Laying eyes on Naples for the first time is enthralling.
There are but a few cities that have remained continuously inhabited for so long—literally from the Bronze Age in Naples’ case. Such a long history has left the city with an impressive wealth of historical buildings, monuments and ruins mixing Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque styles–enough to occupy the tourist crowd for days, if not weeks.
Architecture alone isn’t the only thing that has made Naples famous. Traditional craftsmanship and particularly shoe making, shirt making and tailoring has historically been a Parthenope tradition, and today more than ever, Naples has shifted to center-stage in the realm of hand-crafted clothes.
Not judging a book by its cover fits Naples well, and urban decay leaves no indications when it comes to the beautifully made garments of Naples. And yet, one can only wonder at the mastery of these Neapolitan artisans.
Salvatore Ambrosi started making trousers at the age of eight, keeping alive the legacy of his father and grandfather. He has produced trousers for some of the most well-known tailoring houses including Attolini, Rubinacci, Panico, Solito and Formosa.
It is safe to say that Salvatore has elevated trouser-making to the level of an art.
Being a bespoke enthusiast, I can only vouch for his talent, the perfection of the fit and the extraordinary craftsmanship demonstrated by his work. With the word “handmade” being bandied about these days, the truth is that very few trouser makers can actually display as much handwork as Ambrosi-Napoli (the name of his family-owned company).
Visiting Naples isn’t an obligation, as Salvatore has partnered with some of the greatest establishments in menswear across the globe (e.g. The Armoury in Hong Kong and New York, Leatherfoot in Toronto) and also often travels to cities like Hannover, Tokyo, Osaka and Seoul.
Venturing into Salvatore’s workshop gives the distinct impression of entering a humble place where great garments are made.
No need for fancy ornaments or ostentation. Salvatore is down-to-earth and sincere. Despite his heavy travel schedule, he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. most mornings, and is back to sewing trousers almost immediately upon his return to Naples.
The making of his trousers requires about 8 hours, mainly due to the level of hand stitching and sewing involved, which comprises roughly 80% of the garment. A signature pair of Ambrosi trousers features a large extended tab fastening belt, a thick waistband, one or two pleats and generous cuffs. A button can be placed on the cuffs to unfold them for cleaning purposes. The trousers featured here have been recently crafted for me by Ambrosi using Vitale Barberis Canonico fabric.
Ambrosi trousers are unique in the way that they are sculpted around the body to sit perfectly at the waist—notwithstanding the stress of a gentleman’s daily activities. These trousers boast a whole new level of comfort and can be made to be particularly light in weight due to the warm weather of Southern Italy.
This philosophy of making especially light trousers is completely in line with fellow Neapolitan tailors who aim to craft light, unpadded and unlined clothes to suit a typically heated climate. Ambrosi’s trousers follow this Neapolitan principle to a tee.
With prices in line with bespoke tailoring, a trouser-specialist like Ambrosi is well worth commissioning for a great pair of trousers with superb style. Such a sculpted fit can make you feel especially confident, not to mention the assurance you will feel in regard to the durability of the trousers (which is important if you’ve ever split your trousers at the most inopportune moment).
At the Armoury for example, Ambrosi-Napoli’s trousers retail at 1’150 USD (around 1’000 EUR, although prices may vary by country due to travel costs and taxes), while a visit to Naples will result in a lower price.
Paul Lux : http://paul-lux.tumblr.com