Maison Cilento in Naples: tailoring and tradition
Maison Cilento is one of the icons of Neapolitan tailoring’s ancient tradition, which proudly faced the “prêt-à-porter” fashion that swept Europe from the late 1800s, successfully upholding the more human aspects of this craftsmanship, based on the personal trust clients can place in their tailor.
As regards this historic transition, Andrea Zappulli has commented, “in some places of the world, tradition and knowledge accumulated in the past were so strong, so anchored to the environment and the landscape that surrounded them, that they were able to survive, changing while never losing their true nature and their original light.”
“Without a doubt, Naples was one of those places,” Zappulli continues. “While industrial methods and mechanization conquered Europe with vigor, Neapolitan tailoring continued to prosper with a network of workshops and completely artisanal laboratories. From Via Toledo – which still echoed with the shuffling of Hispanic militia and the ancient memories of the aristocratic palaces that line it – to the proud façade of Saint Charles’, famous tailors founded their workshops and flourished, honored by patrons from the whole world” (translated from A. Zappulli, “Il sarto”, Rogiosi editore, Naples 2015).
After all, as historian Raffaele De Cesare (1845-1918) explained effectively in an essay of his, “Naples is a European city where men perhaps always dressed well, merging French grace and British taste. […] The will to dress well, in Naples, always was almost a mania…” (translated from R. De Cesare, “La fine di un Regno”, Città di Castello 1895).
The history of Maison Cilento is rooted in the 18th century, and started with textile industry tradesmen and entrepreneurs from the area around Salerno; it developed in the early 1900s in the Campanian capital, with the inauguration of the boutique and tailor’s located in Palazzo d’Aquino di Caramanico.
Today the Maison is headquartered in Chiaia, the go-to neighborhood for shopping in Naples. So tradition continues to survive, and prosper.