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04 October 2023

Sound sartorial advice from Italy, now in Dubai

Nesci is partnering with luxury mega store Harvey Nichols to bring his bespoke tailoring to the UAE. (PATRICK CASTILLO)

By David Tusing

Sergio Nesci comes from a family of tailors, who, after years of perfecting the art, is determined to keep the tradition of luxury bespoke tailoring alive.

From his boutique in Mario de Fiori in Rome, Italy, Nesci has been translating what he calls old Italian elegance to wearable, comfortable and classy designs, earning the attention of Hollywood actors such as Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and the late singer/actor Frank Sinatra.

After years of servicing clients from the Middle East, regulars at his Italian outlet, Nesci has partnered with luxury mega store Harvey Nichols to bring his bespoke tailoring to the UAE. Using the finest fabrics, which he says is best suited for the region, and his experience, the Sergio Nesci Made to Measure service, which will begin at the end of the month, is guaranteed to satisfy even the most discerning fashion connoisseur, say its promoters.

Nesci, 58, was in Dubai recently and sat down with Emirates Business to talk fashion, branding and why he will never open a store in London.

Your family has been in the tailoring business for decades. Have you ever thought of turning it into a brand – or do you prefer to continue to supervise each piece of clothing that goes out of your store?

I don't think I want to do that. I want to continue to keep it very niche and exclusive for my clients. I do currently offer ready-to-wear cardigans and ties in my boutique in Rome, but would not like to expand this into a wider market as I feel bespoke tailoring is a rare and unique form of expressing one's individuality and preference. My son currently works with me in the business and hopefully it will be passed on for generations to come.

How has business been during recession?

My ready-to-wear line was affected by recession as many people in Italy decided to spend less when it came to fashion. My bespoke line was not the least bit affected as I still maintained many loyal clients who would still make orders for made-to-measure shirts and suits.

With competition from fashion designers and tailors-turned-designers, where does that leave the traditional tailor today? Do you think his existence is being threatened?

No, I do not think traditional tailoring is threatened as it is still a very exclusive market. Bespoke tailoring is for the individual who is not a fashion victim but still maintains a classical approach to fashion.

So why won't you ever open a store in London?

There is a huge contrast in style and preference between Italian and British fashion. While Saville Row style tends to be a bit more set, Italian tailoring is a bit more adventurous and versatile. There's a mix of colours and style and materials which makes it very interesting.

I do visit London often and cater to many of my Middle Eastern clients based there, but I would rather just cater to my clients on an appointment basis than open a fully-fledged store.

Why did you decide to come to the UAE?

Over the years, we've had many clients from this region visiting our store in Rome. I've been travelling to and fro from here, attending a number of exclusive clients for special occasions. So obviously there is demand, and we wanted to get closer to our customers.

NESCI on how to keep it sharp

- Suits must always be presentable and never uncomfortable

- Rather than following trends, focus on finding the right fit. We are all differently built

- Always make sure your suit's jacket is soft on the shoulders

- Always complement your suit by detailing it with a simple handkerchief to attain that classic look

- When wearing a plain white shirt, complement your look with a detailed tie to easily transform your look from day to night


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