As Pete wrote earlier, one of the calmer moments we had at Pitti Uomo was our morning coffee with Mariano Rubinacci.
Mariano met us at the Westin Excelsior on the Thursday morning, the last busy day of Pitti Uomo before people start packing it up on Friday in preparation for the long season ahead. Milan, Paris, and New York are upon you in quick succession after that, making it a very long month ahead.
After introductions, and a brief tangent on the Excelsior’s stunning lobby and cut flowers (I only noticed them when Mariano pointed them out), he suggested that we get a cappuccino. He explained that he would be going to Pitti after coffee, and asked if we would like to share a cab with him. Although he seemed politely amused by our presence, he was a gracious host, and patiently answered all of our questions, most of which I’m sure he had answered many times. Where was Luca? How often do they come to the United States? Etc., etc.
Rubinacci spoke of his son, Luca, who was vacationing in Aspen—but Mariano would soon be fitting clients in London. He went to London to meet clients more often and to New York, less frequently. A fluctuation in your size? Within 4 kilos, a garment could be adjusted. Four kilos was a full size though, and you might need a new garment for further expansion after that. “Not for me,” he pointed to his own jacket, which I thought looked impeccably tailored, “I don’t change this, to remind myself that I am fat.” Yes, Rubinacci would be doing some ready-to-wear, but only accessories. I joked that I might have to steal a jacket he’d once made for a friend. “No, no, no, that wouldn’t work, since that garment would have been made for someone else.” No, he does not consider himself a tailor—he could not cut a jacket himself. What he is, “It’s a difficult question.” But he does tell people what will work for them. And he does a classic style, which doesn’t change so much. About Fabio Borelli’s tight suits and high-water pants, “It’s very modern.” He was very happy that many of the 45 tailors in his workshop were under 50 years old. He wanted to leave something for his son, he explained, and if everyone was old, that was not much to leave.
Coffee in Italy was good. It was, according to Mariano, not the water, as some claimed. He had the same coffee in London, and it tasted the same when made with British water. He gave us a recommendation for a good seafood restaurant in Florence, something of a rarity; Florence is better known for its enormous steaks (prices are per 100g, often with a 700g minimum). Next time I go to Florence, I will have to get myself to Fuor d’Aqua.
Outside, while we waited for a cab, he greeted an older gentleman whose car service had just arrived. “The owner of Kiton,” he told me. On the drive to Pitti, I asked him for recommendations for leather goods—I needed to get something for my wife. “There are many good leather goods in Florence, but I am not so much an expert,” he explained.
We walked together to the entrance of Pitti, and then he had to go. Not sure where tailoring luminaries go. We were on for another day taking notes and photos at booths. Although I am unlikely to ever have the opportunity to commission a garment from him, I understand why his clients are so loyal. He gave us a peaceful hour in the midst of a week of chaos. Thank you for that, Mr. Rubinacci.