Origin Napoli, Italy
Specialty Bespoke Leather Jackets
Lines & Prices Bespoke Jacket €2.500+
via Sartoria Melina
"When she was just 6 years old, Carmela had one only dream: become a tailor! So she learned this lovely job, and step by step, four years later, she worked in a tailor in her town, producing bespoke women tailleurs. When she was 21 years old, although she wanted to improve her abilities, Carmela had to stop because she became the mother of two children: Luigi and Jolanda.
In 2006, she create something really new, precious and requested by many famous brands: a fully handmade, bespoke, leather jacket. As time went by, year after year, she improved her abilities and knowledge and began offering a wide range of styles (and not only a simple jacket!) Obviously, her classic and most popular garment is a single-breasted, two or three-button jacket. However, she also does blousons, reversible coats, trench coats, and double-breasted jackets (and many other new models are going to be shown shortly).
In 2010, finally, She creates her own brand, Melina Napoli, a small one-family bespoke leather operation, based in Sarno (about 30 minutes drive from Naples).
Carmela and her daughter Jolanda Caruso work with a few different leathers and suedes, but the most popular is a baby calf with a nubuck-like finish - a lightweight and very soft leather that is also nice and matte. Not only does this feel lovely, but the texture is very subtle - a world away from the shininess we might associate with tailoring-style jackets. Other leathers they use are exotics such as alligator and ostrich, which of course are more showy.
Their work emphasises hand finishing on the outside, with pick stitching around all seams, hand-sewn buttons and buttonholes. The central attraction of the product, however, is the pick stitching. “It’s a very difficult process, because you can’t afford any errors,” says Carmela. “Once you’ve made the hole, that’s it - you’ve left a mark. This makes it particularly hard to train young people, because it takes them a long time to be good enough to work on a real garment.”
Cutting on such leather is a challenge, because it moves and stretches easily; and before the cutting begins, a good hour needs to be spent working out how the pattern can fit on the skin. This is rather like a puzzle - as the colour varies slightly across the skin, and pieces that will be next to each other (eg along the side seams) need to be of a similar shade. The back of the tailored jackets is made out of two pieces of leather, rather than four, which makes them look like tailoring leather; the buttonholes are also cut with a hammer and chisel, before being hand-sewn."