Primarily a suit maker, Isaia gingerly stepped into the sportswear arena a decade ago and has slowly evolved this portion of the collection so that it now represents a whopping 30 percent of the Naples, Italy-based brand’s overall sales. Identifiable by the Mediterranean coral emblem used as both a logo and the occasional embroidered or printed detail, Isaia’s sportswear—everything from reversible jackets and cashmere/silk jersey blazers to floral cotton shirts, casual slacks, polos, and fine-gauge cable knitwear—is made with a tailor’s eye for details. In addition to employing the most advanced, luxurious fabrics, including the company’s own proprietary Aqua cloths (cashmere, cotton, and wool fabrics specially treated for water repellence), there is often a quirky, vintage feel to each piece that is the result of owner Gianluca Isaia’s general dislike of anything too classic or conventional.
After a red wine spill destroyed his trousers during a dinner at a fine restaurant, Gianluca Isaia began working with an Italian textile mill to create a collection of natural-fiber fabrics that could be rendered spill-proof. After numerous attempts the mill finally created Isaia’s first Aqua cloth, called Aquaspider, in which individual wool yarns are chemically treated before the cloth is made to avoid the stiffness usually associated with waterproof fabrics.