There’s little doubt the two great powerhouses of modern tailoring are England and Italy. I see both as representing distinctive and proud sartorial, stylistic and class traditions.
It’s hardly surprising they vary so much. Having lived in Italy, I see Italians are more expressive, relaxed and flamboyant but I’ve seen in England clothing is that bit more formal and austere – I reckon the British as a people still are more reserved when it comes to style. The British weather doesn’t help, it is colder and greyer over in this country, so you need warmer suits!
I love the history behind English tailoring; the fact it’s been military inspired ever since the Napoleonic Wars. It’s precise and cut close to the body, it is, in its way, a uniform. Out in Italy life’s just more relaxed, when I’m out in Florence or Naples I see stylish men lounging in elegant cafes and bars in immaculately cut relaxed suits. In Italy the suit’s never been the uniform for the bank office or trading floor, it’s for shaded palazzos and marbled floored villas and I’m a huge fan of the lifestyle the Italian suit represents.
Over the years the two tailoring tribes have come to a grudging level of respect for each other’s traditions, though I remember hearing when I was first in London how when Brioni was founded in Rome after the Second World War, they copied the art of bespoke tailoring but pulling apart a Savile Row suit stitch by stitch! Some people never forget… That said, when searching for tailors to make my suits in Naples I came across many wonderful artisans who had been taught by tailors who’d been making suits in the 1920s – so southern Italy developed their own unique look very early on with no outside influence.
The Battle of Cascina is a lost artwork by Michelangelo which was intended for the wall of the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio, Florence.
How do I fit in? Having worked as an art director for many years, I took a career break and went to live in Florence and study at the city’s Design Academy. Having felt in love with this magnificent place years earlier, during my initial Italian incursions, I was inspired by the sheer amount of art and history that’s around you everywhere you look. I’ve always been hugely interested in gentlemen’s style and whilst studying the Renaissance and the works of the great artists of that period, I suddenly saw the timeless power behind the idealised view of man – in control and projecting the best possible version of himself to the world around him. Clothes, I realised, are critical to this and wandering round the streets I came across so many examples of the skill and traditions of the city’s artisans and men’s tailors. I became determined to bring this remarkable heritage to a new, fresh audience.
I’ve always been hugely interested in gentlemen’s style and whilst studying the Renaissance and the works of the great artists of that period, I suddenly saw the timeless power behind the idealised view of man – in control and projecting the best possible version of himself to the world around him.
Upon finishing my studies, I also travelled and worked in London becoming aware of the story and traditions behind the best English tailoring. I couldn’t understand why tailors in both Italy and England continued to stick rigidly to their set conventions. Why not aim to look the best version of yourself and take the best points from both schools of tailoring – to be the modern idealised man. It’s not just about fitting the body in my view, it’s even more important to fit the personality and give you confidence in how you show and express yourself.
The result is my tailored suits meld together the best characteristics of the Italian and English art creating a garment that looks English but feels Italian. I don’t want to play by outdated rules, I want to create something new, something that is fluid and ground-breaking.
I seek out the finest tailors to bring Italian flair and English style together. The result, I hope you will agree, is sartorially harmonious.