Receive the Permanent Style newsletter
PS email    About us    Contact us   

D'Avino Fiorenzo Auricchio 

D’Avino is a small Neapolitan outfit run by cutter Fiorenzo Auricchio (above). He has no website, an abandoned blog, and little used social media. Email is the best contact option.

But he visits London regularly, usually twice a year at least, and from my experience over the past two years I am happy to recommend him as the finest of the visiting makers here. He is the zenith of perhaps three tiers of visiting shirtmakers I have used satisfactorily: 

  • D’Avino. Every piece of handwork you could ask for, to the highest level. Much of it purely aesthetic, with no practical advantage, but a work of art. Starts at €300. 
  • Luca Avitabile. My most commonly used maker. Visiting every month or two; introduced here on Permanent Style and now with a big London client base. Only the practical handwork, and not finished to the same level as D’Avino, but still good. Starts at €220. 
  • Simone Abbarchi. Too early to write about him and recommend him fully, but great value for money for Italian bespoke shirts with no handwork. Based in Florence, comes to London and New York twice a year each. Starts at €120.

D'Avino Fiorenzo Auricchio shirtsD'Avino Fiorenzo Auricchio3

With all three, there are two reasons I use them:

  • Value for money. Better make than any English shirtmaker (in that there is no handwork, which I find a practical benefit in), and a lot better than the bigger Italian brands with shops in London, eg Kiton.
  • Style. Italian bespoke shirtmakers are particularly good at collar shapes (and the collarband shape – just as important). As I’ve found to my cost with several British and other shirtmakers, there is little attention paid to style in this sense and it is particularly wanting on open-necked shirts.

Fiorenzo, as I say, is the best. Here I am being remeasured to check a couple of things, in the Ugolini workshop in Florence. 

D'Avino Fiorenzo Auricchio2

Shirts, perhaps even more than suits, are an evolution of taste and fit. I say more than suits because you are unlikely to have many variations of shirt style, while you might have lots of different suits/jackets. Two collar shapes normally suffice (eg spread and button-down), with perhaps two different cuff styles. Working with a shirtmaker, then, is about perfecting the body shape, button position, and those few style permutations. Here, with Fiorenzo, we are increasing the height of the collar slightly and raising the third button, to match that of my Avitabile shirts.

I’ve included a few more shots of Fiorenzo’s latest shirt for me here, to illustrate the fine detail and quality, which you don’t always get with Italian makers. 

D'Avino Fiorenzo Auricchio seams

Sleeve and shoulder – often an area that is rough with other makers

D'Avino Fiorenzo Auricchio shirts

Where (hand-attached) collarband meets shoulder

D'Avino Fiorenzo Auricchio shirt detail

The beautifully neat, hand-rolled bottom seam

Main photos: Luke Carby

With his customary humour, Norman Vilalta has created a (very) little video to announce his trunk show at Leffot in New York today and tomorrow. Go say hello if you can.  

barbour repairs service

Barbour is not quite the level of craft or quality that we normally feature on Permanent Style. However, rather like US brand Filson that we covered recently, they deserve mention for the beautiful way they age and their commitment to service and repair.

Myself, photographer Horst Friedrichs and designer Toby Egelnick visited the Barbour facility in South Shields last week. It is three large buildings, a couple of minutes from the yawning mouth of the Tyne river, whose deep port was hugely popular in the nineteenth century – Barbour made its name kitting out workers, sailors and stevedores around that port. 
The factory building has five production lines, where seamstresses perform all the steps it takes to make a classic waxed jacket, one after another. The first one assembles the parts of the patch pockets; she then clips the pockets onto a revolving chain, which carries them down to the next worker; she, in turn, stitches those pockets to the jacket fronts. 
Barbour factory
It was the first time I had seen a classic production line like this, and it didn’t exactly enamour me to it. But then if the aim is to produce hundreds of jackets costing £200-£300 each, some efficient mass manufacturing is required. Interestingly, there is no reason a production line should reduce quality (Huntsman used to have one, after all), but it does tend to – often because there is an emphasis on speed. 
I came alive when we went through a side door into the Customer Services department – repairs, essentially. Here, some of the best and most experienced workers spend their time remaking old jackets. 
When there is a rip in the wax cloth, a new panel or strip is usually added, so that it runs down to a seam. A small patch, just covering the rip itself, tends to be more fragile.
barbour repairs service replace
In the photo above, you can see that a black panel has been added to the waist of the jacket on one side, and another at the bottom of a pocket. There is also a small patch covering a hole in the sleeve. 
The jacket is immediately even more personal than it was before – remade according to usage. Over time, you can even build up a patchwork of repairs from different points in time. Each patch is the original cloth, but of course the jacket behind it has faded and changed colour with use. 
One of the biggest issues for Jean, the director of customer services, is finding and storing cloth, linings, buttons and hardware that is no longer made, in order to repair the old garments. As recently as the 1970s, the linings weren’t even uniform to the type of product, so different jackets had different lining patterns. 
barbour repairs service3barbour repairs service2
I feel tempted to say that a lot of love is put into repairing the jackets. Certainly if that’s true, it is driven by the love that the owners have for their Barbours. Most repair requests come with a hand-written note, explaining what is required, how it is used, and encouraging care and attention. 
One jacket (top) was sent in by a woman whose dachshund (Dudley) had eaten parts of it – ripping away the back, the collar and a section of the arm. With the jacket came a photo of Dudley, sitting on a note that said: ‘I’m sorry. But the wax tasted nice!’ The jacket will be replaced rather than repaired, but Jean asked if she could keep the old one for the archive. 
Repairing the jackets is not cheap. Often, it costs more than the original – which in itself is an interesting reflection of the difference in manufacturing techniques, of a production line vs one-offs. But we all appreciate the beauty of an old, much-loved garment, and waxed cotton ages as well as any. My vintage Barbour motorcycle jacket is a good example, but actually the heavier, green, country jackets are even better.
Barbour jackets may not be luxury, but they are highly practical, can be made to last decades (with the help of the repairs service) and can be pretty stylish. Taka at Liverano and Jake at The Armoury (below) being pretty good examples of the latter point.
Watch out for the SL cuts of classic jackets, which used to be just found in Asia, but are now generally available. They are usually shorter and slimmer.
taka liverano barbour jacketjake the armoury barbour jacket
Main photography: Horst Friedrichs

