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The Neapolitan tailoring

Let's start from the beginning of the history of Neapolitan tailoring

It was 1351 when, in the church of S. Eligio al Mercato in Naples, the Confraternity of the Sartori was born. Neapolitan elegance takes shape when Naples is at the height of splendor, capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, socio-economic center, fashion reference point no less than London and Paris. At the end of the 1400s, small wool and silk industries flourished in Naples, offering coveted cuts and fabrics in all European courts.

The Neapolitan tailoring school develops mainly during these years, from the moment in which many master tailors are called to work for the Aragonese court. French Bernardo Plastet becomes Ferdinand I's personal tailor; Spanish Alvaro of Salamanca designed the stole of the Equestrian Order of Our Lady of the Garters; French Giovanni Peticto was chosen as the personal tailor of the Duke of Calabria (I specify that the pseudo Spanish names of these Neapolitan thoroughbred tailors were imposed by the Aragonese dominion).

The 1400

During the 1400s the Neapolitan sartorial school flourished. Neapolitan tailors were often asked to go to work in other cities, moving to Milan. Neapolitan tailors were also the first to launch ready-to-wear menswear. Until a century ago in the chapel dedicated to San Michele Arcangelo inside the church of Sant’Eligio al Mercato there were portraits of two tailors, Angelo Sicignano and 12 Romano di Stefano. Historian Carlo Filangieri in a paper documents how the two tailors cut clothes and then sell them in different cities, donating part of the proceeds to the church as a gift.

Between 1600 and 1800

In 1611 there were 607 registered tailors in Naples, all authorized to work in tailoring and recognized by the brotherhood. However, let's say around the mid-1600s, the Neapolitan tailoring school began to lose clients and prestige. Between 1700 and 1800, Neapolitan fashion languished: wealthy landowners, merchants and members of the aristocracy wore clothes that were considered completely out of fashion in important centers such as Milan, London and Paris. The Bourbon court rejected the French fashion of the moment in favor of

local trends by adding flamboyant details to their outfits rather than following clean, pure lines.

The history of Neapolitan men's tailoring is very long. It is full of great names and great stories. Of families who started in small shops and are now in charge of large industries. It was the great tailors who made Naples great in the nineteenth century: the inspiration, the incomparable craftsmanship, the opulence of the shops and the refinement of the fabrics fascinate kings and heads of state. The streets of the city welcome the European nobility and the tailors dress them in new cuts and colors, dictating the trends of the time. First at De Nicola in via Partenope, the first Neapolitan tailor whose fame went beyond the borders
national, and then by the master Raffaele Sardonelli, by the Caggiula and Rubinacci families, below in a recent photo

Neapolitan tailoring in 1900

Until 1930, the Neapolitan taste was mainly identified with the Anglo-Saxon one, but in the following years that unshakable and uncompromising rigor of English elegance in the hands of the Neapolitans began to lighten, leaving room for comfort. Neapolitan tailoring continues its rise: the twentieth century is the time of the great names in men's tailoring, such as Marinella, Kiton and Isaia, capable of transforming small artisan shops into large industries, symbol of Made in Naples elegance.

The jackets are shortened, the lines are softened, the fabrics, even the heaviest ones, are treated with such skill as to be comfortable and wearable. A rapid renewal dictated and imposed by the very high artisan quality of the names that have established themselves on the Neapolitan tailoring scene.
Recognized by right as the progenitor is Salvatore Morziello who, since the beginning of the century, has managed the most important Neapolitan men's tailoring in via Chiaia: this is where the first president of the Republic De Nicola dresses.

It is in the great Neapolitan tailors that the personalities of politics and entertainment find their style reference point and it is in the beach fashion boutiques in Capri, Ischia and Positano that famous personalities and members of the international jet set dress up in glamor.

Neapolitan elegance can be recognized with a glance.

Sergio Cairati

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