This trip to Naples brought us back to Sartoria Panico where we were greeted by the maestro Antonio as well as his son Luigi Panico on a lovely Tuesday morning. As is customary in Napoli, we were beckoned into the salotto and offered caffè over small talk as our fitting garments were taken into the fitting room for our convenience. Fortunately for us, our friend Francesco also happened to be at the sartoria at the time and we had the opportunity to find out more about Panico’s story along with his collection of shears on the coffee table. One interesting anecdote is that the oldest shears in the sartoria are the ones the maestro still uses today, now more than 60 years old!
As we wound down our conversation, the maestro showed us into the fitting room where Chris had his basted fitting first. These are some of our personal thoughts about Panico’s fitting process.
[Chris] My maroon wool cashmere jacket looked to be 70% finished. Followed by Antonio’s deep guttural voice, he held the jacket open as he gestured for me to put it on. Never have I felt a jacket cut with such high armholes. The shoulders looked strong, almost roped (con rollino), very dissimilar to the spalla camicia I expected from Napoli. The silhouette of the jacket looked slim, especially slim along the waist which I suppose was accentuated by the high armholes. Panico inspected the jacket closely at every angle possible and with his godfather-like voice asked me to take a 10 foot walk within his shop. He saw it. It was obvious. I felt pressure and slight discomfort in front of my shoulders, and the upper back needed to be let out for more ease of movement. It must be mentioned here that Panico prioritises comfort over form, one thing I especially treasure with bespoke tailoring. After 10 minutes my jacket was covered in markings from Antonio’s chalk. As I took off the jacket, he called his coat maker over and pointed at the shoulders of the jacket to show them the exact changes that needed to be made.
[Jerry] When putting on a Panico jacket, the first thing again that immediately struck me was how high and small the armhole was. Antonio quickly marked it up and Francesco explained to me that he was going to lower it just a touch as comfort is the first priority of Panico. Indeed, Antonio instructed me to cross my arms to inspect if there was enough drape in the upper back for ease of movement. Even while suggesting to take in the waist to put more shape in the body (my waist has shrunk a little since our first appointment), when marking the adjustment with pins and chalk Antonio made sure that I needed to still feel comfortable in his jacket. This “eating room” is much appreciated especially while traveling through Italy with the amount of pizza, pasta and bistecca we have been engorging! Quite unique was that he asked that I walk around his atelier with the jacket fastened and unfastened as he watched to check if the jacket flowed with me or hindered my movement in any way. With the walk complete and Antonio satisfied, my fitting was complete and Antonio brought out a single piece of lining he intended to use for my sleeves. Without even a moment’s hesitation I nodded and smiled, not because I actually considered how it would match, but because I trust Antonio to make the best choice.
As we will be staying in Italy through the weekend, Antonio asked that we return for a quick forward fitting on Thursday before finishing our jackets to bring back to Hong Kong on Saturday. Please note that we do not advocate that you expedite the bespoke process this way, but Antonio was confident that it could be done especially for us.
We found many of the marked issues amended on our return on Thursday, although Jerry’s forward shoulders still required a bit more ease in front of the shoulder and Chris required more drape in the upper back and the chest taken in slightly. We are very excited to pick up our jackets on our return and will be sure to post a follow-up after we have worn them for a while, please stay tuned!