What is it about the Italians that demand our awe when it comes to suiting? Of course there are other places where suits are produced, but that simple “Made in Italy” label on the inside of a suit is a game changer! But what is it that makes Italian suits so special?
In 1952 after the first fashion show held at Palazzo Pitti in Florence there were many names believed to have had a significant role in the design of the Italian suit, as we know it today. Some remarkable mentions are Ermenegildo Zegna, Nazareno Fonticoli (founder of Brioni) and Armani.
Regardless of the particular tailor or designer, there’s a common element that led to the Italian suit, Italians. Italians were not comfortable in the stiff and structured British cut. A suit that is too heavy to be worn comfortably in warmer weather. The concern was more with looking “clean.” Fits that are exacting and slim.This means no wrinkles or excess fabric.
There are several details that set an Italian suit apart. The one that really sets it apart is the weight or “lightness”. The garment, in fact, looks light, feels light, and wears light. It fits tight and close to the body. The canvas lining is also very light. The jacket is considerably less structured compared to American and British suit stylings, and as a result the cloth follows the wearers natural curves. The front of the jacket shows a pronounced V-shape, tight at the waist.
The sleek silhouette set by the jacket is a constant also in the pants, thus giving a smooth look from head to toes. The pants with a tapered waist, which fit tight to the hips. In the most traditional design, pants would end with a break. Nowadays, no-break type of pants is also common in Italian style. When it comes to the Italian suit the concern is more about individual style and relaxing on the idea of correctness. To stand out is the whole point!
I was recently in Cinque Terre - a small cluster of cities on the Mediterranean. As we took a bus from the mountain side down to the ocean, I noticed people hammering rocks back into the side wall. I asked the bus driver what was going on. He said that every day there are crews of men who pound the rocks back into the original walls - keeping the authentic, and original wall in tact. I thought to myself “there is no way something like this would exist in the states. We would concrete that wall and call it a day!” But this is exactly the difference between the Italians and the rest of us. For them, the labor is part of the craft, and staying authentic to how things are SUPPOSED to be made takes precedence over how things COULD be made. We are all about quick and dirty here, in Italy they are all about tradition and the art - and suiting is no exception.
At UWM Mens Shop we are excited to have Italian suits from Givocci, Kiton, Isaia, Brioni, Ermenegildo Zegna and Canali that carry on the tradition of Italian suiting at its best!