Barbour lighthouse beacon motorcycle jacket

Last week three of us visited the Barbour factory in South Shields, in the name of a new book on British heritage brands. 

Given we were researching the stories behind the companies, it was natural to stay next to the lighthouse that was the early inspiration and branding for Barbour. That’s it, the Beacon, behind. More on Barbour, its archive and repairs, in the next couple of weeks.

Wearing my vintage Barbour motorcycle jacket; Dent’s peccary gloves; Anderson & Sheppard lambswool jumper; Begg ‘wispy’ scarf; Johnstons cashmere beanie; bespoke Levi’s jeans. And on the feet, Wolverine ‘1000-mile’ boots


Photography: Horst Friedrichs

Bole anders sandlund

is a Swedish tannery and leather goods brand, with a beautifully made product and unique selling point.

Böle is the last remaining spruce-bark tannery in the world. Leather is often tanned with a variety of barks in combination, particularly oak and chestnut in Europe. Good shoes have oak-bark-tanned soles, of which there is only one left in the UK (J&FJ Barker). In southern Sweden oak is also a common tanning material, but Böle is in the north of the country, in Pitea. There’s it’s all spruce trees. 

Monika BoleBole bag hinge

So how is spruce-tanned leather different? It’s a little warmer and lighter in colour than most veg-tanned leathers, and has fewer tannins. It is also more flexible, although northern Swedish tanneries traditionally use heavy cow hides, which give it a little more stiffness.

“Spruce is more of a clean finish. It creates a very pure, pale colour,” says Jan Sandlund – master tanner and the third generation of the family to run the company, whom I met earlier in the year (pictured above). “Of course, we’re biased given it grows all around us, but we think it is a beautiful leather, and now of course very rare.”

Historically, Böle has used its leather to make a range of things, but launched briefcases in the 1980s. It is best known for its Minister’s briefcase (below), which is sold alongside other Böle products like aprons and cases at Trunk Clothiers in London (as well as Harrod’s and other resellers). It also has its own online store, although it’s rather hard to find on the site – you can see it here.  

Bole minister bagBole bag

Böle bags are not hand-sewn – as with most bags except the very top end of the market, they are machine sewn with hand tacks and other details at points with particular stress, for example. They are painstakingly lined with reindeer skin, and have brass hardware. They also include many extra details that others would pass up, such as the wooden bars on the bottom of the Minister cases.

These points, along with the leather and the small production, make them rather expensive – the simple office bag is €950 and the Minister’s case €4,5000. 

Anders Sandlund bOle

I tend to prefer the simpler designs in any case, such as that office bag and the Portfolio. I also love the aprons – it’s worth a trip to Trunk just to feel that gorgeous expanse of leather. Unfortunately I’m not sure polishing your shoes counts as heavy enough labour to justify a full leather apron.

My one criticism of the designs would also be that the brass is treated to give it an antique look, and to stop it from naturally tarnishing at all. I tend to prefer brass that tarnishes and that I can look after, or let it tarnish and just oil it occasionally – which gives it a different, but again very natural look.  

There is a wealth of information on the site under the ‘Böle’ section

BoleBole rucksack