy a martini and have a conversation with me.
So, all in all it was a great trip and I must say the magic of Naples is a real thing. It was great to have a little break from work and also to progress my bespoke projects. And while it is great to visit Naples like this though, I do have to admit it is quite time and resource-demanding to handling these projects. Spending hundreds and your only vacation days just to have a fitting or two is also probably why it took me so long to step on this level on my sartorial journey. That said, making these trips is definitely worth it and makes you appreciate the final products even more. Also, I'm glad that Sartoria Peluso will now visit Helsinki this upcoming autumn, a truly fantastic thing and a unique opportunity for my fellow Finns to acquire something special for themselves.