"We follow every manufacturing steps carefully, looking for the perfection"
This should be the world of beauty: refined lounge, waiting room, dressing rooms, spacious offices. A bright and huge room, silhouettes of workers who move around excitedly and tidily, all in white grown and the women with gathered hair. Pictures and paintings of manufacturing social life on the walls. "Please follow me, let’s choice the fabrics.
Dark wooden desks, tables and shelves hold up dozens of bunches and catalogues. Among many fabrics, I choose a Tasmania 260 gr check patterned fabric , produced with fine and selected lane of Australian origin, with unique features of breathability, lightweight and wearability.
After drinking an excellent coffee, we head to a small room with a big mirror and a separè/screen. The master tailor starts to take the measurements of my body, with a long gummed yellow meter. Meticulously detects the measures of my back, chest, waist, pelvis, the length of the sleeves. He observes my posture and my movements, before closely, then goes away a bit and continues to observe me, looking for any peculiarities of my body. My jacket will be a double-breasted one with patch pockets. The tailor asks me if I prefer a classic or a contemporary style, after that I choose the wearability, the stitching, the width of the collar. The attention for a detail surprises me: "What about the shoulder? Neapolitan or classic? " The tailor can see my speechless expression "The classic shoulder is more structured, has one smaller shoulder inside in order to hold it higher. The Neapolitan one is soft and empty, it follows and enhances the natural characteristics of the shoulder. " Neapolitan, with no doubt.
After choosing all the details with the tailor, we enter into the big production room: there are women who embroider, silence, bowed heads, hands that move. A worker comes to us with a piece of fabric wrapped around a small board, he lays out it on a large table with calm and precision. The master tailor, with a ruler and a chalk outlines a geometric, perfect and evident pattern. He draws with an innate elegance the silhouette of jacket on the selected fabric. I “breathe” history and tradition, in his movements I get lost over time. All around me there is a fierce and proud silence. The artisans jealously guard ancient secrets. On these hands I see moving, there are a dash of mystery, in their gestures there are secular rituals. Suddenly I remember a story I read while I was at the library, this book narrated the "Confraternita dei Sartori" story: groups of religious taught the art of sewing to Neapolitan youths . A young man is in charge for "ndrillanti": slow stitches take the form of a "curl"; and then the workers go on to sewing again, along the track of chalk on the pattern. There are dozens and dozens of stitches, all perfectly identical.
While the artisans are working on the "quart annanz", they explain me that my jacket will be fully canvassed. Skillful hands sew the canvas on the "front" of the jacket, the canvas is assembled with natural fibers: horsehair alternated with linen and cotton. The first one is used to give elasticity to the tissues and guarantee a perfect fit even after this has been worn for a long time. Next step is to mark and outline with chalk the pinces on the "front", these ones have to be sewed to the bottom of the jacket, as recommended by the ancient tradition. Long pinces give the jacket an open cut, giving it a unique, exclusive and elegant curvature.
First Fit Test
"Mr Rossi, please follow me for the first fit test." I’m in front of a big mirror. I can see my jacket reflected on it: it looks perfect to me but the tailor and the artisans don’t agree with me. A tailor and two workers come to me with a meter: “Scoll, o’ cuppin 1 cm e miez. Rientriamo e “quart annanz” .. and "quart annanz". They speak to each other’s and ask me to open a bit my arms or to move in this or that way. Silence. "No No, acca's duje cm". "Allá va good." The tailors are looking for the unseen imperfections in my jacket, they find them and correct them: slackness, low side, mounting, weighting. Terms that illustrate a world, a timeless story. After the test, they take off my jacket with tact and courtesy.
This is the dimension of work and passion, tenacity and perseverance. I am absorbed in a luxury that puts me at ease, in a simple beauty. After the first test, the jacket is sewed again and opened on the big table, in order to revise technical features on the garments. The artisan attaches the lining, marks with chalk the pockets and fits the sleeves. The tailor bastes their right sleeve from the bottom side (always rigorously by hand) and the same tracking is made to hold them until they are sewed. It's something magical and fascinating.
"The stitching test of the rever" handmade I’m attending now, captures me, they call it "puntatur ro piett". The cotton is finished and they go to pick it up from the warehouse. The collar and the linings inside the sleeves are sewed to the jacket. At this point, the tailor inserts gracefully his hand in the shoulder and drops the sleeve into a natural movement, checking whether the sleeve "drops" fairly straight or hangs from either side. How much attention, what an art, how much passion for the work ... My jacket is in production again, for the last steps. After every stage it's getting more and more personalized, choose, mine.
1, 2, ... 6 collar small rips. Than they sew on a "blanket" – a fabric that covers the undercut in felt – in order to "close it". Before the cotton is white, beautifully robust, for basting, then it’s black. And then they go on with dozens and dozens of incalculable stitches.
There is a person in charge only for the eyelets and the stitches. The tailor explains me what is it and which one is the top and which one is the bottom of it and why it must necessarily be strong and perfect, in order to receive and hold the button firmly. They start to stitch by hand and go through all the eyelets, stitch after stitch, everyone with the same precision and the same passion.
The embroidered embellish the whole jacket, both inside and outside, with silk: small stitches, far one from the each other with the same extent, passing through several pieces of fabric. They ask me how I prefer them: invisible and thin, or a bit thicker? Thicker of course. They hold needle and thread again to sew. And again, as at every stage, I'm fascinated.
“Here you have your jacket, you can wear it!”
On my eyes the fabric I chose. The perfume of the ironing steam. To the touch I can feel an extreme lightness. On my skin, a shiver. All my senses in one thought: I have a masterpiece on me.