Despite being a writer focusing on tailoring and Savile Row, I’ve always had a weakness for suede and leatherouterwear. Over the years that has run to jackets from specialists such as Parisian workshop Seraphin, historic brand Chapal and American startup Stoffa.
So I was excited to hear that Sartoria Melina has started to visit London. Melina is a one-family bespoke leather operation based in Sarno (about an hour’s drive from Naples). Jolanda Caruso and her mother Carmela set up the operation three years ago, when Carmela left the larger Neapolitan leather house Rifugio.
Melina offers a wide range of styles. A popular classic is a single-breasted, two- or three-button blazer (from €3,000 in baby calf), but blousons, reversible coats, trench coats and double-breasted jackets are also available.
The Carusos work in a few different leathers, but the most popular is a baby calf with a nubuck-like finish – a lightweight and very soft, matte leather. Not only does this feel wonderful, but the texture is very subtle – a world away from the shininess often associated with tailoring-style leather jackets.
The biggest attraction, however, is the fact that the jackets are entirely hand-sewn. This is a beautiful process to watch, as I did when I visited them in Italy last year. “It’s a very difficult process, because you can’t afford any errors,” says Carmela. “Once you’ve made the hole, that’s it - you’ve left a mark. This makes it particularly hard to train up young people, because it takes them a long time to be good enough to work on a real garment.”