Style / October 2015

A Gathering of Immortals, Part II: Tommaso Melani and Stefano Bemer

In this second feature on the bespoke symposium that dominated Pitti Uomo last summer, The Rake explores the motivations and philosophies of Tommaso Melani, guardian of one of the most storied…

Those who have read the first instalment of this pair of features, might well have noticed that its focus is entirely about the art of bespoke tailoring; bespoke tailoring as practiced by six exceptionally talented tailors in particular. Even so, there is a second half to this story, for credit must go to menswear aficionado Simon Crompton, and also Tommaso Melani, owner of Florentine bespoke shoemaker Stefano Bemer, who together were jointly responsible for gathering these tailors together, organising one most significant assemblies of artisanal craftsmen in recent years in the process.

Indeed, if those six tailors who gathered at Pitti earlier this year were the six 'immortals' so renowned for their craft, then the seventh is undoubtedly the house of Stefano Bemer itself. I reference the house here, rather than the man, because the eponymous Stefano Bemer tragically is no longer with us, having passed away some years ago as readers may well be aware. Even so, his extraordinary legacy lives on in the works of Tommaso, Bemer's long time friend and a fellow denizen of Florence's world-renowned leather goods trade. Tommaso is the fourth generation to own and run the Scuola de Cuoio - an artisanal leather working company sharing the same extraordinary values as Bemer. As Tommaso explains: 'Stefano Bemer and Scuola de Cuoio were both the best representation of leather working craftsmanship in Florence and we were often invited to showcase our work alongside each other.

'The Scuola del Cuoio was created, as the name suggests, for the purpose of teaching leather working skills to the unprivileged of the city after WWII. Training and development has always been at our core. Growing up alongside those craftsmen that work at the Scuola del Cuoio, I was always fascinated by the leather-working alchemy that their hands wrought so effortlessly. Stefano Bemer's team of artisans has the same aura about them, and that is what ultimately pushed me to ensure that that the firm wouldn't be dissolved and the alchemy preserved.' As a result, Tommaso threw caution to the winds in 2012 after Stefano's passing and resolved to continue the firm's story, purchasing the company and setting about transforming Stefano Bemer in the process.

Contributor

Aleksandar Cvetkovic

Aleks is Deputy Editor at The Jackal and former staffer at The Rake. He’s long harboured a passion for fine menswear, well-timed dramatic pauses and stiff drinks.