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Menefreghismo: Analysis of a Neapolitan coat by Jeffery Diduch

Jeffery Diduch Menefreghismo Neapolitan Tailoring sloppy work

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#1 tailleuse

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 07:01 AM

In his last post, Jeffery Diduch, a forum member, began a discussion of two related concepts that animate some areas of tailoring:  "Sprezzatura" and "Menefreghismo".  Jeffery gives his own translation of the latter in this post: From his explanation, I would propose something like "studied, aggressive indifference."

 

I've had only a little time to read this, but I'm not completely sure what Jeffery is suggesting:  Is this some kind of post-modern approach to tailoring (Who cares about matching stripes?)?  The normcore of bespoke?  Or is this just sloppiness, certain tailors' taking advantage of clients too ignorant and obsessed by status to care?

 

Here's the pronunciation of "menefreghismo".


Edited by tailleuse, 06 June 2015 - 07:02 AM.

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#2 Schneidergott

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 08:28 AM

As far as I understand it (and I could be easily and completely wrong) "sprezzatura" is a way of dressing oneself without putting too much thought into what goes together well, or at least give the appearance of not having put a lot of effort into it. The latest version, however, seems to have lots of little things like wrist bands and accessories in general incorporated, while leaving certain details unattended. One of the latest trends, for example, is not to button the collar of a button down shirt, roll up the coat and shirt sleeves(Miami vice style!) and other variations.

 

The menefreghismo part is exactly what Jeffery wrote: "I don't give a shit!" Which in this case means that whoever made this coat (perhaps even along with the customer and the cutter) didn't care much about the make of that coat.

The faults Jeffery mentions and shows are indeed so obvious, that they could not have been missed by any tailor/ cutter or even customer.

 

 

Or is this just sloppiness, certain tailors' taking advantage of clients too ignorant and obsessed by status to care?

 

That could be part of this. For some time now it is considered "rude" (to put it mildly) to critisize certain tailoring houses, especially in Naples. Although this type of execution is very hard, if not impossible, to defend.


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"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#3 greger

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 10:22 AM

A sloppy job done on purpose. These have been done for thousands of years for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes fashion. But cons have done this too. Another reason is if you need to escape a country; some who dressed to well lost their heads, or died some other way. Decades ago listening to a woman who escaped China as a small girl they wore beggars clothes and at different checkpoints, those who dressed too well died (her parents had several servants before they escaped). There are many stories throughout history that are similar. At present the West is rather peaceful, but history shows that can change. On the other hand, the tailor could have had a stroke.
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#4 tailleuse

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 11:26 AM

As far as I understand it (and I could be easily and completely wrong) "sprezzatura" is a way of dressing oneself without putting too much thought into what goes together well, or at least give the appearance of not having put a lot of effort into it. The latest version, however, seems to have lots of little things like wrist bands and accessories in general incorporated, while leaving certain details unattended. One of the latest trends, for example, is not to button the collar of a button down shirt, roll up the coat and shirt sleeves(Miami vice style!) and other variations.

 

The menefreghismo part is exactly what Jeffery wrote: "I don't give a shit!" Which in this case means that whoever made this coat (perhaps even along with the customer and the cutter) didn't care much about the make of that coat.

The faults Jeffery mentions and shows are indeed so obvious, that they could not have been missed by any tailor/ cutter or even customer.

 

 

That could be part of this. For some time now it is considered "rude" (to put it mildly) to critisize certain tailoring houses, especially in Naples. Although this type of execution is very hard, if not impossible, to defend.

 

My understanding of "sprezzatura" is the same as your first definition.  In America, a famous graphic artist once described his style as "artfully thrown together."  He wanted to look good,but as if the effect were completely spontaneous.  I didn't pick up on the second meaning you suggested. It's the menefreghismo part I was really confused by. It's hard for me to understand how a tailor of repute could be that lackadaisical, while charging a lot of money.  There also was a line in Jeffery's post that suggested the shock of the new: Cubism was mentioned.

 

But it could just be indifference. My tailoring teacher told me about visiting a Kiton store and being shocked at the stratospheric prices being charged for very ordinary work.


Edited by tailleuse, 06 June 2015 - 11:32 AM.

Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#5 tailleuse

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 11:29 AM

A sloppy job done on purpose. These have been done for thousands of years for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes fashion. But cons have done this too. Another reason is if you need to escape a country; some who dressed to well lost their heads, or died some other way. Decades ago listening to a woman who escaped China as a small girl they wore beggars clothes and at different checkpoints, those who dressed too well died (her parents had several servants before they escaped). There are many stories throughout history that are similar. At present the West is rather peaceful, but history shows that can change. On the other hand, the tailor could have had a stroke.

 

Why would anyone pay lots of money for a sloppy job done on purpose?  How does not matching the stripes in the obvious places that even a beginner would try to match create cachet?


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#6 tailleuse

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 11:35 AM

What was wrong with the D/Mezzaluna tack?   I couldn't see well enough to tell.


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#7 Schneidergott

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Posted 06 June 2015 - 04:48 PM

What was wrong with the D/Mezzaluna tack?   I couldn't see well enough to tell.

 

They are either missing or poorly done as well. Click on the images to get a larger view.

Usually Italian coats have a nice finishing, I've seen some Neapolitan jackets that were immaculate by any standard.

