Rather like Maglia, which we discussed earlier in the week, Merola is among the very best makers in its field – in this case, gloves. Both are also based in Rome and have a similarly stellar roster of private-label clients.
There is more competition in gloving, of course, with a decent number of hand makers around Europe and many hand-cutting but machine sewing, as most of Merola’s are. Dent’s and Chester Jefferies are the leaders in the UK.
These makers tend to come with a long history, and the smart ones make the most of it. The Dent’s archive is certainly worth a look if you are ever in the area, but Merola goes one step further and often recreates old designs. The best example on display at Pitti was a hand-sewn driving glove made beautifully in chamois leather (below).
Most of the other designs being pushed at Pitti weren’t quite to my taste, such as gloves edged with a silk that would match your tie, or stitching in contrasting colours. It’s often the way at trade shows – the most eye-catching things are needed to grab attention but they’re not what people buy. Bresciani always has keyboards or Shakespeare stanzas on its socks.
The peccary and capybara models – the king and queen of glove materials – were beautiful though, capybara (carpincho) best in a deep green and a thick, cashmere-lined version. Best of all was a chunky, knitted cashmere glove lined with more cashmere. It made your hands sweat just standing there.
There is a list of stockists on the Merola website and A Suitable Wardrobe also carries a good range.