Thursday, December 3, 2009

Borrelli, De Corato & Attolini - A Tale in Neapolitan Tailoring

I have always appreciated having a Borrelli store in the building where I work. Its easy to become completely immersed into the culture here and Borrelli's tailored Neapolitan aesthetic has continuously served as a reminder of my own identity and allowed me to keep my own design sensibility in check. On a recent visit I noticed that the sign above the door had changed. Upon entering, I realized that the name wasn't the only difference. David, the store's head buyer, explained that Fabio Borrelli's recent arrest just prior to the spring Pitti Uomo had forced the brand to cancel most of their orders. With the Borrelli company's future in limbo, the decision was made to take the boutique multi-brand. The newly named De Corato's current line-up now includes, among others, a made to measure shirt program by Finamore as well as tailored clothing by the unrivaled Neapolitan masters Cesare Attolini. The acquisition of Attolini is a true coup for De Corato as the move forward to encompass the entirety of the Neapolitan tailored lifestyle.

Enrico Libani of Cesare Attolini

Attolini's history in American menswear has been a brief one. Until recently, it was only available through Domenico Vacca, but the retailer and the suitmakers severed ties a little over a year ago, leaving the New York market wanting.

The boat shaped breast pocket

"We have a small but loyal following here. They understand that no one can match our quality," said Enrico Libani, the company's U.S. spokesman. Cesare Attolini, the company's namesake, developed and fine tuned his current manufacturing techniques with longs stays at Isaia and Kiton. Every single stitch is sewn by the hands of Neapolitan master tailors and their attention to detail is unparalleled. "Notice that the 'boat-shaped chest pocket' is curved. That is because your chest is curved. It takes an extra 45 minutes to baste this pocket so that it follows the curve of your body with more integrity. We have over 100 master tailors but we only produce 30 suits a day. Its our attention to detail that separates us from the others," said Libani.

The 2-button-tongue waist closure

Without knowing who I was, Enrico spent a similar 45 minutes with me, detailing the rest of the manufacturing process, fit and history of his company. This was done not as a sale or PR tactic, but because of the love and conviction he has about his product. "Its all about education," he told me as he guided me through a lesson on the interior construction of their tuxedo pant.

The shirt sleeve insert shoulder

Just like their tailoring process, Attolini educates their consumer the old fashioned way - the undertaking is longer and more tedious but the end result leaves a substantially more lasting impression. Congratulations again to David and the whole team at De Corato. You have made the best of an unfortunate situation and turned the excellent into the exceptional.

1 comment:

The Khaki Crusader said...

I had wondered where Borrelli went! I hadn't dared to venture over. Thanks for the post and the detective work.