Craft / October 2018

De Petrillo's Philosophical Designs

Neapolitan tailoring house De Petrillo specialises in modern ready-to-wear tailoring that’s attractively priced – especially considering the handwork and quality of fabrics.

Benedetto De Petrillo explaining his house's ethos. Photography by Shaun Darwood.

Perched against one of many tall tables strewn with swatches of fine cloths, intricate scribbles and philosophical jottings, Benedetto De Petrillo – founder of the eponymous tailoring house – explains that he is not a master tailor; nor does he want to be viewed as one. Perhaps, it’s a sign of respect towards Naples, his home and the cradle of bespoke tailoring, or perhaps it’s that he’s just different. Having spent an entire day with him in his natural habitat, one thing is clear: aside from his apparent talent of curating finely-made ready-to-wear, Benny is an emotional and philosophical creative who’s deeply passionate about fabrics, family and his life’s work; a seemingly common trait among all Neapolitans.

Amidst the organised chaos of his studio, a kind of mess that only an intense, diligent creative could navigate through, he says: “For me, the De Petrillo jacket is a representation of the journey an individual is chasing with all of his energy. He continues to chase it, so that eventually, he will be able to live it.” With enthusiastically gesturing hands, accessorised with a Marlboro Touch between his fingers, Benny continues to explain his company’s ethos while taking us on a tour of his studio and workshop, which is occupied by roughly 40 craftspeople producing some of the most exciting ready-to-wear tailoring in Naples.

The Rake was introduced to De Petrillo earlier this year at Pitti Uomo by our friend Alessandro Agazzi, and we were instantly taken aback by the wares on show. Despite the company's infancy (it was founded in 2009), Benny began his career in the industry following the birth of his first son in 1987 and honed in on acquiring an astute knowledge of fabrics. Over the course of less than 10 years, his company still upholds the same values, which he describes as being “more important than money”. De Petrillo is decidedly modern in its take on traditional tailoring. The style is, unsurprisingly, true to the Neapolitan way, but the fabrics used across the collection are sophisticated and refined, working off and within various shades of browns, navies, and greys which meet traditional patterns and checks. What’s not to love about that? I'm not quite sure, but there’s absolutely nothing garish, bold or brash to it. Above all, it’s positioned at extremely attractive price points.

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Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.