After months of indecision, I finally decided to have my length of Permanent Style tweed made up by Elia Caliendo in Naples. Every time I have been to Graham Browne recently, I see another length being made up for a reader. It looks beautiful, such a nice pale grey from a distance but with subtle colour up close. I finally cracked and gave the cloth to Elia when he was in London recently (he visits at least once a month).
Interestingly, Elia thought it was cloth for a woman’s jacket, as it was made on a single-width loom up in Lewis and was therefore half the width of regular jacketings. He says only women’s jacketing is ever made at that width in Italy. For men, only the Riva cotton shirting is made single width, as it too uses old-style looms.
I reassured him that this was a manly material. Given where it was woven, looking out onto the Arctic Ocean, it has to be.
I’m hoping that the softness of the Neapolitan construction and having the jacket half lined will enable me to appreciate the weave of the Permanent Style tweed. On the first fitting, pictured, in Naples, it certainly looked great, with the overlapping seams on the shoulder and down the back emphasising the texture of the material.
It will be made up, as with my first jacket, with three patch pockets and the ‘spalla camicia’ shoulder. I was a big fan of that first jacket and have recommended Elia to everyone I know since. It is the best fitting and among the best-made Neapolitan jackets I have seen. In particular, the collar hugs the neck very well, something I have seen other Neapolitan makers fall down on.
A search on Permanent Style and The Rake online will give more background information on Elia. I should say as well, by way of recommendation, that Elia’s English and age mean he is someone I can see myself establishing a relationship with over the years – something I only see with Luca Rubinacci elsewhere in Naples.