The tailoring map of Europe displays two cities, which compete with each other for the title of the capital of masculine, timeless style – London and Naples. Hundreds of articles have been written about the London tailors from Savile Row – but the Naples craftsmen remain little known.

The Italians have been leaders of fashion and style for dozens of years. That country still has the culture of dressing well – which has nothing in common with the corporate culture. An Italian male wants to, likes and must look well. A large part of his life is lived “in the street” – meetings with friends, lunches, afternoon coffee breaks, dinners – all this obliges the man to take care of his looks and clothes.

The Italian language has even a separate verb which denotes dressing well: „bel vestirsi”.

The sense of aesthetics is being developed from early childhood. A boy receives his first tailored suit already for the first communion.

Quite often, the same tailor sews clothes for several generations of the same family. The grandfather, the son and the grandson – they all dress at the same shop. Tradition is passed on from generation to generation. The relationship with the family tailor is based not only on trust, but on many years of friendship too.

In the south of Italy, the best place to order tailor-made suits is, undisputedly, Naples. The local tailors have developed special cuts and techniques for forming and finishing the suits, which have become famous among men who value elegance.

The Brits, travelling around Italy, soon took off their heavy English clothes, replacing them with light Italian ones. Such suits better were better suited to the local, hot climate. They were equally elegant, while their construction was lighter. Instead of redoing the suits made by British tailors, the Italians offered the visiting foreigners the local, exceptionally elegant cut.

So where is the essence of the Neapolitan style? It lies primarily with the cut, the finish and the haberdashery. The tailors of Naples use the minimum volume of fabric necessary to create the right construction, they very rarely resort to shoulder pads. The fabrics they use are thinner; also, the full lining is seen very rarely – jackets are either half-lined or completely without lining. This all works to make the suit jacket light, loose-fitting and look natural on the shoulders. The cut is more slim, the jacket is tailored, but at the same time extremely comfortable. The sleeve is sown in rather high – the jacket is comfortable, does not restrain movement. The width of lapels is also typical for the Neapolitan style – they are much wider than in the case of London-made jackets.

A good Neapolitan jacket cannot be machine-made. It requires handcrafting. Three elements are essential – knowledge, patience and passion.

The most recognizable part of the Napoli-made jacket is the sleeve set-in, called “spalla camicia”. No shoulder pads are used, the shoulder line is very natural. The name is derived from the manner in which a shirt sleeve is attached. This is best visible in the way the fabric fits at the place where the sleeve meets the torso – the fabric is slightly creased. Such sleeve pitch requires immense precision and more than fifteen adjustments of the fabric. Only careful handwork and experience of the tailor can guarantee the proper final result.

Another form of setting the sleeve is the „con rollino” method. Here, too, no shoulder pads are used. The shoulder line is natural, following the curves of the body. The fabric at the end of the sleeve is rolled before sewing (hence the name), and next attached to the jacket torso. This creates a characteristic protrusion at the seam.

These two methods are typical for Neapolitan tailoring. A trained eye would recognize the style instantly, and the jacket’s owner could be easily classified as connoisseur.

Names such as Kiton, Attolini, Sartoria Partenopea accelerate the heart rate among the experts and lovers of the Neapolitan style. This is the crème de la crème among the top tailors. Their work is simply excellent. Next to a good class mechanical watch or a great car, a hand-tailored suit or jacket shall become the sign of prestige and status.

The Balthazar company is the first and only one in Poland to be using the services of experienced tailors of the Sartoria Partenopea. The best fabrics, handcraft and the legendary skills of Italian cutters are now within the reach of the Polish customer. Thanks to the passion, persistence and experience of Balthazar specialists, and their passion for Italian elegance, the legendary Neapolitan look has finally arrived in Warsaw.

Hand tailoring is an art. In Naples, it is also an element of the local tradition and a very important part of what the Italians call l’arte della vita – the art of living.

Artur Stykowski