The right cut: Palermo’s Sartoria Italiano di


Claudio Italiano still has a photo of himself as a two-year-old holding a pair of tailor’s scissors. The image speaks volumes about him at that age and even today.

Now 32, he is in charge of the family tailoring business Sartoria Italiano, continuing the tradition of custom making fine, one-of-a-kind men’s suits and jackets in the business his father started in 1965. Founder Maestro Luigi Italiano, 77, is still active in the atelier at via Enrico Parisi 38 in Palermo, measuring, crafting and providing consultation in the fine points of Palermitani tailoring.
Sartoria Italiano, Palermo
Claudio and Luigi Italiano work together in the time-honored traditions of both family and tailoring.

The perfect cut, attention to detail and an impeccable fit come together in each of their exclusive suits, jackets and tuxedos, a must for your formal occasions and business work attire.

“Our clientele includes lawyers, politicians, entertainers, judges, professionals and other men who want to dress well with refinement,” says Claudio. They come from around Sicily and from Rome, Milan, Germany, the U.K. and some from as far away as the U.S. What they have in common is a desire for truly classic, quality suits and jackets.”

“Our suits are even higher quality than the luxury brands,” says Claudio. They are crafted from the best textiles and fitted perfectly to each man. The premium fabrics Sartoria Italiano uses include classic blues and grays that have stood the test of time. The best fabrics are Frescolana, Glen plaid, and pure cashmere at the top of the line. When the thermometer stays in the double digits, linen, silk mix or unlined light wool and silk are the preferred choices for their innate qualities that’ll keep you cool.

“All fabrics are made in Italy except some produced in England and some wool from Spain,” he says.

“We also urge our clients to dare a little” in the design and fabric, he notes. “When a client chooses the color blue, I suggest for him to pick a birds-eye motif in the shades or a blue herringbone pattern or other motif. The monochrome color palette is classic, I know, but fabric motifs can also encapsulate your personality.”

In 2013 Claudio took charge of the business, following in the footsteps his father carefully made. “He gave me everything,” says Claudio. “All the fundamentals for work and practicing the craft.”
Sartoria Italiano, Palermo
The perfect cut, attention to detail and an impeccable fit come together in each of their exclusive suits.

After graduating high school he studied production design at the Academy of Fine Arts. “I wanted to work at the theatre making costumes, but at 24 I realized that men’s tailoring was my career path,” he says. “I grew up in a family where men’s tailoring was in the air we breathes. First the vocation came, then the passion.”

The sartoria also makes formal tuxedos and suits for weddings. “We need three months to do the work and we guarantee three fittings,” says Claudio. While a formal business suit is ready in twenty days.

And what he and his father enjoy most is contact with the clientele. “It’s not like an ordinary shop where people just buy things,” he says. “You have to be a kind of psychologist to understand the personality of each man, his taste, and then create the optimal style. During the fitting the tailor talks very little, but the customer might.”

Founder and father Luigi says the Year of Culture in Palermo is a great opportunity to reaffirm the traditions of the city. “We represent the old culture of men dressing well, not following the latest fashions, but the art of dressing well,” he says. The Palermitani style is characterized by its clean, sober and discreet cut, he says. It is similar to the Milanese style.

Maestro Luigi recalls that there were hundreds of tailor shops in the city in the 1960s. Today there are fewer than 50. The art of dressing well may be diminishing, but Luigi’s passion has not. “I love the work that I have been doing for more than 60 years, so much so that when I am finished I have the feeling I don’t want to give it to the client,” he says with a laugh. “I keep staring at my creation, I take a picture of it. I am in love with it, like you can be with a painting or sculpture.”
Sartoria Italiano, Palermo
Claudio in 1987. It seems tailoring was already in his DNA.

Maestro Luigi says he loves his job. “I love the nuances and feeling that doing this art by hand creates. If I don’t work, I don’t know what to do,” he says.

As he looks ahead, son Claudio would like to organize an open house for people to see the entire process of fabric selection, measuring, cutting, sewing and fitting a fine Palermo suit. He also dreams of a catwalk show where their collection is artfully displayed.

But even without that, people arrive from across the world to benefit from the craftsmanship of Sartoria Italiano. “Some come from abroad to marry in Sicily. We are pleased to make the formalwear for the groom and witnesses.”

And each finished product is akin to a work of art. “Like a painter or sculptor, we are in love with what we create,” say Luigi and Claudio Italiano, who are happy to work side-by-side offering insight and inspiration.