O’Mast Review – A Film About Neapolitan Tailoring
In the past, we wrote a short note about the Neapolian Bespoke Tailor Documentary O’Mast and today we would like to present a review of the O’Mast DVD,
which was provided to us by the Armoury in Hong Kong.
The title is well chosen, because o’mast means master in the Neapolitan dialect and the man in charge of the workshop in the tailoring trade. This 72 min movie was written and directed by Gianluca Migliarotti of Kid Dandy in Milan, who did a fantastic job.
The O’Mast DVD
Of course, when you produce a movie for connoisseurs, a plain plastic DVD box would not do. So, O’Mast come in a beautifully designed, 3-fold cardboard box that has a coat pattern on the front and back. Inside, we can find the DVD as well as a picture of a double breasted coat with an extreme lapel roll, which is typical for the Neapolitan style – as well as a fabric swatch in a stunning diamond pattern by Holland & Sherry.
O’Mast Film Review
The film is recorded in Italian and has English subtitles, though I am sure it will be available with subtitles in different languages as well.
The first scene shows Sarto Panico fitting a client: “Wait… turn around – Look at me, forget the mirror. Does it bother you when you bend your arm? It feels a bit big here – you can see how the collar is ripped off – We’ll take it in a little.”
The subsequent intro gives us a nice overview of Naples, as well as Maurizio Marinella, Antonio Panico, Claudio Attolini and Claudio Attolini jr., Marchese Giancarlo de Goyzueta, Pasquale and Michele Sabino, Pino Peluso, Ciro Palermo, the Ciardi family, Antonio Persico, Antonio Leonelli, Gennaro Formosa, Mariano Rubinacci, Lucio Migliarotti, Gianni Cirillo, Ugo Cilento, Ciro Zizzolfi, Beppe Modenese.
The beginning scenes put you in the position of an observer who visits the various bespoke tailor ateliers – no comment or music, just the atmosphere.
In the following scenes, various ateliers are visited and the people talk about music, suits, and the importance of the relationship between client and tailor. It is basically an ongoing interview with different people in the trade. While some prefer an educated client, others won’t tailor the suit if they don’t like the style of their customer. Interestingly, all people talk very slowly – I don’t know whether this is just a personal or professional trait, or typical for Napoli.
We learn that Naples has this tradition of crafts. Especially around Via Chiaia, all the suits are made by hand, just like they used to 100 years ago. Between scenes, we see facades of Naples, which are accompanied by music – it seems like Migliarotti want to purvey the spirit of Naples through these pictures .
The Naples jacket style is full of ease, with a barchetta breast pocket (shaped like a little boat), the mappina sleevehead featuring a few delicate folds (the grinze) and not the large ruffles that are sometimes advertised. Unlike in northern Italy, the Neapolitan shoulder is more sloped and natural, to the extent that a jacket wears more like a shirt than a jacket – according to Panico. It becomes clear that perfection and precise geometry are not desired, since it would look too clean for Neapolitan tastes.
The inventor of this soft Neapolitan jacket sleeve was Vincenzo Attolini, and his philiosophy was that you should be able to “fold a jacket like a handkerkchief”. At the time he was a cutter at Rubinacci, and others tried to copy his style and soon everybody wanted to be “Attolini’s right hand.”
There is only a little bit of canvas in the lapels of a Neapolitan jacket, and it is typically ironed for 5 hours –a process that is known as cooking the jacket.
Without naming him, one interviewee admits that the a tailor (commonly known to be the Dutch tailor Scholte) had already started in the 1920’s to deconstruct the jacket and introduce the drape cut. Though Attolini’s softer cut was different, he was not the first one to deconstruct the jacket in Europe.
The characters are really amiable and old school. The labels for the inside chest pocket with the customer’s name and date of completion are written with a typewriter and one of the tailors even wears a Pince-Nez, just like Hercule Poirot!
The only flaw is the translation of the subtitles. The English is not always spot on and there are some spelling errors, though the overall meaning is easy to understand.
In a nutshell, this is a marvelous portrait of Neapolitan style in general and bespoke tailoring in particular. If you are interested in clothing – and if you read so far, I bet you are – then you should definitely try to get a copy of this beautifully made film. However, do not expect an in-depth analysis of how a Neapolitan jacket is made but much rather a nicely done interview . DVDs are available at the Armoury for HK$195 which is about $25 as well as at Drakes in London. Mark Cho – the man behind both brands – plans to finance another movie in that style next year. I look forward to it!