• 1960
  • 1962
  • 1965
  • 1967
  • 1970
  • 1970
  • 1975
  • 1980
  • 1985
  • 1987
  • 1990
  • 1996
  • 2000
  • 2011

House of Smalto

Legacy

The 1960s

A new decade, a new style … Square-shaped, high-buttoned, high-necked jackets and collars with wide reveres, drainpipe trousers and pointed shoes – this is what the younger generation were wearing. Yet men’s fashion still had little taste for radical change. Master tailors continued to reproduce the same cut of suits from generation to generation, as proof of their skill. Francesco Smalto, with all his knowledge acquired as a master tailor, did not see things from that angle. Having acquired a passion for cut and fabric from a young age, he began his apprenticeship by taking courses at a state school. At the age of 14, he produced his first suit for a family friend, but he dreamed of leaving his home town to conquer Paris. He began his career with Christiani then moved on to Camps which at the time was the most fashionable tailor in Paris. He then left for the United States to perfect his cutting technique in New York at Harris, President Kennedy’s tailor. Upon returning to Paris, in February 1962. Francesco created the tailoring house of SMALTO opening a shop in the Rue La Boétie in Paris’ eighth district. He immediately had a very specific idea of the look he wanted to give to men: “An elegant, figure-hugging outline”.
With his carefully tailored, made-to measure suits that allowed plenty of freedom of movement, he revolutionised the male wardrobe and its vocabulary; from the pin-striped suit to the white dinner jacket and the safari jacket to futurist suits and high vinyl thigh-boots. Some of these items have become signature garments for the House of SMALTO.
The style favoured by the young Francesco also sought comfort and relaxation while preserving the line and the look. His love of the Far East is manifest in this quest for balance and purity of line.
Ever since he started out, Francesco Smalto has been patronised by great performers such as Claude François and Charles Aznavour who chose SMALTO clothing for their stage appearances.

Background picture: Straight suit in brown flannel with chalk pin-stripes
Couture Autumn/Winter 1964
  • Ensemble (blouson jacket, trousers) in grey tweed
    Couture – Autumn/Winter 1966

  • Straight cut dinner-jacket in white wild silk
    Couture - Spring/Summer 1963

  • Straight cut three-piece suit in grey flannel
    Couture - Autumn/Winter 1964

In February 1962, Francesco Smalto created the House of Smalto which he opened in the Rue La Boétie, Paris.
  • Francesco Smalto

1962
The astronaut thigh-boot, one of the flagship product of the House.

Ensemble (short, sleeveless jacket) in sky-blue crêpe, worn with white thigh-boots.
Couture – Spring/Summer 1965
  • Ensemble (short, sleeveless jacket) in sky-blue crêpe, worn with white thigh-boots.
    Couture – Spring/Summer 1965

1965
In 1967, Francesco Smalto launched his de luxe Ready-to-Wear Collection– marking his unique identity as a couture tailor - with a line of accessories. The collections democratised the collection in a continuity of a style that ensured its success.
  • Beige striped suit with double-breasted, six-button jacket.
    Ready-to-wear - Spring/Summer 1969

1967

The 1970s

The 1970s
In the early 1970s, the wind of freedom ruffled the world of high fashion. Francesco Smalto was inspired by this movement that produced a looser line while retaining its balance.
Cashmere patterns, embroideries and a wealth of rich colours were a male dress sensation. Flared trousers, embroidered waistcoats, waisted pullovers, coats belted at the waist all had a liberating effect on fashion. Fabrics also underwent a transformation. Francesco Smalto worked in velvet, as well as jersey and wild silk to produce double-breasted or straight cut suits with patch pockets and oversewn flaps, with deep slits at the back.
His taste for the finest fabrics led him to use only the best, such as cashmere or flannel, and he commissioned new ones to be woven in England with mixtures of orchid and sable, silver fox or vicuña.

At this time, Francesco Smalto was dressing great actors such as Jean-Paul Belmondo in “The Stavisky Affair”, Alain Resnais in “The Incorrigible” and Sean Connery in “The Italian Job”.

