One of the pleasures of revisiting Naples was catching up with friends, such as Mario and Mario Jr at Talarico. My ego has never swelled to the point where I assume such men will remember me, but this does have the nice result that I am frequently and pleasantly surprised.
Mario Jr is active on Facebook and elsewhere, and was appreciative of the coverage the family has received on The Rake website, on Permanent Style and in The Rake magazine. My last visit, of course, was with a photographer for my book, True Luxury, which will be out next year.
Somehow I can never believe that both Marios are there in the shop every day, working away at their umbrellas, and that I can pop in unannounced. Such is the contrast between the quotidian nature of craft and the celebrity-like aura we create around them. Maurizio Marinella is perhaps the ultimate example: a genuine celebrity, friend to the rich and famous, yet always there in the store behind a cardboard box of ties.
Indeed, I think the whole of Naples has something of this humbleness to it. The crowd at the Rubinacci opening party the other week were fabulously dressed, all dark tailoring and bright-white shirts. This was the big party for the first family of the city, after all. But children were running around; elderly couples mixed with the glamourous sailing set. There were five hundred people, all perhaps with a touch of the peacock about them, but barely an ounce of pretentiousness.