Apparently the inside is going to be equally worse.


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"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#8 tailleuse

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 01:02 AM

 

They are either missing or poorly done as well. Click on the images to get a larger view.

Usually Italian coats have a nice finishing, I've seen some Neapolitan jackets that were immaculate by any standard.

Apparently the inside is going to be equally worse.

 

Thank you.


Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#9 tailleuse

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 02:32 AM

I've picked up some interesting French and Italian vocabulary this week. I learned about five French synonyms for vulgar and ostentatious on Julien Scavini's Stiff Collar blog (and he basically approves of the way New York men dress) and on Jeffery Diduch's blog I picked up menefreghismo and how to say "I don't give a ___"* in Italian.

 

Thank goodness for Google Translate.  When I was a child, before starting language studies at the age of 13, I used to be frustrated when I'd come across foreign phrases that were not translated.  The New Yorker always had writers who would accent the key point with a French phrase. (It will be interesting in 50 years to see what is the "cachet" language:  Chinese, Spanish, maybe still French, so many people love the sound.) When I read Herzog by Saul Bellow (most of which really went over my head), I remember being stumped by: Erst kommt das Fressen; dann kommt die Moral. Little did I know how famous that phrase was.

 

 

Better language skills through tailoring blogs.

 

 

*Redacted for the sensibilities of the delicate.


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#10 Henry Hall

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 03:07 AM

Blimey! The work on the lining looks awful. I wonder what went on here? Could it be something like deliberate bad work for an awkward customer demanding a remake? Or a depressed tailor working under time constraints?

 

After seeing the buttonholes, and learning they are standard Neapolitan, I feel a lot better about my own!


Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#11 Schneidergott

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 05:32 AM

 

After seeing the buttonholes, and learning they are standard Neapolitan, I feel a lot better about my own!

 

I wouldn't say the "squashed caterpillar" buttonhole is the standard in Naples. Kiton garments, however, have indeed very unsightly examples of them. But not as unsightly as the ones in this particular garment.


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"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#12 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 07:32 AM

All I can say is my first attempt at a tailored coat was no where near this bad.

Could it have been a bad joke? I don't think anyone could have stayed that drunk and conscious enough to have created this disaster!
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#13 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 08:59 AM

The tailor probaly makes good money with his crap. He makes use of his brand to find idiots who pay him well.


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www.berlinbespokesuits.com

#14 tnperusse

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 11:40 AM

Just to add my bit as a former academic, sprezzatura as Castiglione intended it was to encompass all the required virtues of the Renaissance gentleman: skills in poetry and music, grace and elegance in dress and decorum, wielding a sword without hesitation, leaping on one's steed to pursue varlets, etc. Ironically - given his later bad habits and temper - England's Henry the Eighth was precisely that: writer of dense theological arguments, musician, poet, pleaser of ladies, horseman and could he spend money on clothes. He would probably have reacted to bad tailoring most unhappily, for the tailor. I think off with his head would have been the least of it.
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#15 Learner

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 05:18 PM

Just to add my bit as a former academic, sprezzatura as Castiglione intended it was to encompass all the required virtues of the Renaissance gentleman: skills in poetry and music, grace and elegance in dress and decorum, wielding a sword without hesitation, leaping on one's steed to pursue varlets, etc

Essentially true, but Castiglione's sprezzatura, specifically, was the art of making all of those difficult tasks look effortless.  In modern usage, sprezzatura basically means parading about during Pitti Immagine Uomo wearing one sock or with your fly undone.


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#16 tailleuse

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Posted 10 June 2015 - 11:15 PM

Just to add my bit as a former academic, sprezzatura as Castiglione intended it was to encompass all the required virtues of the Renaissance gentleman: skills in poetry and music, grace and elegance in dress and decorum, wielding a sword without hesitation, leaping on one's steed to pursue varlets, etc. Ironically - given his later bad habits and temper - England's Henry the Eighth was precisely that: writer of dense theological arguments, musician, poet, pleaser of ladies, horseman and could he spend money on clothes. He would probably have reacted to bad tailoring most unhappily, for the tailor. I think off with his head would have been the least of it.

 

In the post, the concept of menefreghismo was used in reference to the poor tailoring. 

 
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#17 Schneidergott

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 07:16 AM

"Me ne frego" is an expression for a certain attitude towards life, work, actually everything. "I don't care!" would be an English equivalent.

 

Voxsartoria gave some hints regarding the tailors involved, but I have only a vague idea about who made the trousers (which we are not going to see?).

Either way, it didn't help to solve the mysteries.


"Nur der ist Meister seiner Kunst, der immer sucht, das Gute zu verbessern und niemals glaubt, das Beste schon zu haben."
"Only he is a master of his art who always seeks to improve the good and never believes to have the best already"

http://www.dressedwell.net/ It's snarky, but fun.


#18 greger

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Posted 11 June 2015 - 08:27 AM

"Voxsartoria long ago promised me a suit of his for dissection"

Went back and reread the subject. I see Vox Should have demanded his money back. Maybe the tailor had a stroke, but it still not saleable.

Edited by greger, 11 June 2015 - 04:23 PM.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Jeffery Diduch, Menefreghismo, Neapolitan Tailoring, sloppy work

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