Background picture: White woollen moss coat, lined; double breasted, square cuffs.
Couture - Autumn /Winter 1977
  • Black dinner jacket
    Couture - Autumn/Winter 1970

  • Grey double-breasted four-button coat.
    Autumn/Winter 1972

  • Waistcoat and trouser ensemble in beige and blue Shetland wool
    Beige velvet shirt, narrow rounded, buttoned collar.
    Trousers – 2 darts at the waist –24 cm bottoms with turn-ups
    Couture – Autumn/Winter 1978

It was in this climate of aesthetic upheaval that the first SMALTO boutique was opened at 44 Rue François Ier in the eighth district of Paris.
  • The frontshop

  • One of the store window

  • Inside the store

1970
In 1975, Francesco created the lightest dinner jacket in the world in black crêpe-de-chine, a unique creation that only the Maison SMALTO has so far been the only capable of producing it.
  • The lightest jacket in the world made of crêpe-de-chine.

1975

The 1980s

The 1980s were years of excess: achievement, money, appearance. Men considered they needed to assert their masculinity and checks would be marked and even enlarged. Fashion became an art and sport a religion. The human body was revealed and enhanced by the major brands. Beautiful clothes, but they needed beautiful bodies. In public appearances, the tendencies were marked, men had to be tall, virile, square-jawed. The Italian man was fashionable. The House of SMALTO was a reference and dressed a number of celebrities. During this decade, men’s suits that had always been an architectural creation, now became more roomy.
The shape changed but the combination of materials remained the same. Monsieur Smalto continued his quest for unusual fabrics, the delight of the connoisseurs.
This love of luxurious fabrics was also visible in the cinema, where move-makers did not hesitate to use costumes and lighting to the delight of the general public. In “The Last Emperor”, played in the cinema by John Lone, Bernardo Bertolucci made best use of the brilliance of brightly coloured costumes of each of the leading characters.
New fashion codes were introduced – a flower in the buttonhole, the dropped and slightly raised shoulder, the Milanese lapel and exotic fabrics – and these were the delight of leading politicians, singers and movie stars.

Background picture: Two-piece suit, three buttons on herringbone bases.
Ready-to-wear- Spring/Summer 1989
  • Khaki gabardine trench coat in waterproofed wool
    Ready-to-wear - Autumn/Winter 1988

  • Straight cut two-piece suit, pure wool, two side slits
    Ready-to-wear - Autumn/Winter 1988

  • Straight cut two-button suit, flap pockets, pure combed wool.
    Ready-to-wear - Autumn/Winter 1988

In 1985 Francesco Smalto created a women’s collection in a masculine style based on his signature creation: the suit.

Background picture:
On the left: single-buttoned black suit jacket, shirt with classic collar
Centre: white suit with skirt.
Right: Black waisted two-button suit.

Ready-to-wear – Autumn/Winter 1992
  • Single-buttoned black suit jacket, shirt with classic collar
    Ready-to-wear – Autumn/Winter 1992

  • White suit with skirt.
    Ready-to-wear – Autumn/Winter 1992

  • Black waisted two-button suit.
    Ready-to-wear – Autumn/Winter 1992

1985
In 1987, new collections – of fragrances, watches, leather goods and eyeglasses - enriched the world of SMALTO.
  • Smalto watch

  • Smalto perfume

  • Smalto sunglasses

1987

The 1990s

The House of SMALTO continued to gather an increasing band of followers including crowned heads and statesmen from throughout the world, who loved refinement and who found themselves in the temple of suit elegance and know-how. In 1991, Francesco Smalto took the young creative, Franck Boclet, under wing and appointed him Creative Director. In 1998, Boclet took over from SMALTO and officially became the firm’s artistic director.
Franck Boclet did not want to give in to the fashion for androgynous clothing and, while remaining faithful to the spirit of the age; he favoured an affirmed masculinity, promoting his taste for leather and fur.

Background picture: Ensemble (jacket, waistcoat, trousers) in saffron combed wool with grey-blue checks on a herringbone background
Ready-to-wear - Autumn/Winter 1992
  • Straight-cut waistcoat in brown and beige hound’s-tooth check, jogging bottoms in beige baby alpaca
    Ready-to-wear - Autumn/Winter 1992

  • Barely tailored shirt with classic collar in saffron, red and green.
    Ready-to-wear - Autumn/Winter 1992

  • Straight-cut ensemble (jacket, trousers) in red Harris tweed, with grey and white check pattern.
    Ready-to-wear – Autumn/Winter 1992

While the 1990s marked a break with everything that had gone before, they were also, paradoxically, a return to basics.
The Spring/Summer 1996 collection reflects this state of affairs, with a return to the flower in the buttonhole, the white suit and the pin-striped suit. The new artistic director did not hesitate to play on this mixture of the traditional and the contemporary.

