Musella-Dembech is a tiny tailor. They’re still based in the family home, even though recently they’ve expanded to make the whole appartment a working sartoria.

Their reputation, however, is rather larger. That’s down largely to the father’s background (Francesco Musella, who worked at influential tailors Mario Donnini and then Augusto Caraceni) and the skill and style of the son, Gianfrancesco.

(More on that background in previous posts here.)

Stylistically, the result is a cut with the strong lines and lapels of the Northern Italian tailors (such as Caraceni, who we covered in this series previously) but the soft structure and shoulders of the South (such as Solito, for example).

 

 

House: Musella Dembech

Address: Via Celestino IV 9, Milan

Site: www.muselladembechmilano.com

Cutter: Gianfrancesco Musella

Price (at time of writing): €6500 (incl VAT, price higher because of extra finishing around unlined body and sleeves)

Suit starting price: €5700 (incl VAT)

 

Gianfrancesco cut this suit for me in 2017, and it has become one of my favourites. Indeed, it was the basis for naming Musella-Dembech the Artisan of the Year in 2018.

Part of the reason is the navy cotton, which I really enjoy wearing in the summer.

Cotton like this does not hold a crease, and wrinkles much less elegantly than linen. But it is very comfortable, and pleasingly soft and casual in appearance.

The bigger reason, though, has to be the style. The shoulders are soft and natural, yet the lapels have real impact. It looks laid back, yet sharp.

I can’t think of another piece of tailoring I have that combines those elements so well.

 

 

Let’s break down that lapel, given how much it dominates the style of a double-breasted suit like this.

First of all, it’s wide. At the peak it is 4½ inches across. Compare that to the other double-breasted we’ve covered in this series, from Henry Poole, which was 3⅞.  

Second, it’s long. Its buttoning point is 19½ inches from the shoulder seam, which is slightly long anyway, but more so proportionately, given the relatively short length of the jacket (30¾ inches in the back seam).

Third, the gorge (where the lapel and collar meet) is high: just three inches from the shoulder. This makes it even longer, extending it at the top end. The peak is saved from flying off the shoulder (and looking silly as a result) by being quite flat.

Last, it is curved. It has what the English tailors call both ‘round’ and ‘belly’: both curving outwards from the waist button and continuing to do so through its middle. (Again, the Poole lapel looks even slimmer because it is relatively straight.)

 

 

I should say that the lightweight structure also means that the lapel can be buttoned fairly satisfactorily to the bottom row of buttons, rather than the middle.

This always means some kind of sacrifice to the fit, but it is slight.

And that lower buttoning (sometimes called ‘Kent buttoning’ after the British Duke of Kent) makes the lapel still more dramatic still – though perhaps too stylised for some.

 

 

I find it interesting myself looking at some of these straight, profile shots of the jacket, because they don’t necessarily match up to how it feels.

For example, the jacket has a very straight back, as you can see in the side-on shot above. There is no shaping at all to try and follow the shape of my lower back – it’s pretty much straight from top to bottom.

Gianfrancesco did this deliberately to allow more movement and comfort (an issue with cotton, as it doesn’t have the natural stretch of wool) but it’s not something I notice, I guess because one rarely sees oneself from this angle.

 

 

The jacket is also a little shorter than I realised. You can clearly see the fork of the trouser below it, at front and back.

In fact, with that shortness, straight back, and the straight bottom that comes from being a double-breasted, the jacket could be said to look rather square and boxy.

I think this is slightly misleading, and perhaps is an issue of presenting these suits largely in such unnatural poses.

 

 

For I would never stand like this normally, but would have at least one hand in a pocket, or be leaning, or have my arms in some other position.

The shape of the bottom half of the jacket would be frequently distorted, as a result – and I think this is why I have generally judged the suit’s style based so much on the shoulder and lapel line.

Those things generally have greater impact, of course, being closer to the face; but I think they do so even more in how a suit is used and worn every day, than images like this suggest.

Such poses make analysis easier, but are not always realistic.

 

 

The suit is worn with a Dartmoor polo-collar sweater, done up to the neck in a style that I think is elegant for smarter occasions, but not day to day. (And unfortunately, is now permanently associated with British football pundits.)

Navy-on-navy is of course a rather formal combination given its darkness and simplicity, and this is increased by the grey linen handkerchief with white border (from Anderson & Sheppard).

The shoes are my much-loved Oundle monk-straps from Edward Green, in their Top Drawer make. They call the colour bronze, though it has rather darkened over the years with polishing.

