Costa Bravo: Manolo Costa New York

The Rake dissects the personal style and philosophy of one of New York’s most forward-thinking bespoke tailors.
Costa Bravo: Manolo Costa New York
Manolo Costa is arguably one of New York’s most stylish inhabitants. The owner of the bespoke tailors’ that bears his name, Costa established the house with the intention of offering a fresh and cosmopolitan alternative to traditional bespoke, as well as “an admitted departure from the dark wood, red-carpeted gentleman’s lounge aesthetic” that so often accompanies the old-school bespoke experience. This sense of modernity permeates Manolo’s work, which feels relevant, glamorous and easy-wearing. The Manolo Costa studio only serves to reinforce this impression, and lends itself to an ‘intimate, personal and exclusive’ bespoke experience as Costa explains; “our clients can feel at ease in a world curated with some of personal favourite objects, such as museum-quality lithographs, Steuben stemware, Edward Wormley seating and a rosewood Norgaard coffee table. After all, it is a lifestyle we are catering to.” This understanding of lifestyle and personal luxury is carried seamlessly through into a Manolo Costa suit, which Costa describes as “an alternative whereby the modern man can rely on sound guidance and a contemporary aesthetic.” Sounds divine to us.
“The style of a greatcoat silently commands respect” says Manolo, “A proud collar stands tall, and pronounced lapels outrank most other common alternatives. I’ve been particularly enjoying wearing them this season.”
Turn-ups on trousers are de rigeur for Manolo, “most men don’t recognise the impact of a well-appointed trouser cuff. They enhance the scale.”
Manolo’s sunglasses are vintage Moscot. “I stumbled upon them in a vintage shop in Florence” he explains. “What attracted me to them is the subtle contrast between the tortoiseshell and the hardware as they come together. They sit well in a tailored look as well as in a casual setting, they’ve been refurbished and still hold a timeless appeal.”
As you might expect, Manolo routinely wears his own suits. “They are both cut in our house style, our approach revolves around creating bespoke tailored clothing that captures a timeless American aesthetic – one that celebrates a very inviting yet distinctive silhouette. Our shoulder is soft and natural, complimented by a prominent, high-set lapel. Modern, with a slight sex-appeal is the expression of choice.”
“Personally, I enjoy patterns that remain subtle at first glance yet which also hold a unique interest to the eye”, says Manolo, “scale is equally important too.” On ties, Costa explains; “We carry a curated selection of three-fold and seven-fold neckties, the large majority of which come out of Italy. There are four things I look for in a tie. One, the cloth it’s constructed from. Two, the shape given to it. Three, the grace with which it hangs. Four, the knot one chooses.”
“The suede Oxfords and tassel loafers are just two of a five piece capsule collection that is exclusive to our atelier” says Manolo. “We collaborated with my dear friend and master shoemaker Norman Vilalta, to create five shoes that are most representative of our house style. They are benchmade and hand sewn out of Barcelona.”