Background picture: White four-button suit with grey pinstripes.
Black and white tie
Ready-to-wear – Spring/Summer 1996
  • Grey and chalk pinstripe three-button suit.
    Ready-to-wear – Spring/Summer 1996

  • Classic white three-button suit.
    Ready-to-wear – Spring/Summer 1996

  • Flower in the buttonhole of a three-piece 100% combed wool suit.
    Ready-to-wear – Spring/Summer 1996

1996

The 2000s

The new decade saw the House of SMALTO move in a new direction. Francesco Smalto retired in 2001, leaving Franck Boclet, whom he had trained for so many years, at the helm. Youn Chong Bak, who had also been initiated into the art by Francesco, took over in 2007 to supervise the Couture and Ready-to-wear collections. She breathed new energy into the creation, rendering the style lighter and giving a more casual look to the collections while respecting the firm’s heritage. The watchword remained elegance.
Under his banner, Couture continued to perpetuate traditional craftsmanship while adapting to the changing clientele.

Background picture: Waisted dinner jacket in 100 % wool with tailored collar.
Ready-to-wear Autumn/Winter 2011
  • Classic grey two-buttoned suit in 100% combed wool. Tie in the same colour and Egyptian cotton shirt.
    Ready-to-wear Autumn-Winter 1992

  • White shirt with narrow collar, sand-coloured pullover, white trousers, suede khaki-coloured belt.
    Ready-to-wear Autumn-Winter 1992

  • White three-piece suit, black bow-tie.
    Ready-to-wear Autumn-Winter 1992

In 2011, for the first time, the ready-to-wear fashion show has been preceded by a dozen or so exceptional and unique items, made in the Smalto workshops.

Baxckground image: Black tuxedo
  • Couture graphic two-buttoned suit in 100% combed wool with overlaid collar. Classic shirt in woven 100% Egyptian cotton.
    Couture – Spring/Summer 2012

  • Couture suit with jacket of smooth and exotic leather. Ostrich skin collar, dropped shoulder, natural interlining and piped pocket edgings.
    Couture – Spring/Summer 2012

  • Couture suit of 100% combed wool with hand-sewn embroidery.
    Classic shirt in woven 100% Egyptian cotton.
    Couture - Spring/Summer 2012

2011

A timeless
elegance…

The novelist Françoise Sagan once wrote of Francesco Smalto: “He is one of those rare men who can combine luxury and austerity, the everyday and brilliance. He is a craftsman and a nobleman”. It is to this handsome definition that the firm has remained faithful since its beginnings, and it is now fifty years old. 

Here, men do not come in search of the changing winds of fashion but to rediscover the spirit of couture that discloses its identity as closely as possible. Exceptional fabrics and materials, impeccable precision of the cut, care for the slightest detail. In addition to this master craftsmanship, there is another basic concept, that of offering comfort before all else!

As a unique French fashion house that perpetuates the tradition of bespoke tailoring, Smalto cultivates its unique identity. It is a spirit of chic and it is more contemporary than ever.

Alpaca
Alpaca
Cashmere
Cashmere
Egyptian cotton
Egyptian cotton
Egyptian cotton
Merino wool
Merino wool
Linen
Linen
Linen
Mohair
Mohair
Mohair
Silk
Silk
Silk
Super XXX’s
Super XXX’s
Velvet
Velvet
Velvet
Velvet
Vicuña
Vicuña
Vicuña
Caviar
Caviar
Chevron
Chevron
False chevron
False chevron
Fil-à-fil
Fil-à-fil
Rice grain
Rice grain
Houndstooth check
Houndstooth check
Poplin
Poplin
Prince of Wales check
Prince of Wales check
Stripes
Stripes
Stripes
Pinhead
Pinhead
Ton sur ton
Ton sur ton
FABRICS
PATTERNS

EXCEPTIONAL

FABRICS

Ultra-light woollen cloth, shot with silk, cotton or linen, exotic leathers, cashmere, vicuña, jasmine or orchid thread – explore some of the rare, pure and natural materials that are used by the House of SMALTO. And the fabrics to choose from? More than 2000 different fabrics.

