Rubinacci Moves to New London House

Rubinacci London House at New Address

Over the last few years, Rubinacci has built an impressive presence around the world, with stores in Rome, Milan, London, Tokyo and of course, Naples.

Mezzanine

Mezzanine

New Entrance to Rubinacci

New Entrance to Rubinacci

Entrance - London House

Entrance – London House

Their headquarters in Naples’ noble Via Filangieri used to be known as Rubinacci London House because it represented the English style as the Neapolitans interpreted it – of course, with a very Italian twist.

As of October 11, 2012 Rubinacci will officially relocated to their new premises in the former residence of the principe – the Palazzo Celamare in Via Chiaia 149. With about 5400 square feet, the new premises are just slightly larger, but the floor plan allows for a better workflow and setup.

The old atelier will still remain with the Rubinacci family, but it will soon be home to the new Prada store in Naples.

Mariano Rubinacci was so kind as to let me take a look at the new London House before its official opening.

The New London House

Upon entering the store, you immediately notice the terracotta colored walls on the fist level, where you can find their knit ties, regular ties, silk foulard scarves and pocket squares.

Rubinacci Ties

Rubinacci Ties

Rubinacci is famous for their foulard prints and hand painted foulards, which are the result of a collaboration with a local artist.

One of the wool/silk blend scarves had the motto Le Toilette Du Dandy, which was quite funny, but it’s an inside joke as you would never see this when you wear the scarf.

Inspired by old maps of Naples, Rubinacci created foulard pocket squares with maps and contrasting colored borders. That way you can display the edges as well as the center of your pocket square. Of course, it is stuffed into the chest pocket on a whim so it won’t disturb the sprezzatura.

Vintage 1930's Rubinacci Cloth Book

Vintage 1930’s Rubinacci Cloth Book

Up the steps to the Mezzanine, shelves and tables are filled with knitwear, tailored garments and leather goods for men as well as for women. Towards the back of this level, a selection of fabrics is found to the right, with a generously large, brown leather couch in the center and the changing room and swatch books to the left. Of course, they also offer vicuna fabric for suits, blazers and overcoats, but for the connoisseur, Rubinacci’s vintage fabrics are of much greater importance. A few old fabrics are on display up front, along with old swatch books from the 1930’s that give you an idea of the great patterns that once existed.

Vicuna Fabric Swatches

Vicuna Fabric Swatches

However, the real vintage treasures are stored in a big safe with a heavy door – in fact, it was so heavy that Mr. Rubinacci wasn’t able to open it the first time I was there, but eventually I was able to take a peak into the treasure cabinet.

Inside the Safe

Inside the Safe

Entering the Safe with Vintage Cloth

Entering the Safe with Vintage Cloth

Since they just moved in, the cloth was not arranged properly, but the earliest fabrics date back to the 1940’s and the most recent ones to 2011. Of course, not every customer wants a vintage cloth, but the limited supply makes it all the more desirable and of course – storing these limited lengths in a safe is great for marketing.

In order to make sure the fabric doesn’t deteriorate, it is often wrapped in plastic or paper. On the outside, there is a little card that shows a tiny swatch along with the date, article number and meters left, so the staff always knows exactly what they can offer to their customers.

Rubinacci Tailor Shop Upstairs

Rubinacci Tailor Shop Upstairs

The Rubinacci Tailoring Atelier

From the Mezzanine, an open flight of stairs brings you upstairs to Rubinacci’s tailoring workshop, where all the garments for every Rubinacci store are produced.

One of Three Cutters at Rubinacci

One of Three Cutters at Rubinacci

The space is well lit, and the armada of cutting tables, Pfaff sewing machines, and irons provide a typical tailor store atmosphere. When I walked through, there were numerous people at work, sewing, basting and

Flamboyant Hermès Silk Scarf Lining

Flamboyant Hermès Silk Scarf Lining

cutting garments. One of the girls was working on a coat with extremely pointy pockets and a colorful Hermès silk lining.  I hope the owner will not wear it in tropical climates such as Naples for an extensive period of time, because otherwise he may find color stains on his shirt. Silk, though beautiful, is prone to color off when it gets overly warm and moist. Chances are though that it will go to London, where many of Rubinacci’s of the jackets are delivered.

