These past few days I’ve been in Madrid, speaking at the Aristocrata club meeting and seeing a few of the tailors and shoemakers I know (Langa, Reillo, Calvo de Mora, Norman Vilalta).
I invited Elia Caliendo and Luca Avitabile of Satriano Cinque to speak to the club (on my right and far right in the pic above) and it was lovely to see them enjoy talking about their craft to an audience for the first time. Many of those Spanish tailors were in the audience, and both sides found it interesting discussing the roots of tailoring in Naples and Spain. The influence of Spanish tailors on southern Italian tailoring is often overlooked – they travelled extensively, both to Italy and France.
Wearing blue linen jacket from Anderson & Sheppard, with navy grenadine tie and grey-linen hank with white edging (from Trunk). I’m a big fan of the grey handkerchief at the moment – it’s not quite as smart and stark as plain white, and I like the softer impact.
It’s always great to have such events… and always great to have you here, Simon!
It looks as if your audience is without tie, but all speakers tied.
There were a good few ties among the audience
Have you had anything made by Spanish tailors Simon?
We obviously all know the well known “centres of excellence” in London, Italy and Paris (which was new to me until I read your blog).
Is there a difference to Spanish tailoring style in the same way there is between British v Italian? I read your other pieces on Madrid, but could not form an overall view if it’s that you are simply recognizing more high-quality European cities for tailoring or is that there is something distinctive to it.
Although I do quite like the sound of having something made by the same tailors to the Spanish King (or Prince Charles for that matter) there is something ego-satisfyingly vain about it which I can say anonymously and without impunity on an internet forum 😉
I actually started the process of having a few things made on this most recent trip, so watch this space.
Overall I would say Spanish tailors don’t have a characteristic style. They are used to being very flexible and versatile, and are therefore places you impose your own style. Everything from different shoulder pad sizes to regular/shirt shoulders and lining options.
The work is good, with a lot of handwork but not up to the standard of the best (some Savile Row and all French).
And importantly, they are very good value. Between €1800 and €2500 for a suit.
I think Mr. Caliendo is saying, “…and if you have only one shirt, it should have a spread collar.” (The rest of the panel nods their heads in agreement.)
I think Elia actually started by saying ‘no tailor is the best, no opinion is correct; this is merely my point of view’. Which surprised everyone, given what they normally get from Italians.
Very nice jacket and colour. What bunch is it, if you remember?
It’s the W Bill linen bunch. I don’t know the bunch name off hand, but I think there’s only one.
Thanks for the response.
Yes, lovely colour blue suit you are wearing .
I have been told off for only wearing BLUE and GREY, almost to the point wearing I think my new Naples tailor was a little frustrated by the fact I was only looking at blue swatches… (2 different garments).
You must write a piece on how to break free of the shackles of always wearing the same colours. Anything else just feels too risky!
Looking forward to seeing the Madrid garments.
Thanks J, good idea
Do you know who the tailor to the King of Spain is? I’ve seen photos of him in very nice suits.
The King’s tailor is Gonzalo Larrainzar and the Prince’s is Jaime Gallo.
Mariano, the shirtmaker at Langa, is however the maker to the King and Prince
Would you be so kind to explain in what sence Spanish tailoring is not as good as the best English and French ones?
Thanks a lot
Jose Antonio (Madrid)
Hi Jose Antonio,
That point was just related to the work (rather than fit, or style). There is a lot of handwork in Spanish suits, but the finishing isn’t up to the very high standards of French tailors such as Cifonelli or Camps de Luca, or English tailors like Chittleborough & Morgan. If you look at my posts on those tailors, you should see the difference. Then again, those tailors charge more than twice as much as the Spanish…
I reserve any comments about the quality of the fit until I’ve had some things made by Spanish tailors – which are in the works at the moment.
Any other questions let me know
So Spanish tailors charge less when compared with the best French and Italian tailors and their finishing is not as good. I guess the price reflects the quality of the work.
Having worked in Japan and Hong Kong a few years back, I have noticed that the finishing by top Japanese tailors were much better than the top Hong Kong tailors. And top Japanese tailors charge twice that of top Hong Kong tailors. As you have worked in Hong Kong before, have you noticed this as well?
The price doesn’t really reflect the quality of the work – it’s more a reflection of the market, the economy and the tradition. Their finishing is as good as plenty of English and Neapolitan tailors I know, all of whom charge more (though some Neapolitans are also cheap).
The Japanese attention to detail is very high, almost to the point where it’s not a generalisation any more across the industry. There the comparison with Hong Kong over price is more accurate – as the vast majority of HK tailors are low quality. But compare Japan to most other places and it’s not quite so accurate…
Hope that helps
I never had anything made by Japanese tailor personally. But upon return to London the suits I commissioned from Anderson and Sheppard seemed much better than those I had from WW Chan or A Man. So in this sense, I presumed A&S charged more because they put more work (handwork/attention to detail) when compared with WWChan or A Man. Therefore, in a way justifying the price difference. Any opinion on this?
Again, the price difference is largely down to London real estate, London wages etc, rather than attention to detail. But quality is still a part of it. You should certainly expect an A&S suit to be superior in fit, and possibly in finish (though that hasn’t historically been a strong point for them)