 

 

Style breakdown:

  • Shoulder width: 6 inches
  • Shoulder padding: Thin, single-ply pad
  • Sleevehead: Natural, spalla camicia ripples
  • Sleeve: Slim, not much tapering
  • Cuff width: 10½ inches
  • Lapel: 4½ inches
  • Gorge height: 3 inches
  • Drape: None
  • Outbreast pocket height: 10⅜ inches
  • Buttoning point: 19½ inches
  • Waist suppression: Small
  • Quarters: N/A, double breasted
  • Length: 30¾ inches
  • Back seam: Straight
  • Vent height: 9 inches
  • Trouser circumference at knee: 19¾ inches
  • Trouser circumference at cuff: 15¼ inches

Photography: Jamie Ferguson

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Burt

I’d expect some fading of the navy, as it is cotton to be worn in the summer?
A lovely suit, I like these more structured shoulders on you.

Walter Sickinger

A well cut navy suit is always irresistible but for my personal taste I have the following points to consider:
The jacket is too short…my preferred length is to the top of the thumbnail.
The lapels are a tad too wide and the gorge is too high. I also prefer a slightly rounded edge (Tautz..?) rather than a sharply pointed lapel peak. A point which extends above the shoulder line is simply ridiculous.
I have always felt the buttoning stance of DB suit should be slightly lower to balance the width of the lapels.
The trousers should be slightly longer with just the slightest break over the shoe.
All of these are personal preferences which I believe enhance the fluid line of the suit from shoulder to trousers bottom.
I will be in Naples in Sept…could you suggest a tailor who offers the best value for money. I live in Canada so fittings will be a problem.

Chancellor

Neapolitan tailor Pino Peluso (Sartoria Peluso) now travels to Toronto approximately every 3 months. That’s perhaps the best option for you to get fittings if you live near there, and even if you don’t, it’s probably the easiest place to travel for fittings. Depending on your trip length, perhaps you can work in initial measurements at the start of your trip, a basted fitting near the end, and then figure out a final fitting in Canada. The cost seems mid-range for Neapolitans (3500 Euro for a suit, 2500 Euro for a jacket) so not as great value as Solito, but you will hopefully be able to make up much of that difference by doing fittings in Canada.

As with many Italian tailors, Pino knows some english but isn’t fluent, so having someone who can translate accompany you is advisable, though you can probably get by without.

Chancellor

Yes, Bo does travel with Pino, and IMO is an invaluable part of the service helping with translation, and offering style advice (though he can have strong opinions, so one should be confident and clear on what one wants so as not to let Bo’s style preferences win out over one’s own). Obviously, if Walter wishes to start his commission by visiting Pino in Naples (particularly to save travel costs to fittings if he lives far from Toronto), it’s probably still advisable to have someone who can translate to minimize the chances of any misunderstandings.

Anonymous

Curious if you have tried Pino yourself and your thoughts compared to Solito?

Anonymous

Simon

It’s a lovely suit. I note, the hem is very narrow. Are you moving more toward narrower trousers?

Michael Smith

A beautiful suit and I have enjoyed the posts on MB since the “Bespoke at Home “from August 14. A post which demonstrates the time and care required to create your suit.

In your recent Style Breakdown posts you have stressed that the somewhat rigid poses are to make comparisons easier across your many commissions. It is interesting that you are starting to introduce some outside shots as well.

What is startling in the outside shot is the colour of the fabric in the (I assume) Italian sun compared with the flatness of the studio shots taken against a roll of paper backdrop.

The combination of studio and outside shots is a welcome development in this series.

As ever, thanks for your posts.

Adam Walsh

It is beyond me why anyone would consider spending so much on a cotton suit which seems to fit quite well but which would never have a natural home.

Why take such an informal material and form it into such a formal design?

By all means take cotton and create a really splendid casual suit with slightly relaxed trousers and a soft, flowing jacket, but not a parody of a formal suit.

It reminds me of an advert for a carpet company where Vivien Westwood wore a formal frock made of carpet. It looked ridiculous but everybody saw the joke.

Not sure that they would with this though.

Adam Walsh

Thanks, but you’ve missed my principal point.

“It is beyond me why anyone would consider spending so much on a cotton suit”

David

I think the main thing Adam forgets here is that someone with (too) many suits like Simon can afford to experiment and find enjoyment in the subtle mixing of formal and casual elements, like color, cloth or other details. For the rest of us, a cotton suit made in this particular style probably shouldn’t be at the top of our shopping list and wool would be a better choice. Simon, maybe you could make that a bit clearer in the future? Some readers, especially those in the process of building a core wardrobe, might feel a bit confused by some of your choices.

Zach

Mr. Walsh, would it not be possible to simply offer constructive criticism? Just because something is not your taste doesn’t mean you should be cruel in your comments. While I would not commission a cotton suit in a formal style like this myself, I find the information Mr. Crompton provides to be invaluable.

