Custom Made Suit by Atelier Di Martino, Marinella Tie, And Custom Shirt by Camiceria TMC

PLEASE NOTE : I rarely dress this conservatively.
14 Pictures are at the end of the Article.

My uncle, Zio Peppino, is a retired Master Tailor. Born in Italy, he started working at the “Sartoria” across the tiny street from his house at age 9 !!! At 15, he came to the United States and quickly promoted his talents. Besides owning his own, successful Tailor shop in Midtown Manhattan, he was proud to have done work for Oleg Cassini and boast a list of his own, personal clients, with big names like Anthony Quinn, John Travolta, Yoko Ono, Jake La Motta, and many more. He even was feautured on “The David Letterman Show” multiple times. He created for Letterman a custom made suit. The whole journey was documented on the program, as my uncle came back again and again to have Letterman try on the suit and make the necessary adjustments. It was a very beautiful time for all of us, as we proudly watched Zio Peppino get noticed and appreciated on National Amercian Television. Everybody wanted that Letterman custom made suit.

My whole Life, I have always wanted a Custom Made Suit by an Italian Master Tailor.
I get bogged down with so many ideas that I often end up putting more than half of these plans on the back burner. Sadly, Zio Peppino retired and I never had him make me a custom suit.

Since I appreciate well made things created out of Love, Imagination, and Passion, it was always a goal of mine to somehow manage to get a suit made in Italy, where I go once a year. I say “somehow” because we are talking about Italy. As much as I love that country, I hate its bureaucracies, inefficiencies, and constant postponing. I have went to Italy almost 30 times in my Life, almost each time with the goal of getting a custom made suit and every time I tried, I was met with ” Si, Si, Domani, Domani” (Yes, Yes, Tomorrow, Tomorrow).

This time, I made it a point to go to my cousin’s Master Tailor in Salerno.

But first, I had to go to Linea Italiana Dei F.lli Cepparulo, a fabric store in Salerno with a dazzling array of high quality men’s and women’s fabrics. The whole process was extremely fun and quite anxiety producing, since there were so many beautiful items to choose from, but can only walk away with one or a few. I went with a medium gray, Super 180 wool that is suitable for 3 seasons. Linea Italiana is the only place my cousin goes to get what he knows will be high quality fabrics.

My cousin Giannino (Giovanni) is a lawyer for the Vatican. Everything he does is done perfectly with constant attention to detail and elegance. If HE goes to Atelier Di Martino, it must be great !

Walking in the building of the Atelier, like so many in Italy, I noticed there was an old-school Elevator that is in a sort of “open cage” shaft and has a door to manually open. I couldn’t wait to reach the Sartoria, which was only one flight up, so I ran up the stairs. And there it was.

Atelier Di Martino is an amazing operation with Signor Felice Di Martino at the helm. Like my Zio Peppino, all true Tailors say that they do not know how you can even be a good tailor if you have not been doing it since childhood. By 14, you are already too old to start ! Think about that when you hear or see these new “tailors” who took a class and have been doing it for a few years, at best. Some are not even Tailors and just take measurements and have it shipped to China to be made. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that at all, but they should not be considered Artisans, like Zio Peppino or Di Martino.

Felice Di Martino started Tailoring at 6 years old. S-I-X years old. Yes, you read that correctly. When he was 11 years old, he made his first jacket for his own Holy Communion. Yes, you read that correctly.

There are many reasons why Italy is the most influential Culture in History. The list is endless. Quantitavely and Qualitatively, there are no close seconds. One reason Italy leads the World in the Arts of any and all kinds, besides it being in the Blood, is her rich History of Artisanship. Artisans perfected their crafts and had “workshops”, where, usually instead of school or as an extra to school, children went to work as Apprentices. The children were usually not paid and considered it a privilege to even get the opportunity to train with ” O’ Mast’ “. O’ Mast’ in Neapolitan Dialect means the Master, the Boss, the Teacher. It is an affectionate term used out of respect. There was even an amazing documentary made about Neapolitan Tailoring called “O’ Mast’ “, which I recommed you all watch.

