The Italian Way
A renowned Neapolitan tailor delivers more than just clothes.
Rubinacci is among the most celebrated names in Neapolitan tailoring. The family first earned renown in the mid-1800s, when Mariano Rubinacci imported silk from Asia for his shop, which still sits at its original location near the Castello Cellamare. By the 1930s, the tailoring skills of Mariano’s grandnephew Gennaro were drawing European and American aristocrats to the shop. Now Gennaro’s grandson, the 33-year-old Luca, has introduced a ready-to-wear collection that adds fashionable flair to the family business.
Along with the new collection, Luca—a dapper gentleman who demonstrates panache by mixing colors and patterns—continues to offer wardrobe advice. “I love to style my clients,” he says. A visit with Luca usually involves a glass of wine, maybe a meal, and sometimes a weekend at Casa Rubinacci in Naples, where customers can enjoy the local lifestyle while they are fitted for a new wardrobe. Luca’s advice is so sought after that daily pictures of his attire on Instagram have garnered him 20,000 followers. Several followers have become customers and purchased his head-to-toe outfits of the day.
Well-honed service and Luca’s relationships with clients help to distinguish the house of Rubinacci from many other Neapolitan tailors. Customers from around the world traveled to Naples for their suits during the tenures of his grandfather and father (also named Mariano); but now Luca comes to them, frequently visiting New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and other U.S. cities to conduct fittings and dispense advice. “I take their measurements myself and educate them on fabrics and fit,” he explains. “They tell their friends, ‘My tailor is coming from Naples.’”
Rubinacci custom-made suits, which start at around $5,500, are characterized by jackets with high armholes, a smooth drape, and slim sleeves. The new ready-to-wear collection includes a range of clothing and accessories for customers who do not want to wait four to six weeks for bespoke pieces. All items are handmade in Naples by the company’s tailors.
When Luca is not traveling to meet with clients, he can be found at the brand’s recently renovated Milan shop, helping visitors assemble wardrobes that suit their personality and lifestyle and educating them about the virtues of sprezzatura, an Italian word for making things seem effortless. In Luca’s case, it is the achievement of an elegant look. “This isn’t a job,” he says. “It’s my passion.”