La Giacca (Almost) Napoletana
When I sat down to write this text, I briefly went (mentally) back in time to around 2015 - times when the Pitti Uomo fascination was reaching its peak, the so-called "Italian style" (including double monk strap shoes, wiiiide lapels etc.) was everywhere and Naples seemed to be the world capital of menswear. Today, however, I can approach the topic with consideration and use this text as an opportunity to clarify several issues and deal with a few myths. Have a read!
Author: Mateusz Tryjanowski
La Giacca Napoletana. Neapolitan tailoring. Jacket without construction. Soft tailoring. All similar, but not synonymous terms - yes, they belong to the same order, are often used in the same context and… are just as clichéd.
I do not know what it was like in your case, but when I started to become interested in "classic menswear", I had the impression that the Italian style and Neapolitan tailoring are the absolute pinnacle of this craft, also the most perfect evolution of the jacket and suit idea. A holy grail to strive for. It seemed that every menswear enthusiast (although today I would say “neophyte”) wants to have only such jackets in their wardrobe and they are the only ones that have the right to exist on the market.
Today I know - and many of you probably too - that this is not true. And to think this way, you had to be really naive.
You have to (and should!) acknowledge that there are also other styles of tailoring and each one has its place and purpose - stronger Savile Row constructions, American sack suit (often forgotten, but surprisingly light, with natural shoulders), little-known Florentine style (although currently popularized thanks to Asian tailors) and many, many other hybrids and regional creations. Every one with its own identity and history.
It turns out that we just so often confused "Neapolitan tailoring" with "comfort".
Fortunately, the evolution of the market in recent years has brought us both technological and customer education progress. New brands appeared - including the likes of Poszetka - creating clothes that are definitely more comfortable than traditional suits, drawing inspiration from many sources. Among them, of course, from Naples, but not exclusively. We have learned that the battle for the lightest possible fabric, as little construction as possible, and as many fancy features as possible (i.e. the modern IMAGINATION of Italian style) might not be the best way.
I am very happy that we live in a postmodern world where "everything has already been done". That is why we are allowed to go beyond the limits of style, combine different influences and play with individual elements. I see it in tailoring - and in my opinion the best and most comfortable clothes are those that synthesize many influences and are not restricted within rigid frames. Anyway - to have Naples in Poland (or even in Sweden, Germany or the USA etc…) is literally impossible, so to achieve a similar impression you have to play your own rules.
Well, I think that although a certain myth of Pitti Uomo-esque Italian style has already collapsed, it is great to be able to draw some inspiration left from it and try to transplant it somewhere else. You no longer have to pretend to be a truly Italian sartoria (yes, this beautiful word simply means "tailor shop") to offer good quality, beautiful and comfortable clothes, enriched with details straight from that world. And there are many of which it would be a pity to give up!
First, lightness. Not necessarily in the sense of striving for as little construction as possible - after all, sometimes there is a room for a small shoulder pad or a thicker layer of canvas - but definitely in the context of having the multitude of options, the possibility of choosing, for example, a quarter lining or (colloquially speaking) uberlight construction for a summer jacket and the awareness that a suit does not have to be stiff and heavy. Not everything has to look and feel the same.
Second, “barchetta”. But why? Because this shape is simply nicer! In my opinion, this sophisticated boat-like line fits everything, every style of a sportcoat or a suit. Although it was first made in Naples, today it is truly cosmopolitan. So - remember where it comes from, but don't make a religion out of it. This detail does not make your jacket "Neapolitan", but it can be just a nice touch.
Third, “tasca a pignata” shape patch pockets. Similarly to the above mentioned type of breast pocket, it's just a nice detail that looks good enough to fit almost anywhere. The rounded pockets are more subtle and nicer than those cut roughly in the letter "U" shape. And yes, you can even have them on your blazer, not just a light summer jacket. It's all about desired aesthetics.
Fourth, “spalla camicia” shoulder. Contrary to the first three, I would describe this one as slightly controversial. I am far from encouraging to have it on every jacket - well, I would even say that with most of those thick fabrics (e.g. tweed) this option looks worse than any other shoulder type! - but I say that when used in moderation, it is a great variety. Because what kind of shoulder goes better with light, linen or cotton summer jackets? It is good to have such an option, less formal in nature, up your sleeve. Pun intended.
I think that we can stop at these four points and move on to the summary. You already know what I’m talking about, right?
If you have to remember one thing out of this text, let it be a statement that not every jacket with these details is "la giacca napoletana"... but practically every one is then - for lack of a better word - cool. It is not necessary to fake authenticity, you can just take a bit out of a particular style, pay it a tribute and make the final product feel yours.
I think that this spirit is quite well reflected in Poszetka's Spring/Summer collection. Without pretending, without trying to be artificial, just easy in their own way. Many inspirations combined into a coherent whole that expresses the brand's identity. Italian and British fabrics, ultra-light and slightly more “shaped” cuts, Mediterranean and… continental? colors. It all just adds up and we can safely say that this is an original collection with a vision.
It does not lack the aforementioned details with Italian-sounding names - barchetta, tasca a pignata, spalla camicia - but in a healthy dose, perfectly matching the summer, delicate aesthetics. All this is supplemented with a huge dose of lightness, so desired for adequate comfort in summer. Naples in Katowice? Maybe. But not necessarily. These are clothes for real people and situations, not some imaginary conditions.
Well, I am 100% convinced by such an idea. Are you?