The Neopoli­tan shirt

Plaza Magazine UK & Europe - - MANUAL -

The Bri­tish and French must par­don me. The world's best shirts are sewn in Naples. With hand-sewn fea­tures and a clas­sic well-tai­lored fit, you will find some of the best man­u­fac­tur­ers here: Barba, Fi­namore and luigi Bor­relli.

Ac­cord­ing to Neopoli­tan tai­lor­ing tra­di­tion the shirt is sewn with a round – in­stead of the con­ven­tional so­lu­tion, oval – arm­hole. This cre­ates a closer fit with­out re­strict­ing free move­ment. When the arm is matched to the nar­row arm­hole, small folds form at the shoul­der end, the sig­na­ture of the Neopoli­tan shirt tra­di­tion. A de­tail in­dica­tive of a shirt's qual­ity is the length of the stitches. Shorter stitches are more time­com­sum­ing but cre­ate less ten­sion and greater mo­bil­ity in the fab­ric. Cre­at­ing a shirt fab­ric is a com­pli­cated process. It is a mat­ter of choice of raw cot­ton, weave and fin­ish. Bet­ter fab­rics use long-fi­bre cot­ton which can be spun more tightly which cre­ates a richer and more ro­bust colour dur­ing dy­ing. Pima, Sea Is­land and Egyp­tian cot­ton are ranked as the best qual­ity cot­tons. The col­lar is the most im­por­tant part of the shirt. A hand-sewn col­lar with stitched and wo­ven in­ter­lin­ing cre­ates a nat­u­rally el­e­gant shape where the col­lar falls softly around the neck. Hid­den seams fix the shirt's back and front to cre­ate as sim­ple a look as pos­si­ble. A tri­an­gu­lar fab­ric strengthener, known as a gus­set, is sewn into the lower edge to strengthen the seam where both pieces meet. One can ar­gue whether hand-sewn but­ton­holes ful­fill any func­tion. Stylis­ti­cally they are, like but­tons in gen­uine moth­erof-pearl, at­tached with a so-called Neopoli­tan three-point stitch – a clear re­minder of the hand­i­work be­hind each shirt. The story of Luigi Bor­relli stretches back to the be­gin­ning of the 1900's when Anna Bor­relli opened a shirt stu­dio in Naples. His son Luigi later took over the busi­ness and cre­ated the world fa­mous la­bel which is now run by the third gen­er­a­tion, Fabio Bor­relli. The pro­duc­tion process with its many hand-sewn fea­tures still lives on.

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