Khalid

Yes, some ‘intended use’ photos are actually helpful in the technical sense, so I’m happy to see such a shot here. It’s easy to envision Simon moonwalking out of that outdoor shot, and the slightly-crumply-yet-sharp cotton suit is pitch-perfect for such suave moves.

One of my favourite blazers is a sharp, perfectly fitting, sturdy cotton navy herringbone blazer from Club Monaco, scored for £25 on massive clearance when I was just getting into classic style. Structured but largely free of padding, it fits where formal dress would be out of place, but where you still want a bit of crispness and linen or similar sport coat would be too soft/flowy. It’s a satisfying crispness that I haven’t quite recaptured in any of the (many) jackets since.

AJ

I like the suit very much but find it hard to think of an occasion when I could wear it. Simon, when do you tend to wear the suit?

Nick

That’s the beauty of it for me. I ordered a db tobacco linen suit a couple of weeks ago, specifically because it is not appropriate for a work environment, therefore when people wear such a suit it is clear that a decision has been made to wear a matching top and bottom as opposed to me just coming straight from work

Mark P.

That’s a sharp look with the polo done up to the top. Quite unexpected. The whole outfit really suits you. It feels like a nice bit of British styling on an Italian suit.

Jason

Simon,
I think you unwittingly describe the problem with this suit when you say it looks “laid back but sharp.”
For me this is an oxymoron. A casual suit should never look sharp. Contrasting this with your A&S cord DB perfectly illustrates my point. The A&S oozes that louche look that I adore. By contrast, although there are good elements to this suit (notably the lapels), the totality of it is too trussed up. Had the dimensions and some details been changed it could have been relaxed into a winner.
On a more general note, I’m pleased that PS is exploring more casual suiting as it has long been my thing. I do however think there is a different art to it that will take to perfect because it involves a more relaxed cut and a more relaxed way of wearing things.
Regards,
Jason

Matthew V

Well I love the suit, but I do work in a field where although I could dress very formally, most don’t now seem to, so this could be worn for work, or as you say, in the evening where you are choosing to wear a suit (which, like wearing a tie in non work environments) is now almost subversive(!) and definitely a choice.

Nicolas

Hi Simon,

I came cross Musella Dembach from Instgram, and really like their house cutting style. I would like to know if they will visit London in the future by any chance.

Thanks

Tim

What is the weight of the cotton?

Leo

Thank you Simon for a very good series that offer a lot of insight.

Where would you say Cad and The Dandy fit in the Style Breakdown series? Also, have you used them and what is your opinion of them?

Stanley

Hi simon, hows your suit in theanthology?

I wondering do you have the same experience as me , especially on a flat front trouser

Stanley

Thanks Simon, notes. Looking forward your review.

I have a medium rise cream cotton flat front trouser from them, the style is tight fit on the hip and whole look is quite weird from my point of view compare to other flat front trouser I owned

But it is okay when I try it on the first fitting with another material rather than cotton

Max

I would love to see a picture of the suit in Duke of Kent mode.

Jonny

Simon,
Could you explain exactly where the ‘Outbreast Pocket Height’ measurement is taken to and from?
Thanks!

Jonny

Thanks Simon. So, is that to the point on the seam directly vertical from the pocket, or to the end of the shoulder seam where it meets the sleevehead? Where would you measure from if it were a patch pocket with no welt?

Thanks you.

Linh Anh

I love suit. And I am excited to read the information you gave me! You are a great mentor and I appreciate your sharing.

Henry

Simon, kindly advise how to measure gorge height? From shoulder seam draw straight line down to the point where collar meets lapel? Regards Henry

zohair

Hi Simon, others,
Any suggestions on what kind of ties to wear with cotton and cotton/linen mix suits? I find the texture difficult to match/contrast. For me, a regular smooth silk tie just doesnt cut it. dont want to wear a woolly tie in summer. Knitted ties are a good choice i find. any thing else?

Svetlin

Hi Simon – would you wear the jacket with jeans or is it not as “soft” looking as Neapolitan one to go with such casual trousers?

Svetlin Chamev

Thanks! Would the look work if the jacket was in heaver navy fresco or flannel? I got inspired by Jake and Alex from Anglo Italian, who pull this look off quite well, but not sure if MD jacket stricture is the right one for this style

RR

Hello Simon, first of all great series. Love reading about your tailoring here. Very interesting and informative read. What I wanted to ask you is this. What is you chest measurement and total height?
I’m interested in this as it puts the measurements given a bit more into proportion.
(I know there is a ton more important measurements, but those two are good indicators)
I apologise in case someone has already asked you this. I haven’t gone through all the comments. anyways, thank you

Anonymous

The back and sleeves of this suit are a disaster, the chest is lumpy and there are drag lines from the neck point to the shoulder bone. In what sense can you describe this suit as “well fitting” if we take that phrase to mean cleanly draped with the elimination of all faults (drag lines etc) ? If you think it’s somehow stylish then that’s a matter of taste, but I’d be interested to understand what you take good fit to mean, and why you’re able to overlook these obvious faults

Rupesh

Hi Simon,

Are able to provide the fabric details for example the weight and bunch. Also if I am considering a cotton suit would a 8/9oz weight be good for the warmer climates and travel.

