Sartoria Giuliva and Giuliva Heritage: Inspiration from Gerardo
Gerardo Cavaliere is someone whose style I've admired for a while, but rarely had a chance to talk to for more than a few moments at an event.
While Milad and I were in Rome recently, therefore, I spent some time with Gerardo and his partner Margarita in their studio in the Regola area of the city, learning about the business.
I feel there will be some readers who will also have seen images of Gerardo around online - he's hard to miss, with those striking features and often equally striking tailoring - but won't have known what he does or how to buy it.
Gerardo grew up near the Amalfi coast, and trained as a lawyer. But like many who end up with their own business in this area, he quit to follow his passion for tailoring.
That business is what is known as Sartoria Giuliva today. But it doesn't have that high a profile - apart from those pictures of Gerardo - because it's only accessible by visiting the studio in Rome.
“The whole point of the brand was that it was just things I love,” Gerardo says. “So it makes sense to do it here. It would seem too cold and impersonal somewhere else.”
The tailoring is made to a bespoke level in Naples, but fitted by Gerardo in Rome and usually requires one or two fittings. Milad was measured for a jacket while we were there. A two-piece suit starts at €3500 excluding cloth.
The Sartoria has also been a little eclipsed in recent years by Giuliva Heritage (above), the ready-to-wear line of initially only womenswear that Margarita and Gerardo started after they met six years ago.
Giuliva Heritage is a big brand, certainly for a young company. It's carried by Selfridge’s, Harrod’s and Matches; Eva Herzigova models; there was a collaboration with H&M. Ten people now work in and out of the Rome studio - one reason they’re about to move down the street.
After three years of Giuliva Heritage, menswear was added, meaning some of Gerardo's designs can now be accessed there. The make isn’t the same as the bespoke tailoring, but the materials often are.
This is significant for me, because while it’s always hard to buy suits and jackets off the peg, it is the design elements at Giuliva that I find most interesting.
Milad was planning to visit Gerardo anyway - before we scheduled our trip for PS - because he’d wanted to have something made with him for a while. And this makes sense: Giuliva is more Milad’s taste than mine.
Milad likes bolder colours and bigger patterns. He’s more likely to wear something that stands out, and take real pleasure in it. He had been particularly enamoured with Giuliva’s pink shawl-collar jacket - above - which despite my occasional foray into pink and purple jackets, is not something I’d wear.
The same goes for tailoring like the Prince-of-Wales check suit I’m trying on below - in that case less for the material and more for the dramatic lapels. Even on the white jacket pictured lower down, I’m conservative enough to prefer more traditional shawl lapels with a low belly.
But as I never tire of saying, if you’re interested in clothes then you’re interested in more than what you wear. Plus I know from meeting them that there are readers who revel in unusual tailoring.
Most importantly, inspiration should be pursued everywhere - maybe not in a lapel, but in a colour; or in the combination of colours; or in the way the cuts are combined. Otherwise all we do is make carbon copies of each other and circulate them, around and around.
For style to be inspiring, what it needs is creativity. And Gerardo certainly has that. Even in such a narrow aesthetic as tailoring, he always looks fantastic and always looks different.
On the day we met, he was wearing a bright blue polo under a white-linen jacket, for example. Now it helps if you live in a sunny country, but still it made me consider bolder polos under white linen.
He was also wearing red socks between his tan worsted trousers and tan suede shoes. I don’t wear bright socks generally, but it made me think about strong colours as a way to separate similar shoes and trousers. And he is often more subtle in this combinations too - a cream silk shirt with that white linen jacket, for example, with a a pair of pale-green linen trousers (see various images at the bottom of this post).
Creativity stimulates. It makes you not just want to copy, but to be more creative yourself. It opens doors in your mind. Or at least it does for me
The same went for some of the things Milad and I tried on in the Giuliva studio.
I loved the shape of the lapels on the big suede coat above, even if I wouldn't have them quite as big. The baby-blue colour of the trench on the right, below, was gorgeous, although the trench on the left in a super-heavy linen had woven leather details that weren’t for me.
It was actually Gerardo’s collection of vintage fabrics that I gravitated to most - perhaps because they were often more subtle, and could be made up in more conservative cuts.
I ended up ordering a shirt in a beautiful 80s cotton, a cream with fine multicoloured stripes. It’s a material you would never buy online, and I can understand why it might not have sold the first time around. But it made perfect sense in person, with Gerardo’s advice and eye.
In any store it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetic around you, buying something that really looks best in the shop - in their world. Gerardo’s studio is so beautifully appointed that it could certainly have that effect on you.
But I’m fairly confident the shirt will be nice, and the style was pretty simple - a standard point collar, just a touch bigger than I would have normally.
Let’s wait and see. That too requires a trip back to Rome, so it might take a while.
For anyone else that thinks they could find inspiration in Gerardo and Giuliva, I recommend trying to see the products in person, particularly for the fabrics. Doubtless the number of stockists where this is possible will carry on growing, given the direction the brand is going.
Photography above, Milad Abedi. Images below, from recent lookbooks and social