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Pino Peluso — Neapolitan Younger Master Tailor

Interview With Pino Peluso

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Pino Peluso | 皮諾·佩盧索

Pino Peluso is an important young generation of Neapolitan tailoring. He creates sharp suits and coats for both man and woman. Beyond that, he is also the kind of tailor who loves challenges – making suits for a dwarf, catering an extremely odd body shape, and even making a wool coat for a lady who has allergic to wool.

The interview with Pino Peluso was taken during Sartoria Peluso’s Paris trunk show co-holding with Marol 1959, one of the finest shirt makers in the market.

A special thanks to Bo, the Managing Director of Moral 1959, without his help, the interview wouldn’t go this smooth.

Middle: Pino Peluso; Right: Bo Yang

A Traditional Neapolitan Approach

Pino’s grandmother was a shirt maker, followed by his father worked as a suit maker. It was a typical Neapolitan tailoring family from the old days. Pino was born in the same house where his family work. Being emerged in the environment of tailoring throughout his upbringing. “Tailoring was the second perfume that I smelled after my mother. ” Pino told me.

Pino’s master skills can trackback to his family tradition — a versatile approach.  Different from being in a big house, where you usually see workers are more specialised on certain matters. While in the house that Pino grows up, everything is done in a rather traditional Neapolitan way: Pino remembers seeing his father working on all the pieces: suits, shirt, waistcoat, and trousers.

As Pino said, there are pros and cons of that approach:

For the good part, through this experience, he was able to learn all the aspects of tailoring and pick up different skills in a relatively short time. Because this was very natural for him. Otherwise, to learn each subject separately, from the jacket to the waistcoat to the pants, it might take someone many years.

For the not so good part, according to Pino, is that the family would talk about their work all the time. He remembered during meals, his family open the television to hear the news, but the trousers, the collars, the work they should do for tomorrow is the only topic on their dinner table.

Pino explaining different shoulder types to customer

House Style Myth

When being asked what Sartoria Peluso’s house style is, Pino believes it would be too “one-directional” for him if he can only be known for one style.

Viewing this as an important point, Bo expressed his in-depth view about the idea of “House Style”.

“In recent years, the idea of ‘house style’ is very hip, everybody wants a house style, this is a Cefonelli jacket, this is a DalCuore jacket, it’s nice, because it sales, people want to identify themselves with something. Like they want to be identified in the Anderson & Sheppard jacket” said Bo.

Based on his own experience with Sartoria Peluso, starting from being a customer to finally working together, he told me that there is “a customer perspective” (as introduced a few sentences ago), then there is “the tailor’s perspective”.

As a quintessential tailor, Bo said:

They don’t think that way; they don’t set out to build one jacket and to call it ‘the Peluso Jacket’. Because tailoring at the end of the day is a service, a service to cater to the customer’s needs, and even as a job requirement, you must be able to do varies different styles… You have to be able to do everything before you can open a sartoria……Master tailors must be able to adapt to the customer’s needs.

For the famous Cifonelli shoulder, Pino told Bo it is Pagoda shoulder, a very technical thing where Roman tailors do. It was the blogs and people who decided to call it the Cifonelli shoulder, but a good tailor must be able to craft all these things.

Sharp and Lightness

As a loyal customer turned business partner to the Sartoria Peluso, Bo is in a better position to tell the values and philosophies of Mr Peluso’s. As Bo explained, Peluso does have a house style, yet he is too modest to explain that himself. That Pino Peluso is a very sharp tailor, he likes a lot of shape in his tailoring. And this is relative to his personality. “The cloth the tailor crafts are the reflection of themselves,” Bo explained. Being a relatively younger and athletic one among other master tailors (Pino Peluso is featured in the 2011 documentary film O’Mast among other senior maestros); hence you see curves and angular lines in his work.

At the meantime, by keeping the well-known sense of lightness of Neapolitan tailoring, Neapolitan original taste is retained. He does not achieve the curves and shapes by constructing structures or adding extra paddings, because of natural hot weather in Napoli.

The Second Skin

“Technical cutter” is the word Bo used to describe Peluso’s cutting style. Dedicated to establishing his own shape, Pino doesn’t want to simply follow the similar Neapolitan way of cutting. As Bo explained, the majority of tailors in Naples have similar way of cutting, resulting from the same training they received. While for Pino, he is very technical in terms of establishing the customers’ individual proportion. As a result, compared with a loose (or relaxed) typical Neapolitan jacket, what the customer gets is a jacket that follows the body moves.

Pino continues, the fabric is cut very close to the body, yet “there are always a few millimetres between your body to the fabric, but the few millimetres is around of you, not just on the waist or just on the chest, you can really feel like having a second skin”. As a result, for people who wear suits all day, the cloth would follow the body.

Paradoxically, although the term “the second skin” has been overdubbed by bloggers and marketing teams, the real benefit to customers is not how they feel in the jacket but not feeling the existence of the jacket.

The Measurement and Fitting

In order to achieve the second skin effect, the measuring time is comparatively much longer in Sartoria Peluso than most of the Neapolitan tailors. Because, instead of measuring a few key figures and let the formula do the circulation, Pino checks all the details to get the customer’s individual proportion.

Consequently, the fitting times are restrained. Usually two times, only on special occasions, there will be 3. Bo remembered Pino used to tell him: “as a tailor, you cannot waist customer’s time, a customer cannot come to you five or six times, it means you don’t know your job. Because you are trying to make the suite on his body by using him as a mannequin, which is not correct”.

Pino said to me that when he made the first fitting, the suit is almost 80% done. That is because before he starts the drawing and the cutting, he has already made the full consideration of the possible movement of the body.

Drawing Directly on the Fabric

Surprisingly, instead of drawing on a paper pattern before the cut, Pino draws directly on the fabric. Pino noted that he surely knows the convenience of using patterns, “but it would leave a lot of work to do in the fitting process”. Because the fabric wasn’t cut for the specific customer. He further explained: with pre-set proportions, he has to arrange that piece of fabric on the customer’s body during the fittings. Hence, he chooses to draw directly on the fabric after carefully considering his customer’s individual proportions.

For the returning customer, Pino doesn’t keep the paper pattern to cut upon. Every time he would draw a fresh one. As he believes the human body is not a piece of paper, it’s constantly changing.

As Pino told me, In the past, visiting a tailor is more of social activity for Neapolitan couture consumer. In the tailor’s house, the customers are having coffee and chin-wagging while watching the tailor working on the suits. Because of this social ritual, there’s no need for those Neapolitan tailors to prepare the pattern(it’s mainly for the overseas customers), as the customer would always visit in person.