ALFREDO RIFUGIO, THE MAN WHO SEWS LEATHER BY HAND
di Enrico Massidda
Alfredo Rifugio, who makes leather jackets by hand, is a new exhibitor at Pitti Uomo. He boasts fifty years of experience with scissors, thimbles, needles, spools of thread and sewing, with the last eight years spent at the summits of international luxury, earning him a place in the exclusive pantheon of artists in bespoke tailoring. After featuring in January in the Sala della Ronda in the Fortezza da Basso, for this edition he moves on, by right, to the Padiglione Centraleto present his new collection: jackets,parkas, coats, bomber jackets and bush jackets with simple linings in silk, cashmere or fur, or all entirely handmade. The amazing thing is that every piece is assembled and finished with no fewer than two thousand stitches.
Like an orchestra conductor, this artisan, originally from Naples, leads a small ensemble of collaborators consisting of about ten truly outstanding people, nearly all women, who with needle and thread rhythmically stitch seams with pinpoint precision, with the project firmly imprinted in their minds and hands. Little and large movements, arranged harmoniously like chords, with never a dissonance or hesitation. Their leather aviator jackets are famous, so much so that pope John Paul II, having noticed his personal pilot wearing one, commissioned one for himself.
A white jewel in Australian calfskin that Pope John Paul II wore to ski during the early years of his papacy, and continued to wear later for his regular mountain walks and Alpine holidays. So not only did Alfredo Rifugio conquer the hall of gods, it seems he also won over paradise
Fashion – Jun 2018