I recently took delivery of a set of linen shirts from D'Avino in Naples (it's been a good quarter...) and I thought the colour selection I ended up with was interesting.
I'm increasingly moving away from the more corporate colours of white and light blue, in favour of more interesting tones such as these.
It's a relatively easy way to add interest to a navy jacket or grey suit, and a subtler one than windowpane checks or bright handkerchiefs as well.
The dark blue, indigo-like colour won't surprise many people, as I've worn similar colours in cotton before.
It goes well under casual navy jackets and with mid-greys. And on a sunny day, is particularly nice with cream trousers.
There is a suggestion of a denim shirt - if in a relatively raw state - which helps it appear a touch rugged too.
The green shirt, lovely as it is, I have found extremely hard to wear.
I was inspired by shots from Luca Faloni's campaigns, showing a rather good-looking guy wearing the same colour with white trousers in the full glare of Italian sunlight.
Unfortunately, it turns out that's pretty much the only time it can be worn. Certainly, it is best with cream trousers or denim - perhaps navy chinos at the outside.
The oatmeal colour, on the other hand, is extremely wearable. It’s also a great, casual alternative to white or blue.
Just don’t wear it with tan or anything remotely oatmeal in colour itself.
I think it’s worth taking this opportunity to highlight the fineness of the handwork in D’Avino shirts.
D’Avino is the most expensive of the three shirtmakers I normally recommend (Simone Abbarchi and Luca Avitabile being the other two) and has by far the most hand stitching – both functional and aesthetic.
Above you can see the hand-rolled bottom hem of the shirt, which is perhaps the most impressive point as it is the most time-consuming. (Also arguably the most pointless since no one will ever see it.
Above you can see the gusset at the side of the shirt - and running upwards from it, the side seam, which is also sewn by hand (though also reinforced by machine).
Below, meanwhile, is the shirt cuff, where the sleeve has been gathered in gradually by hand all the way round.
That careful gathering of fullness is what controls the distinctive ripples of a Neapolitan shirt at the top of the shoulder (below).
Although most shirts from Naples have this touch, D'Avino exaggerates it slightly, which gives extra definition to the end of the shoulder.
Finally, below, you can see the back part of the sleeve (running towards the bottom right) and the shoulder seam (running towards the left). Both with the tell-tale pick marks of the hand stitching.
We've discussed before the benefits of different aspects of this handwork, but it's hard to deny the beauty of it - and it's nice to be reminded of how it turns an otherwise functional garment into one of real beauty.
D'Avino shirts start at €350 and the first batch has a minimum of three.
Fiorenzo is not in London that often, but will be back in September. More details closer to the time.
He also has a new email address for those wanting to get in touch: [email protected]
The linens, by the way, were sourced by a friend from non-bespoke stock. But there are similar colours in the Albini and Canclini bunches.