Italian Jobber

    Even died-in-the-wool advocates of traditional British cloths must concede one category: Italian mills dominate lightweight jacketing.  I find this reassuring; what assumptions might be made of heavyweight tweed that has emerged from a sun-baked southern Italian mill?  Gossamer blends of wool, cashmere, silk and linen from that same mill, however, have been conceived and tested in the correct conditions.

    One book in particular demonstrates the resulting expertise: Ariston’s Giacche.*  The translation—“Jackets”— might be read as humorous: so comprehensive is this bunch, that one wonder’s if these really are all the summer jackets.  Weights range from 210 grams (7 1/4 ounces) to 295 grams (10 1/4 ounces) but the compositions are what matter: high-super wools, cashmere and silk, wool, linen and silk, cotton and linen, wool and mohair—the combinations are dizzying, as are the finishes, from smooth to slubbed.

    One of the complaints often heard regarding light- and mid-weight cloth is the relative lack of bold pattern.  This is the last problem here; bold windowpanes, exploded plaids, table-cloth ginghams all mix with subtle herringbones, a few solids and some excellent hopsacks.  There are even two micro-checks that have been “spray-dyed,” whatever that is (the effect is mottled and, in dark brown, would make a smashing beach-side suit).  

    These things shouldn’t matter, but even the cover to the book (a powdery blue, faux shagreen) conveys the Mediterranean spirit within.  The gallery below does its best to capture the feeling, but as usual, photographs alone fall short.  This bunch wants to be held up to the light, felt between finger and thumb and generally fawned over. 

*NB  This particular bunch has since been updated; many of the cloths featured in the gallery might have sold out or been reissued in different weights or compositions.  But, you know, whatever, the point remains.