Equal parts charming and direct, elegant and a little bit rough and tumble, Salvatore Ambrosi is, nonetheless, a master. And the craft that he’s chosen to master is trousers. Not jackets, not shirts – Salva is a thoroughbred. He’s a specialist.
The Ambrosi family have been making trousers for four generations, something that Salva says was born out of both necessity and habit. “Napoli in the past was a poor city. Sewing suits is very hard, so my grandfather made up his mind to just do the trousers. Lots of militaries would come through and they would need linen trousers, for instance, so he would make them.” Catering to militaries in the region helped the Ambrosi family build the company, and they began working as specialist trouser cutters to the larger Neapolitan tailoring houses, such as Rubinacci and Sartoria Solito.
Salva began working for his father Antonio at the tender age of 10, helping out in the workroom, before entering the business in earnest in the mid-1990s. At that stage, Ambrosi was purely focussed on producing trousers for other companies, but Salva saw an opportunity to use the company’s history to build a proper brand. “When I started I wanted to do it for myself, and I was lucky to have the chance to. In 1995 it was like the start of the Internet when I decided to make my own brand. I took it across Europe, the U.S., London – everywhere. So now we work purely own-label – we don’t make any trousers for anyone else."
To try on a pair of Ambrosi trousers is to truly understand what is possible with the garment: masterfully-sculpted around the waist and back, with volume perfectly balanced around the hip, impeccably hand-finished throughout and possessed of a drape and line that doesn't falter. “My vision for trousers is rooted in 1970s style,” says Salva. “A bit fuller, a bit higher, pleated. We make trousers with a very high waist – trousers with a bit more flair than what you’d normally find. But we’ve changed nothing about the construction, because we still have all of that traditional knowledge.” Admiring that construction first-hand reveals the fruits of Salva’s dedication to artisanal craft. There is a truly staggering amount of hand-finished details on his trousers, but it’s the way that they’re cut that lets them fit and drape so elegantly.