As mentioned on Monday, last week I was in Madrid to speak at a meeting of the El Aristocrata gentleman’s club. Speakers below, left to right: tailor Jose Maria Reillo, shoemaker Norman Vilalta, me, Jose Maria (El Aristocrata) and Luca Rubinacci. 

It was a nice event and great to see so many young Spanish men with a passion for tailoring, particularly in a country where there has been so little focus on bespoke for years. And credit must go to Jose Maria, the aristocrat himself, for turning a blog into something more substantial. 
Luca, of course, we know very well, and his rhapsodising about the future of menswear went down very well, as did his demonstrations of the virtues of the Neapolitan cut. And he manages to make strong colours work together well. Which I admire ever so much more.


Norman, on the other hand, I did not know but is a true artist and a lovely man to boot. Below, a one-piece shoe of his with the leather lasted over the heel, and the shoes he was wearing – made with frayed cloth and worn to death in his Mallorcan workshop.

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Hi Simon,

I somehow desagree with you.
Spain has a very long tailoring tradition but unfortunately we have had amazing tailors but we have been horrible selling our products.

He have amazing wine but people buy french wine. We have very good olive oil but people buy the italian one.

And we also have a very long bespoke tradition. I guess everyone knows Balenciaga work. That was real bespoke; all done by hand. And what about Pertegaz? And many others.

If we talk about fashion I have to agree that our tailors are a littel bit old fashion but if we talk about quality in the hand work no one can says is better than us. They can be better seller but for sure no better tailors. And this is basically because my country had been forced to work with its own hands for many years just beccause we could not affored the prices of the hand sewn machines.

And it happens the same when it comes to shoes. We have Carmina Aldalejo but they are only 250 euros so let´s buy Allen Edmonds or Edward Green. We have very good cloth, Gorina, but lets buy Scabal.

Unfortunately this is how we are the Spaniards.

Alberto Oro


Totally agree with you Alberto… Spanish brands maybe need some marketing lessons… but it’s true that we know how to do it, for example with the food.


Hi Simon,

It was a big pleasure to meet you in Madrid last Thursday. It’s always good to have these oportunities to share this passion with people like you.

Cannot wait for the next time!



Dear Simmon,
It was a pleasure to attend yours excellents comments about tailoring.
Thank you very much to share with us your time.
I hope to meet you again.



Simon, surely you’re just trying to stir up the trolls… both of those pairs of shoes are hideous… I pray it’s not just me…


You’re wearing a beautiful suit, Simon.
Who made it?


Two questions, Simon. (1) What would you say are the best value bespoke shoes
one can get (preferably in London)? I don’t really particularly /want/ to get
bespoke shoes, but I’m learning that there are no RTW English shoes that fit my
feet, whose front-to-back broadness ratio is too high (an Asian trait, I’ve
heard): either they squeeze my pinky inwards or they slip (I’ve tried on G&G,
Cleverley, Edward Green, and other brands. The only in my taste half decent
looking shoes that fit me are from the Italian brand Moma, which I take it
flies too low to have been visible on your radar.) Whence: (2) do you think I
have any other option than bespoke?