It’s a bit of an oxymoron: Bespoke tailored clothing – often depicted as the exclusive province of pedigreed, patinated, elder statesmen in foulards and signet rings – is fast becoming a must-have for modern customers of means who want more than athleisure and jeans in their wardrobe. One youthful acolyte is embracing the rigor, heritage and artistry of Savile Row, while also paying homage to the ease and sprezzatura expressed by the best of Italy’s bench made tailoring titans.
In 2017, at only 27 years old, New Yorker Paolo Martorano created his own label, PAOLO STYLE, after nearly a decade working almost exclusively in the bespoke category, first with the legendary Alan Flusser and later at the storied retailer Paul Stuart, where he helped quadruple their made-to-measure and bespoke operations in 7 years.
Paolo’s passion began to form when he was just a child. “In grade school, for whatever reason, I was always worried about being underdressed. While browsing a bookstore in my early teens, I spied Alan Flusser’s seminal “Dressing the Man”, and it literally stopped me in my tracks. My parents couldn't understand my obsession and weren’t about to give me the money to buy the book. So, I started researching the subject on the Internet, got my first job, and purchased the book with my first paycheck.”
But that wasn’t the end of the story. “A few years later, I finally got up the courage to contact Mr. Flusser directly, and ended up with an apprenticeship. From there I moved on to Paul Stuart, and then on to Dunhill as Bespoke/Made-to-Measure Specialist for America. Last year, at the urging of several customers, I took the – admittedly immense – step of starting my own label.
PAOLO STYLE hews to the tradition of “meticulous measurement”, “custom paper pattern” and “basted fitting” protocols that define the very best classic bespoke process, which for generations has been the gold standard of a hand-made garment. In this way, Martorano has earned the respect of international power players looking for unassailable sartorial correctness, while also cultivating a following amongst a new generation of sharp-dressed men, who crave the personalization and craft that signify the “maker” movement, but expect a uniquely collaborative experience and a timely delivery schedule.
Martorano’s decade-plus experience in the custom clothing business in New York means he personally knows the best individual pattern makers, cutters and tailors in the city and environs, and pairs each piece with the best craftsperson for the job. His deep scholarship of and appreciation for premium quality fabrics and artisanal findings from the world’s finest mills, elevate details such as lapels, facings and buttonholes to architectural-level infrastructure.
And though computer assisted mass-market “custom” clothiers promise a new suit in 14 days, and other bespoke operations pride themselves on protracted timelines, a PAOLO STYLE garment typically goes from first fitting to final delivery in 12 weeks.
So exacting is Paolo’s commitment to the PAOLO STYLE process, and so exceptional the result, that no less than Gaziano & Girling, the celebrated and adventurous English bespoke shoemaker (the only shoemaker on Savile Row) invited Martorano to share their new Manhattan showroom space on West 57th Street.
Paolo is a bit amazed by how much his brand has developed in just over a year. “So far, it’s been pretty remarkable; and I’m aware that I’ve been exceedingly fortunate.”, he says. “The new showroom, with Gaziano & Girling, is going to be great.”
By inviting PAOLO STYLE to align with Gaziano & Girling in their first American flagship destination, these two shoemaking industry innovators appear to recognize that Martorano shares their belief that making luxury apparel is not just a job, but a calling.