K

Dear Mr. Crompton,
It seems to me that perhaps, a few style aspects of this suit weren’t discussed and I’d like to add a few points to the discussion.
I think you look great in the Musella Dembech suit; well one can always complain about the lack of “bespoke” feel to it, however, I’ve noticed a few construction details that this suit were distinctly tailored for you.
First of all the shoulder line and the lapels which you’ve talked about a lot; I’ve taken a look at other works of Musella Dembech DB and it seems to me that for those who lack a shoulder width, they’d bump the gorge up as much as possible then the tip of the peak lapels would sit right on the shoulder line. It does bear resemblance to the Cifonelli lapels, but in their cut the lapels look like they’re flying right off the smoking shoulders but in Musella Dembech’s cut as the lapels lie quite flat they point a bit toward the shoulders, which does put a break on the shoulder line, and suggests a much wider shoulder. I suppose it’s due to the sloping shoulders and the nature of the fabric that the sleevehead was made to roll up ever so slightly (though I’m not sure if it was intended to be that way), more than it would than soft worsted wool, forsay; it adds extra strength to the shoulders, just enough to be noticeable but then it wouldn’t seem as “forced” as in roped shoulders. I find this affect a lot less noticeable from the studio shots, but then if one zooms out the front shot out bit by bit your shoulders would start to look wider.
As for the bottom half of the jacket, I do have a similar experience with a wonderful DB blazer from Pal Zileri Sartoriale (also unlined), in which I went for a size 50 EU instead of my usual 48 since I find the 48 way too short, as the jacket was taken in the bottom 4 buttons were moved to widening the button stance into what is very similar on your Musella Dembech jacket. I find that, combined with the shorter jacket length and the boxier cut and the wider button placement weirdly enough, gives an impression of upper body strength. I’d assume since through the torso the jacket was cut fairly straight, and the button placement also did not follow the usual Y shape as much and are in fact, squashed vertically, as compared to Caraceni, which had a quite symmetrical button placement (which is an interesting comparison given the similar shoulder and lapel shapes). I’d say the shape of your waist and chest would be in fact, concealed, in which I believe (if I remember correctly), that the human eye tends to assume the ideal shape there. Again it’s hard to tell this effect, as you’ve complained about, while staring closely at a 2 dimensional shoot closely on a screen; but again, simply zoom out and back away from the screen, since I’d assume in real life no one would be staring up close on your chest anyway.
I do quite enjoy this boxy cut too given I’m 6’2 with a slim build too, my jacket is at 29 3/4 inches long so perhaps this boxy effect comes even more pronounced.
I do have to point out though at first the extra fabric on the side of the waist (I had a lot, since I have a very tapered waist at 31 inches) made me quite insecure about not being gently wrapped on the sides, though I’ve come to quite like it over time, which, I wonder if you’ve felt the same way at any point?
I’ve also had some trouble over the front bunching easily as you’ve also have complained about, I also wonder how you feel about them now?
The lapels on my jacket also lie flat so perhaps my blazer and your suit jacket do have quite a few traits in common.
Lastly, I’d like to add that the slim trousers do also help with shifting the focus upwards. So overall it still gives you that T, just seems to be more spread over the whole body. It does resemble with the contemporary suit trend of shorter, rounder looking jackets and slim trousers, but again the proportions on this suit are perfect for you. So in conclusion, this suit makes you look great, I hope the extra points I’ve added helps. This was my first comment on Permanent Style, I’ve been following the Style Breakdown series for a while and decided to jump in after seeing perhaps, that the look of Musella Dembech on you deserve a bit more appreciation.

Jonny

Hi Simon,

Is the buttoning point number on this to where the button fastens on your right side of the jacket, or the middle of the fastening button and the jigger?

Chris

I am on a bit of a trawl through PS for double breasted references at the moment, and came across this. Wow. This as a suit, to me, is
perfection and the absolute definition of style.

shem

hi simon, I don’t own any suits and have no real need to wear any suits but have been toying with the idea of a cotton suit in navy as a knockaround one. I’m wondering how useful the jacket will be as a standalone piece as there seems to be differing opinions with some saying they are great separates but others saying otherwise. Whats your take on it?