by Ron Miriello
Since viewing the John Turturro 2010 film Passione, I have been intrigued by the contradictions of Naples and, since seeing the 2011 Gianluca Migliarotti movie O’mast, I’ve been curious about its subject, the custom tailors of Naples. Naples has always been and still is the bespoke tailoring center or Italy. Families like Ciardi, Attolini, Panico, Pirozzi and Rubinacci are among the multi-generational tailoring families who continue to refine the Napolitano tailoring style — the “sprezzatura”, that Napolitano way of making whatever one does look effortless and almost without thought.
Mariana Rubinacci has carried the Rubinacci tailoring torch from his father until most recently when he handed that torch to his son Luca. Just how does this generation of tailors balance the bespoke tailoring traditions with the dynamics of a global marketplace coupled with its growing reputation? This is a balancing act the artigiani are juggling throughout Italy. Luca Rubinacci, who has positioned himself as the style-master and the new face of Rubinacci, spent time with me recently, sharing his thoughts on balancing quality with growth.
Luca recalled this situation: “A trusted store in Korean presented me with a challenge. They needed more suits to satisfy an uptick in the demand. For me, the distance and quantity posed a problem so after much thought I came up with an idea. I decided to offer the Korean store owner an exclusive suit style, one that would be specifically tailored to their individual client, with Rubinacci silk linings of Korean motifs which would appeal to the store’s very discerning customer while at the same timemaintaining a strong relationship with the store owner.” I see this as a thoroughly modern solution that affords some customization without loss of control. Smart, global/local thinking at work.
Realizing that fitting a suit takes time and isn’t fully appreciated or understood today, brought Luca to another innovation. “ When I make a suit it is expressly for you and how you live. And I want you to understand why we design the suit the Napolitano way. I now have a program where you come to Rubinacci, you stay at our villa in Napoli, you use our boat to cruise the bay of Naples and you sink into what it means when we say “Naples style.” After a few days of fittings here, the Rubinacci suit is no longer a suit, it is a souvenir of your new world, your new friend, Napoli.”
In a world hungry for real and authentic, Luca Rubinacci is finding ways to innovate in terms of fashion and in the experiences he creates through his products. He is helping move tailoring forward by creating memories as enduring as his bespoke suits.