Unfortunately, when I went to Atelier Di Martino, Signor Felice was sick in the Hospital. I met his gracious son, Antonio. Though ” O’ Mast’ ” was not there, his top tailors, who also have been Tailoring since very early childhood, were there to make sure every need and desire I had were addressed. Vincenzo Carlino and Antonio Tesauro went out of their ways to make a gorgeous Di Martino suit, even in the absence of Signor Felice. As Vincenzo and Antonio took measurements the first time and made adjustements the second and third times, Felice’s son Antonio, wrote down everything. I insist on being very detailed and I often run into people who are not up to speed nor willing to do the job. With Atelier Di Martino, it was the exact opposite. They were more concerned about my suit than I was and it’s that drive that makes them stand out. I knew this stemmed from the top, from ” O’ Mast’ “. I desperately wanted to meet Felice Di Martino and was praying for his speedy recovery.

Sadly, I will never get the chance to meet Signor Felice Di Martino. He passed away this August . As my cousin Giannino described Felice, he was always smiling and joking and wanting to have long conversations. Signor Di Martino used to always want to get to know the person first before making them a masterpiece. R.I.P. Felice Di Martino

For a video (in Italian) of Master Tailor and GREAT human being Felice Di Martino :

If I am going to wear a Di Martino suit, I would need a tie worthy of being next to it. Well, next to Salerno is Napoli, and there you find Master Tie Makers, Marinella.

Since 1914, Marinella has been one of the most important menswear destinations in the World. Though they are known for their amazing Neck Ties, they started off making dress shirts. From there, they moved on to elegant, handmade, 7-fold ties. The ties are all of the highest quality and though they have more of a conservative look, thanks to the founder’s admiration of English style, the Neapolitan character is still very evident. The most powerful people in the world, from presidents and prime ministers and heads of state to kings to movie stars to top businessman, all flock to the flagship and original store on Pizza Vittoria in Naples. In that tiny, 200 Square Foot space, the most powerful men in the world choose silk beauties that will go under their collars and elegenatly drape down their shirts, in between their jacket lapels. For those that know, a Marinella tie is instantly recognizable.

I was lucky enough to meet two of the ladies who are of the Marinella family. They enthusiastically shared the history of the store and even urged me to check out their new and much bigger upstairs space. As I walked around the building and checked out the spacious location, my heart raced as I wandered around wanting everything. Every man who values Art shold own a Marinella tie.

I urge you to check out the Marinella site.

To go the extra mile, I went back to Giannino’s hometown where he gets all of his shirts custom made. Teresa Mogavero of Camiceria TMC is a classic Italian operation. Run out of an annex to her house, Teresa, along with other Italian women, make beautiful and affordable shirts. Unfortunately, I did not choose and order the fabrics before-hand and had to choose the four they happend to have available at the moment. Luckily, the fabric for the white shirt I planned to wear with the Di Martino suit was just under 100 grams, making it a perfect light-weight, summer shirt for when I planned on doing the photo shoot for this article. Choosing collars was a great experience but not as fun and satisfying as finally getting sleeves that are the right length and width.

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At Linea Italiana, where my cousin goes for high quality fabrics.

 

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Sul mugliereme e o’ sart me ponne mett’ e man’ ‘nguoll.
TRANSLATION : ” Only my wife and my tailor can put their hands on me”

 

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At Atelier Di Martino, getting measured.

 

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Inside the 200 square foot ( !!! ) jewel of Marinella.

 

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With the ladies of Marinella.

 

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The second visit, where I try on a Masterpiece in progress.

 

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The Three Magi of Atelier Felice Di Martino, from left to right : Antonio Tesauro, Vincenzo Carlino, Antonio Di Martino.

 

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Split image of both Shoulders.
The shoulders are completely unpadded and have a natural shape and slope, making it characterstically Neapolitan. The Neapolitan Tailoring term “Spalla Camicia” refers to suit jacket shoulders that mimic the shoulders of collared dress shirts. The “puckering” or pleat-like folds you see is referred to as ” Mappina” and is also very characteristcially Neapolitan. Only EITHER poorly, machine-made suits OR custom made Neapolitan, and now Neapolitan -“style” suits, have this. It is the mark of not only Naples Tailoring but a well-made custom suit.

