The Classic Ambrosi Napoli Trouser
We break down the famed Neapolitan trousermaker's signature style.
There are two main districts in Naples where you’ll find the city’s tailors. The first is Chiaia, a somewhat ritzy neighborhood aimed at attracting tourists. Then there’s Quartieri Spagnoli, otherwise known as the Spanish Quarter.
In some ways, the Spanish Quarter is the opposite of Chiaia. It’s dirty and noisy, with alleyways that feel like a Byzantine labyrinth. The cobblestone streets are narrow, and are flanked on either side by peach-colored buildings with peeling, wheat pasted fliers. Above is usually a network of wires holding people’s wet laundry. The only charm in this area might be in the loud children and louder Vespas, which zip and up down the roads on warm afternoons.
Well, them and the artisans who live and work here. In the Spanish Quarter, you’ll find some of the world’s best artisans – including the dynamic father-and-son duo Antonio and Salvatore Ambrosi, who are known for their bespoke trousers.
The Ambrosi family makes what we think are the most difficult kind of trousers to tailor. It’s easy to make trousers hang correctly if you make them full enough, but then of course you get a shapeless rag. On the other hand, it’s easy to cut trousers that are shapely and slim, but then things to start to cling. The key is being able to do both: something cut with enough shape be flattering, but also gives a long, sleek line without rippling. This is the Ambrosi specialty – southern Italian-styled trousers made with a unwavering focus on shape.
This is largely due to Salvatore’s experience as a fitter and cutter. Upon first meeting, Salvatore takes some simple measurements, wrapping his measuring tape around the client’s waist and seat, and then quickly drawing it down the leg. Everything thereafter is done by eye, including pitch, posture, and stance. These are the sorts of details that affect how trousers hang from the back – and when the trousers are cut slim, there’s little room for error.
Each of Ambrosi’s trousers takes about eight hours to make, not including the time necessary to draft your first pattern. That’s because of how much hand sewing goes into each pair. The waistbands are sewn-in by hand, giving them a cleaner look. The out seams and waist curtains are also finished with hand-sewn top stitches, making each pair of trousers as finely constructed as the best bespoke jacket.
Since every pair of trousers is bespoke, clients can ask for whatever details they want. The house style, however, is a slim Italian leg line coupled a high waist, then with single or double inverted pleats on the lap, set about an inch below the waistband. The pants gently taper to a shivering break, as is the style in Naples, and then finished off with a two-inch cuff. Finally, there are the Ambrosi signatures: an extra-long waistband that acts as a self-belt, as well as buttons in the cuffs to allow for easy cleaning.
These are the details we use to model our ready-to-wear make-ups, which marries the signature Ambrosi style and handwork with dense English flannels, heavy cotton and linens, and springy high-twist wools.
We think Ambrosi’s trousers are distinctive. They’re cut with technical precision; are wonderfully hand-finished; and carry a unique style unseen anywhere else. The trousers look great with a softly tailored, Italian jacket, but also lend shape to a fuller drape-cut sport coat. With Ambrosi, trousers no longer play background – they complete the look.
The Armoury hosts regular trunk shows with Ambrosi throughout the year. Please visit our events page for more information.