[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]hen his mother took him to buy his first suit at the age of eight, Italian menswear designer Gabriele Pasini already knew exactly what he wanted.

“Even though I was a child, I gave specific instructions to the tailor,” the 54-year-old bachelor told The Straits Times.
Pasini was in Singapore for the opening of Closet, a multi-label luxury boutique which opened at Scotts Square. His label, available for the first time in Singapore, is one of seven being carried at Closet, which sells menswear, womenswear and accessories.

Pasini says no one taught him about suits as a child. He decided on his own taste and style preferences from observing the older teenagers and men around him. “I looked around at what my older friends wore, what my father wore and I wanted to dress like them.”

Although boys at the time usually wore shorts with their formal suits, he wanted long pants. He also specified that he wanted a green double-breasted jacket with wide lapels – a style favoured by much older men. “At first, the tailor said no. He said I was just a baby. What could I know about suits?”

But Pasini insisted. “I cried. I wanted to imitate the adults. I wanted to dress like my father rather than like other boys,” he says. His persistence – cemented by tears – paid off. The tailor conceded to making his suit to his specifications. “I would not have worn the outfit otherwise.”

Today, he applies the same attention to detail to the suits he designs. His signature style – a mix of British dandyism, Neapolitan tailoring and Baroque influence – has been seen on American rapper and comedian Nick Cannon and Italian actor Paolo Stella. Prices for a jacket start at S$2,100, while shirts are from S$390.

Pasini, who has a masters of art from G. Ballardini, an international school for ceramics, in Faenza, Italy, worked with experienced master tailors in Naples in his early 20s. He says he favours the Neapolitan style for its wider lapels and signature soft shoulders, which typically use minimal or no padding.

After watching the tailors in Naples and refining his design skills, Pasini opened his own store in Modena in 1995. In 2012, he signed a joint-venture agreement with Italian fashion house Lardini for the production and distribution of the Gabriele Pasini brand in Italy and abroad. Lardini is known for manufacturing men’s tailoring for top labels such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino and Gucci.

Thanks to the partnership, Pasini was able to open a store in Los Angeles last year. He also plans to open one in Milan by the end of next year. His label is also available in about 450 retail points around the world, in countries such as Japan, South Korea, Russia, Australia, Spain and Germany.

Pasini says the jacket – which he wears daily – is the most important piece of clothing for a man. “You can wear it with anything. A jacket can be worn with a T-shirt and jeans or it can be worn with a suit and tie.”

Even in Singapore’s warm weather, the designer had a multicoloured striped jacket on with a white shirt and drop-crotch pants. “For me, a jacket makes a man. It is a classic that will never be out of style and it suits any age. It is so versatile.”

Adapted from The Straits Times.