Handmade In Italy

May 11, 2011

Before I started blogging about this stuff, I was an avid reader of menswear blogs for years. One of my favorite blogs was A Continuous Lean, partly because I shared Michael’s passion for knowing how my clothes were made, not just how they were styled. Some of my favorite posts by him were those that showed the manufacturing process behind the stuff I loved so much. 

So, given my (well documented) love for Italian menswear, I thought I’d share a special set of videos of hand craftsmanship in Italy. The videos were produced by Mad About Town, an online boutique that brings some of Europe’s most exquisite luxury items to customers around the world. 

There are three videos. The first is of a Genovese tie maker, Finollo. Lapo Elkann once named this as one of his favorite companies, and given that their wares are so beautifully handmade, it’s easy to see why. The second is of Riccardo Bestetti, an Italian cordwainer based out of Vigevano. Bestetti handmakes everything from Italian styled double monks to British styled wingtips to American styled cowboy boots; the man has an incredible range. Finally, we have Barbisio, a hat company inspired by the Italian notion of La Dolce Vita (“the good life”). These hats were big in Italy during the 1940s and ‘50s, and men would wear them to tell the world they’ve reached an apex in their careers. Today, Barbisio makes hats with the same machines they used a hundred years ago. The manufacturing process is truly something to behold. 

There are two other videos that I haven’t included here. The first is of Nicky, one of the finest tie makers in the world. The company was founded in Milan sometime in 1920, and since then, they’ve been hand making incredibly elegant ties. The other is of Valigeria Beretta, another Milanese company. They handhandcraft luxury bags out of French and British leathers. I’ve left them out because they’re not motion picture videos, but rather a sequence of photographs. However, you can see the two videos here and here. I do think they’re still worth watching, however, if you’re as into European menswear as I am.