Last August 2016 I got measured for my first bespoke suit by Neapolitan tailor Sartoria Dalcuore. Founder and master tailor Luigi Dalcuore started making suits at a young age steadily growing his business over the last 50 years. Today, they are one of the more well-known sartorias (tailoring houses) in Naples, Italy. Maestro Luigi is usually accompanied by daughter Cristina or her husband Damiano during trunk shows around the world. Signet, the men’s clothing store I manage in Manila, hosts Sartoria Dalcuore four times a year to take orders and conduct fittings.
Sartoria Dalcuore is what I would call true bespoke. Many tailors in Manila will tell you they do bespoke but in reality do not. True bespoke requires multiple fittings each stage closer to being finished to achieve the perfect fit. The perfect fit means that the garment should be sculpted close to the body without being tight. It should enhance physique while at the same time hiding defects. Lastly, it should provide a wide range of movement in the arms. Each garment is fully canvassed and made by hand taking anywhere between six months to a year to finish.
My suit would be single-breasted with three-roll-two buttons while the trousers will have single pleats and two inch cuffs. The fabric I chose was Holland & Sherry Crispaire in dark brown. My experience with Crispaire has been excellent. It drapes well, wears cool due to its open weave and resists wrinkles owing to its high twist construction. Grey would have been the natural choice for my next suit but I find the color quite drab. Fellow menswear enthusiasts Simon Crompton and Paul have suits in the same fabric (both made by Sartoria Dalcuore) giving me a full preview of the finished suit. Dark brown looks rich, elegant and wonderfully shows the silhouette and tailoring.
In November 2016 I had my first fitting with Maestro Luigi. The first thing I noticed is that the jacket is cut closer to the body. This much is clear after having tried excellent ready to wear by Ring Jacket and made-to-measure by Orazio Luciano. On my Sartoria Dalcuore jacket the lapels were flat on my chest, it wasn’t tight around my biceps and had much higher armholes. A high armhole allows for a wide degree of movement without the jacket pulling around the back and below the armhole.
During the fitting Maestro Luigi checks every part of the garment to ensure a perfect fit. He focuses on the collar first ripping off the canvas to make sure that it hugs the neck. He looks at the chest and the back to see if there are any imbalances that need to be corrected. This usually happens when one shoulder is lower or larger than the other. He takes note of the proper sleeve length. He asks if I’d like the waist of my trousers to fit tighter while pinching the back and I tell him, poco poco, which means “a bit” in Italian.
As this was the first fitting certain details can be fine-tuned. Maestro Luigi asked me how I liked my trousers to fit. I told him I wanted the rise to be higher and have a fuller leg. For my jacket I wanted it to be slightly longer than Neapolitan standards. My lapels to be 10.5 cm wide and the shoulders to be slightly extended and con rollino. The slightly extended shoulders will look more relaxed while the con rollino shoulder will give it a touch of formality without any padding. This is a departure from my Orazio Luciano suit which had a closer cut shoulder and a spalla camicia shoulder.
I’m quite pleased with the first fitting of my suit. I’m looking forward to Maestro Luigi’s visit in February for my second fitting.