Image Source: therake.com
Dear Mr. Rubinacci, thank you so much for taking the time. You just had your second child so we appreciate that you take the time for our interview.
Yes, I just had my second child, a boy, who we named Mariano, the name of my father. And we are happy because the Rubinacci name can now move to the fourth Generation. You know we are from Naples, we are really into the family heritage. I have three sisters, without boys the Rubinacci Legacy would be gone. So that makes me really happy.
I am now in the Store in Milan, because during the day I have appointments and fittings and then as soon as I finish I vastly go home which is only 5 minutes by Vespa and then enjoy some family time.
Since you are the third generation in your family with this heritage of Neapolitan tailoring, was it always clear for you that you would follow your fathers footsteps into the family business and become a tailor when you were younger?
Well, frankly speaking no. It came little by little. I was a professional sailor when I was young. I was in the Italian team training for the olympic games and that was quite important for me. From there I got my drive towards competition.
When I was very young, 6 years old, my father took me to Pitti Uomo in Florence. And I was helping and unpacking ties and for me it was a just time I spent with my father back then. My father used to take me to the Rubinacci workshop in the afternoon after school and I was playing with pieces of fabric on the floor that the tailors had dropped, or was sewing pieces of fabric onto my jeans. So I was surrounded by this world all my life.
Then when I was 20 and I decided to quit sailing because it was at that time I had to decide wether I would pursue my career in sailing or if there was another option around. And of the course the option to follow my father was very appealing. Because of course it is a very beautiful job, we are making the life of people happier and showing them how to dress better. So my father sent me to London and I had an apprenticeship on Savile Row and then worked for an Italian Silk Trade company before I then arrived at my fathers company in Naples. I was very competitive so my father was like a competitor for me so I always fought to build up my own reputation and my father was very happy about that. He taught me in a way that I had to learn from my own mistakes.
So that’s how I started and I believe that’s what made me become who I am today and am recognized all around the world for being a style influence in this niche world which makes me very happy.
A very interesting journey! So how would you describe the Rubinacci House Style?
Well, my grandfather was an art dealer with a passion for art and he started the business because the King of Savoy requested to be dressed like him. So he was obliged to start an atelier with tailors in Naples and to dress the Neapolitan high society of that time. These people were not working but were enjoying life, la dolce vita, so my grandfather decided to deconstruct the jacket to allow them to be softer and more comfortable compared to the English and Milanese Jackets, which then later became known as the Neapolitan Jacket. This way is all about lightness, about feeling like a second skin. Something that is being imperfectly perfect, that is the secret of Neapolitan tailoring. That is Rubinacci.
Back then, the clients of Rubinacci where living in Naples, the tailors were not international but famous in their town. Today we are famous because we are famous around the world and people around the world have different needs. So that’s why my father sent me to London in order to understand what the English philosophy for tailoring is and to bring this to Rubinacci to build up a modern house that has Neapolitan blood but also an open mind to dress all people all over the world that come to Rubinacci.
So what is special today is that we try to build up the style individually for the client. Usually a tailoring house has a signature style that people can spot easily. A Rubinacci jacket is recognizable from an interior view, the person wearing a Rubinacci jacket will know it, but if you don’t know it will be difficult to recognize it from an aesthetically point of view. That’s what I think makes it very unique today.
What would you say, how has the way men dress evolved in the last years?
Then there is the young generation that wants to look different and more modern, so the way they dress is more particular but it is still nothing else than what has always been around. So I wouldn’t say we are evolving in a bad or good way we are just simply always evolving. People like me need to be advisors. We need to understand how people are evolving and to suggest them the right product.
Many of our readers and followers know you from your Instagram Stories where you give advises on dressing. If you had to narrow it down to one advise to give to someone to look good, what would it be?
Very Simple. Having a good sense. The good sense is the base of everything, of life. It is the base of how you dress, how you work. If you put the good sense into everything you will do, you will do it right. And it is easy. It is the same in dressing, in polishing shoes, in everything you do. Think about, is this fitting me well? Do I look old, do I look young? Do I look good, do I not look good? It all doesn’t matter, it is about are you feeling comfortable and do you want to wear it? So go on. If you feel it, do it! It’s that easy.
People say, a gentleman needs to wear a tie. It’s not true. I am a kite-surfer and a snowboarder. I am someone who in his sports life is dressing completely different. But I have a sense for it. I don’t wear my loafers when I’m going surfing. Being a gentleman is knowing how to dress in a certain context and feeling comfortable.
Rubinacci offers a great variety of clothes, not only suits. What can we expect in future in terms of additions to your collection?
When I build up collections it is all about quality, fabric and the research how this product can be particular. In terms of style and in terms of what kind of product, I like that Rubinacci is a kind of place where you can always find the same styles and the same cut. If you are feeling comfortable you want to be sure that this is the way we do things and we are not changing it in the future. Today, fashion is up and down. You go to a store today and next season you won’t find the same fit and the same styles anymore. We are men, we are like horses with blinders, once we found something that we like we like to go there. It is like the barber, once we found the right we don’t want another barber, we want to go there. This is Rubinacci, what we are working on is how to find the best quality and at the right price. It doesn’t mean it is expensive, it doesn’t mean it is cheap, we want to find the right price for the quality you get.
Rubinacci has stores in Milan, Naples and London. For someone who travels a lot, what advise can you give to dress well when traveling?
Someone who travels a lot needs clothes that are wrinkle free and light. If it is cold bring an overcoat but nowadays you are mostly inside where it is warm. You need to travel light in terms of fabric, so like an open weave fabric, maybe a hopsack. Something that is wrinkle free and open weave. In terms of color you should bring those that are easy to match, like a blue suit, grey trousers, a pair of denim jeans and 3-4 shirts. A blue shirt, a striped one and two denim shirts. Like these I am able to go around and always look different and appropriate for the occasion. You really don’t need a lot when traveling.
Thank you for the advice! Let us speak a little about shoes. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes that is your go-to?
No i have so many that I don’t have a favorite one (laughing). Who likes dressing hasn’t got a favorite pair but has many favorite pairs. It depends on the occasion and where you are going. For example today I am wearing a pair of black Pennyloafers with my grey Pinstripe suit. I like many brands, I also have bespoke shoes or many Rubinacci Loafers and shoes from Morjas. People ask me why I like a brand like Morjas that is very reasonably priced but they are great and you don’t need to buy really expensive shoes if the ones you buy look good and are well made. I also have my bespoke shoes that I don’t use everyday because I don’t want to ruin them.
On Instagram you were recently shining your shoes with our Pate de Luxe polish. Is polishing your shoes something you like to do and do regularly?
I think once a week, sometimes even more, I take half an hour to polish my shoes because if you take care of your shoes they can last forever. You don’t have to polish them daily, it’s enough to take care of them when they look like they need a bit of attention. I have everything from Saphir, like the Suede shampoo which I love. I like to have all these little toys and I have all the colors from burgundy over brown to black.
At the moment I like to polish my brown shoes with black polish to create a patina on them which I really like. These are things you discover when you are playing around with your polishes. Sometimes when I feel stressed I like to take an hour and sit down with a coffee or beer and polish my shoes and it helps me to relax.
We have one last questions to get to know the person behind the brand a bit better. Would you share with us your favorite kind of music that you’re listening to?
I listen a lot to lounge music, but not with a lot of beat, more relaxed. Yesterday for example I went from Jazz to Reggae to Lounge music like JP Cooper. My wife and I were listening to Reggae all afternoon yesterday and that was really nice.
Thank you so much Mr. Rubinacci for taking the time it was really interesting to speak to you!