Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sicily and Milan visit

I recently returned to Sicily for follow-up visits to tailors in Catania and Messina, whom I write about in more detail in my guide to Sicilian tailors (see links at the top and right).

In Catania, I picked up a glen plaid sports jacket (in Zegna's 15 milmil 15 fabric) made by Palmisciano. More specifically, I dropped by on a Friday afternoon for a final fitting (everything finished except the buttonholes and buttons), and then visited again the following day to pick up the completed jacket. During my visits, I met Palmisciano's sister who does the finishing, specifically the buttonholes.

Palmisciano sports jacket

Palmisciano sports jacket

I also traveled to Messina to pick up a sports jacket from Arrigo, as well as drop off several shirtings at one of the few shirtmakers I found in Sicily.

Arrigo sports jacket

During the same trip, I also managed to spend an afternoon in Milan. I wandered mostly around the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which houses a Rizzoli bookstore, Church's and Borsalino. It was bitterly cold when I was there so I enjoyed a hot chocolate and mille foglia at Bar Si and did a bit of people watching.

About a 10 minute walk from the Galleria is an outpost of the Neapolitan tiemaker E. Marinella, and across the street from Marinella is a nice RTW menswear store called Ader.

Ader window display

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Mystery bespoke Los Angeles tailor

Thanks to a tip by a contact in the apparel trade, I got in touch with a tailor currently located in Hollywood but who originally had a shop in Beverly Hills. Let's call him Mario. Now he works out of a converted garage behind his home serving as his workshop. He is originally from the Basilicata region in Italy, next to Calabria.

From what I saw he cuts a straight shoulder but also appears to be flexible. For example, he showed a jacket with rounded jacket fronts, which a customer requested and is de rigueur on Styleforum, as well as a more traditional jacket front. Although he doesn't do manica camicia, he showed a soft open seam shoulder jacket.

Most of his clients order from books but he is open to CMT which is priced by removing the estimated fabric cost. Hence a CMT sports jacket is priced very favorably, more comparable to MTM pricing in the US.

To my pleasant surprise, I saw a picture of one of his customers on the wall - a talented, prize winning concert pianist who also happens to be a friend of mine. I was surprised because I did not know he was a customer. When I asked my friend about it later, he said Mario made the best fitting dinner jackets and formal tailcoats (white tie) out of all the tailors he tried.

Mario was expecting a customer when I visited so I didn't have time to clarify my next point, which is that he appeared to be semi-retired or limiting his work to existing clientele and referrals. Hence my caution about publicizing him without his consent.