The Ulster coat was originally a thoroughly down to earth garment, worn with an over-cape in its earliest form, and championed by the Victorian working classes. Its particular popularity amongst the labourers working in Irish shipyards (who all wore coats made up in a particular kind of tweed) at the turn of the twentieth century lent it its name. Come the 20s and 30s, it had morphed into the ubiquitous coat for the sharp dresser and elegant man about town, with no catalogue of clothes or tailor’s fashion plate complete without at least one Ulster coat design to consider during the cooler months. Traditionally a very British garment, it was Rubinacci that first popularized the coat in Neapolitan tailoring, transforming its role in the gentleman’s wardrobe in the process.
Taking inspiration from a quintessentially British strand of sartorialism, as the house did when Gennaro Rubinacci, Mariano’s grandfather, established Rubinacci ‘London House’ in the 1930s, the Ulster coat was chosen for its impressive stance and its hard-working history. It was an immediate hit, and almost immediately the Neapolitan tailoring establishment found itself inundated with orders for generous, double-breasted Ulster coats to wear both around town, or for leisurely strolls through the Italian countryside. As with all Rubinacci’s creations (then and now), traditional British style was just a starting point for the house’s design and the coat had its structure softened and proportions subtly altered for a more louche, easy-wearing feel.
This authentic sense of louche, comfortable but nonetheless impressive style is what you find in the coats before you. The coats are lightly canvassed and half-lined with piped seams throughout to achieve a relaxed attitude, yet they reach the shins for an impressive look. Each coat’s revere collar is phenomenally broad with a glorious belly, designed to create a full lapel-roll across the chest and a rich drape through the front quarters. Though the coats, of course, fasten right up to one’s nape in poor weather, they are best worn only on the middle button; to allow for the lapels to roll right from the hips to the collar bones, as is proper in a true doppiopetto transformible.