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  • The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”

    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero

    "Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”

    Piero Albertelli is 77 years-old, he has no offspring and is a master shirt-maker of indisputable poise and talent. His laboratory is in Rome in Via di Pallacorda, at the corner of Piazza Firenze. In 2003, he miraculously survived a neoplasia of the stomach which led him to sell off the Piero Albertelli brand cut-price to two entrepreneurs, who we wrote about a few days back. “My initial request was for 1.2 million euros, but I accepted just 150,000, sure that I was about to die,” he declares, unable to mask the note of bitter regret in his voice. Legal dealings aside, he feels remorse about the sale, but he regained his strength and in 2007 decided to open up shop again, with a new small shirt-making atelier in Via di Pallacorda, where they produce both ready-made and bespoke shirts, as well as some men’s knitwear accessories. Six members of staff, mainly octogenarians, and a couple of younger foreign assistants make up the framework of Piero’s shirt-makers today. A question mark hangs like a sword over who will carry on this fine Roman tradition.

    The atmosphere in Piero’s is one of subtle elegance, grace that shys from overstatement and which recognizes its inestimable worth, thanks to its products of excellence and its invaluable clientele. “Mr. Valentino Garavani has been a client of mine since 1973” Piero, who still washes each shirt he sells in the shop with a special soap before pressing it while still damp, tells me. Asking how many times the shirt is worked by hand before becoming a finished item here looks like a stupid question: “Today those passages have become like Vuitton for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol,” the man who has always been dedicated to the finer details, who knows the history and meaning of every single stitch points out with more than a hint of sarcasm. “We live and breathe love for our work here,” he sighs wistfully, and how can I not be enraptured by his words, given the enthusiasm etched on his face as he talks about his lifelong devotion to his craft. 

    For those interested, Piero’s shirts always have unfused collars, with the collar sewn upside down on request of the client (to obtain the so-called “hard edge” or “bombarozzo”), and hand stitching on the armholes, shoulders, buttonholes, mouche and collar; prices start at €260, which includes two fittings, the first without collar and cuffs, which can be created freehand without pre-established designs, based on the client’s request. He tells me about the mouche, which “is not chic, because it was originally created for labourers to avoid the sides becoming unstitched.” In any case, his are exact replicas of the originals, in a pentagon shape and rigorously hand-sewn. A curiosity to close with: just like any shirt-maker worthy of the name, Piero attaches the sleeve with the sides already stitched together, but he positions the sleeve stitching behind that of the flanks if the fabric of the sleeve puckers at the front and, vice versa, in front of the side stitching if it puckers at the back. An intriguing tradition that must not be lost.

     

    Bespoke hugs,
    Fabio

     

    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”
    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”
    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”
    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”
    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”
    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”
    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”
    The Roman Chapter: La Camiceria di Piero Today the amount of hand-made stitchings on a shirt have become like the Vuitton bag for narrow-minded provincials: a status symbol”

    La Camiceria di Piero

    Via di Pallacorda, 1
    186 Roma Italy
    066892401

    The Roman Chapter: FG Albertelli
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