Italian brands like Canali, Corneliani, Zegna and Pal Zileri all place a lot of emphasis upon the family ethic of their production and the hand-made nature of their suits. At least with the highest label, such as Zegna’s Couture or Sartoriale at Pal Zileri, there is a pride about buttonholes and sleeveheads being sewn by hand. (The latter being a question of comfort, the former more of status and aesthetics.)

While not quite reaching the heights of Brioni or Kiton, these four brands all make very well constructed suits and have individual devotees. One thing that I have always felt stands out about Pal Zileri, though, is the design.

Last year I remember browsing the Pal Zileri store on Bond Street and becoming fascinated with an unlined, unconstructed cashmere overcoat. Navy on the outside, orange check on the inside. It seemed so unlike anything I had seen in any comparable brand. Needless to say, when I came to researching this piece last week, the overcoat had sold out, the last few pieces snapped up in the sale.
Yet there was still no lack of design quirks on display. Not all unique to Pal Zileri, perhaps, but symptomatic of the psychology behind the brand. One unlined blazer I looked at, for example, had a very neat little floating pocket sewn to the inside hip (above). While not necessarily innovative, it was very fitted and sharp where those of other brands can seem like rather an afterthought.

That same blazer also purposefully left its internal seams open along the sides of the jacket and under the shoulders, so you could see the horsehair-and-cotton lining and delicate shoulder pads (above). Also, mother-of-pearl buttons on black cashmere.

I also like the fact that the trouser cuffs in the Sartoriale range all have buttons that attach them to the trouser leg, so you can let them down when they’re being cleaned (below). And the buttons are identical to those on the front of the jacket, only smaller.

The internal chest pockets also extend above the opening as well as below, to help hold cheque books or particularly long wallets without making the pocket too deep (below). And there’s standard details like coin pockets and split waistbands.

Around 70% of the Sartoriale jackets are handsewn, with a particular focus on sleeves, buttonholes and linings. There’s always a handsewn loop behind the lapel to secure one’s boutonniere as well. The cloth is always cut by machine, though, and the next option up is made-to-measure rather than bespoke.

Pal Zileri is a relative newcomer to the UK, but one with a growing fanbase. Its emphasis on design is also clear from the more experimental Lab range, which now has its own dedicated store in London’s Westfield shopping centre.