The world of custom-made tailoring can see some pretty unusual requests. Kiton master tailor Russo Arcangelo, for one, has been asked to line a coat entirely with mink, or with fabric in a clashing colour.
None of it fazes the 63-year-old, who has more than five decades of tailoring experience after having started as a helper at his uncle’s shop at the age of 10. Speaking through a translator, the Neapolitan muses: “I don’t really find anything unusual in these requests. Everyone is different, and each of my relationships with a customer is unique.”
Arcangelo was in Singapore recently as part of Kiton’s bespoke tailoring service. He is one of four master tailors at the Italian luxury-clothing company who regularly travel the world to give advice and take the measurements of clients. These experts come to Singapore twice a year, where they would meet about 20 to 25 clients.
What sets them apart from the 400 other skilled tailors at the Kiton atelier in Naples is their ability to create a jacket from start to finish – from taking measurements to cutting the patterns that determine the fit and look of a garment, to sewing and finishing the individual sections of a jacket.
Their versatility is impressive, given that a typical Kiton jacket requires 21 hours to make, with 25 tailors working concurrently on components such as the shoulders, sleeves, pockets and lining.
Not surprisingly, they make the brand’s top-of-the-line Lasa suits. Requiring 50 hours to complete and featuring a jacket with a special full-linen interlining, only 100 of these are made each year and, although they come with five-figure price tags, there is never a shortage of demand.
Here, in Singapore, Arcangelo would cut the required pattern after taking each client’s measurements. This is an essential step in creating a perfectly fitting garment and also “the most challenging”, according to Arcangelo. Back in Naples, he would oversee each step of the production process until the garment is delivered.
While he is accommodating to most requests from clients, he has his limits. He will make a coat lined with mink – but he draws the line at too-long sleeves favoured by some customers.
With a smile, he says: “A little of the shirt cuffs should show. This is Neapolitan style.”
Kiton is located at #01-09 Scotts Square.