Sewing the Canvas

Sewing the Canvas

Final Ironing of a Coat

Final Ironing of a Coat

Obviously, a number of local business men prefer the Neapolitan cut and handwork over the London Savile Row suits, but then again, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Mariano Rubinacci

Mariano Rubinacci in Chambray Shirt

Mariano Rubinacci in Chambray Shirt

Mr. Rubinacci was very kind and polite. When I met him for the first time, one thing that caught my eye right away was his white chambray (a lightweight , plain weave summer fabric that was first made in Cambrai, France) summer shirt that he wore without collar stays and unbuttoned almost all the way to the belly button!

He combined it with mid blue chinos, a blue knit belt and brown loafers. The only colorful accent was a red cloth wristband. When he saw my camera, he wanted to put on a jacket and tie right away but I am not at all a fan of staged photos. Much rather, I prefer to show people as they are in real life, because it purveys style much better than a posed picture.

Once we were back inside, he quickly snapped up one of his coats and a knit tie from the shelf and put it on. After all, I am glad he did, because it was an interesting choice. His navy blue fresco coat was unlined – even in the sleeves!

Rubinacci Style

Rubinacci Style

Most of the time, the lack of sleeve lining is a great way to create awful looking sleeves, because the shirt fabric prevents the coat sleeves from falling nicely. However,  in Naples it is often so hot that every breeze is welcome and so Mr. Rubinacci opted against a sleeve lining.

A Rubinacci Coat - It looks like the Sleeve Need Some Work

A Rubinacci Coat – It looks like the Sleeve Need Some Work

Of course, you can actually see the white shirt underneath, but that’s simply part of the style. Just like the wrinkled sleevehead, the patch pockets, and the pick stitching along every seam.

Overall, it was interesting to take a look behind the scenes of Naples’ most famous tailoring house. Although I did not learn too much about the history or anything else, I guess that’s what the Rubinacci book is for.

Now, what do you think of the new London House? Would you wear a jacket with unlined sleeves? I look forward to reading your comments below.

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12 replies
  1. Ray Frensham
    Ray Frensham says:

    Great story…. I thought, just for one second, they were opening in London….grrrr…. I guess I shall have to wait!

  2. Ahmed Sajeel
    Ahmed Sajeel says:

    Fascinating … I quite look forward to a trip to the Rubinacci’s. Did you also chance upon the younger and more flamboyant clan member …

  3. grant harris
    grant harris says:

    I own a yoke lined jacket with unlined sleeves. It is part of a three piece summer suit. I was originally aprehensive about the lack of sleeve lining but it certainly wears lighter and cooler thsn my other warm weather suits. Did you notice Marino is a bit of a fast talker? No visit with Luca? I’m sure he was off somewhere being a playboy in front of the cameras. I’d be interested to hear more about his knowledge/skill as a tailor or if he acts more as a marketing tool for the house.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Most Italians talk quickly but his English is slower. What I noticed was that, he had a very high pitched voice. Luca Rubinacci seems to be quite the jet setter, so he is rarely in Naples anymore.

      Neither Mariano nor Luca are tailors – where did you get that from? They “just” own / manage the business.

  4. Vali
    Vali says:

    Does the color come off even on the most high quality silks? That happened to me with a jacket from a local MTM shop and I assumed it was a low quality lining. Kind of makes me feel sorry for trashing them in my circle. I usually do not wear a jacket when it is incredibily hot, but then I was participating on a more conservative event and it was 36 degrees C outside.

    Anyway, great article, as always

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Yes, colored silk will color off, when it is hot, moist and there is friction. So the armpit is a critical area. If you choose uncolored silk, it should be fine. That being said, I own a number of silk lined coats and none of them has colored off. But then again, I do not wear silk linings when it is hot.

  5. KC
    KC says:

    Lovely article. The new premises was formerly used to sell LH vintage items. Rubinacci’s style is beyond chic and remains the ne plus ultra of bespoke. Actually, the only other house, that I can think of, embodying such elegance and sophistication is Cifonelli.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      From the Rubinacci garments I have seen, compared to the other Neapolitan items, I don’t think their style is particularly special. I can see much more of a handwriting on their ties, squares (machine hemmed!) and scarves.

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Dear Andrea,
      Thank you for not asking who is the best but most remarkable. I think the most remarkable tailor I have met was a young 22 year-old, who cuts and tailors. Even in Naples most tailors are past retirement age and so I found it refreshing to see a young face in the trade. I will write an article about him of course, so stay tuned.

      Regards, Raphael

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