 

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The jacket is a ” 3 bottoni Falsi ” , literally meaning a fake 3 button. The top bottom of the jacket is gently folded over. Note the “fold” is certainly not an angular and sharp one, but a gentle, roll-over, with the button tucked underneath. It’s casual and elegant at the same time, also characteristcially Neapolitan. The bottom of the jacket has “open quarters”. Of course, closed or open quarters depend on the body shape of the man wearing the suit, but open quarters give it more natural “flair”. Notice the slim sleeves throughout, that, with the sides of the jacket taken in, give a flattering and slim hourglass shape.
PLEASE NOTE : I have NO idea why the photo makes me look red. Perhaps when it was uploaded, something changed, but surely I am NOT lobster-red.

 

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Notice the high notch on the lapels. The way they SHOULD be.
PLEASE NOTE : I have NO idea why the photo makes me look red. Perhaps when it was uploaded, something changed, but surely I am NOT lobster-red.

 

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I decided to have the shirt made with a monogram, my Initials (G.R.) I am usually against something that may come off as “bragging” and I always was torn about monograms but with the custom made shirts, I just went for it. I had another shirt Monogrammed in a more discreet location, but for this lightweight, summer fabric, white shirt, I went for the classic Neapolitan location for a monogram, which is on the left, around the rib cage.
Notice the beautiful colors and pattern of a classic Marinella Tie.

 

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Si puo fare ginnastica. Neapolitan suits should be soft and easy to move in. You should be able to “exercise” in them ! In this jacket, I can easily move freely.
PLEASE NOTE : I have NO idea why the photo makes me look red. Perhaps when it was uploaded, something changed, but surely I am NOT lobster-red and the suit fabric is NOT “grainy” like in this photo.

 

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The sleeves are Functional, meaning they open, and come with “Kissing Buttons”, meaning they are slightly stacked and touching.
Notice the beautiful colors and pattern of a classic Marinella Tie.

 

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Generally speaking Pleats and Cuffs on Pants are not good. BUT if the pants are Italian in style and cut, both, but especially the cuffs, look great. I did not get pleats for the pants, but the cuffs are a nice touch.
As for the break, I prefer either a slight and gentle half-break or no break. Here, we see the perfect cuff and break. For some reason, my stance made the break seem sloppy, so I gently pulled up my pants, making the length a little too short and show an extra centimeter of sock the suit doesn’t allow naturally to show. Either way, what a break !!
As for the shoes, I prefer the more formal “Oxfords” over the slighlty more casual “Derbys” when wearing a suit. Oxford shoes are lace-ups that have a “closed front”, meaning the eyelets where the laces go into are stitched underneath the vamp of the shoe. Derbys on the other hand, are open with the face of the eyelet stitched on top of the vamp.
For the socks, I usually go with a “Filo di Scozia”. Filo di Scozia is called Lisle in English and is a super-fine and super-elegant cotton that Italians, like everything else beautiful, have become world masters at perfecting and producing. With suits, I prefer these types of socks and if it’s colder, I switch to a thicker sock. I very much detest these new “crazy” or “happy” or “funky” socks people are wearing with suits the past few years. Dressing well is a recent phenomenon in America and the rest of the World, where people can visit blogs and copy European, mostly Italian, style. To “safely” venture into a world outside of their usual boring nature, they want to “express” themselves through their socks. “It adds a pop” is a common and stupid thing I hear. Besides MAYBE stripes or pin dots or gargoyle, I almost always do solid color socks when wearing an elegant suit. I DO have more flamboyantly printed socks BUT I would only wear those with Chinos or Jeans. Sorry for the rant, it’s a pet peeve of mine.

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3 thoughts on “Custom Made Suit by Atelier Di Martino, Marinella Tie, And Custom Shirt by Camiceria TMC

  1. I had the privilege of knowing Felice since I was a little kid and the honour of wearing his masterpieces. It is difficult to describe the pleasure of wearing a perfectly tailored “manica a mappina” in the City of London. Great man RIP.
    I enjoyed your post a lot.

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