Discover a selection of Holland & Sherry fabrics, the Scottish cloth manufacturer with follow and supply the House of Smalto since the begining.

Alpaga

Alpaca

Alpaca is a domesticated animal of the camel family that lives in South America at an altitude of about 4500 metres (nearly 15,000 feet). It is shorn twice a year (producing 2 to 3 kilograms of wool per year) and has always been bred for its wool. The fleeces are sorted into three or four categories of quality in each colour before being sent for spinning via the Alpalaine Association which produces knitting or weaving wool. A single hair may measure 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) in length. Alpaca is a very high-quality fibre. The wool is considered a luxury item in the textile industry due to its unique quality and is used to make very fine garments.


Cachemire

Cashmere

Cashmere wool comes from the fleece of the cashmere goat. Genuine cashmere comes from the Himalayan plateaus of Ladakh and Tibet, where the animal lives at an altitude of 4000 metres (over 13,000 feet). Special machines have been developed for spinning and weaving cashmere wool. Consequently the term “cashmere” has become the generic term for this valuable wool. Today, Mongolia produces three-quarters of this raw material that is sold throughout the world, the remaining production originating mainly from Iran and Afghanistan. With a diameter of 12 to 15 microns (a human hair measures 75 microns), it is the finest hair of any wool-producing animal. Cashmere is the animal’s down or undercoat, the first few millimetres of wool that is closest to the animal’s skin. A cashmere goat produces about 100 g (3½ ounces) of cashmere a year (only one shearing per year). The hair of six goats is required to make a single pullover.


coton égyptien

Egyptian cotton

Egyptian cotton is unequalled in quality, a fine, silky fibre that lends itself perfectly to processing and results in a particularly soft fabric. Tee-shirts or shirts made from Egyptian cotton continue to look like new for many years.


Laine Mérinos

Merino wool

The merino sheep is of Spanish origin but is now reared mainly in Australia and South Africa. It produces wool of very fine quality, wavy, soft and elastic, destined for top-of-the-range garments. This very high quality wool is appreciated for its fineness and softness on the skin. It is also chosen because it is hard-wearing and is used to make pullovers, sweaters and men’s and women’s suiting.


Lin

Linen

This is a vegetable fibre extracted from the stem of the flax plant. It is a strong, shiny fibre from which a cool and absorbent but easily creased fabric is produced. It can be used by itself or as a mixture in clothing and household linen.


Mohair

Mohair

The word ‘mohair’ is derived from the word mukhayyar, which in Arabic and Farsi means: ''That which is chosen, the most beautiful''. Mohair wool refers to the fibres of the fleece of the Angora goat (shorn twice a year). Mohair has been known for centuries as one of the most luxurious and finest animal fibres (20 to 30 microns and less than 30 microns for kid mohair). It is perfectly suited to human clothing through its unique attributes, its softness, lustre, the way it takes various dyes, resistance to wear and elasticity. Its silkiness and ability to absorb humidity make it an exceptionally beautiful fabric for men’s and women’s clothing.


Soie

Silk

Silk is a textile fibre of animal origin, made from the cocoon produced by the caterpillar of the Bombyx mori silk moth (silkworm). The technique for producing silk dates back to 2500 b.c. and arrived from China along the Silk Road. The length of the strands varies from 400 and 600 metres (430 to 630 yards) and it is so strong that few strands combined from cocoons make it into a weavable thread. The fineness strands vary, depending on their provenance, between 19 and 32 microns.Silk has exceptional technical properties – strength, thinness, lightness and suppleness. It also offers protection against heat and cold, humidity and perspiration.


Super XXX’s

Super XXX’s

The term Super XXX’s indicates the fineness of the fibre used (expressed in microns) for the creation of thread to be woven into fabric for making suits. The higher the number of Super XXX’s, the finer the fibre used and the quality of the feel. A Super 200’s fabric will thus be much finer and more expensive than a Super 100’s fibre.


Velours

Velvet

This is a handsome cloth from short fibres that may be made of cotton, silk, polyester, nylon or other synthetics. Velvet is characterised by a smooth, tight side, the opposite side being covered in perpendicular fibres held in place by the thread of the weave.


Vigogne

Vicuña

The vicuña is the oldest member of the camel family; having emerged about 30 million years ago (other members of the family are the lama, the guanaco, the camel and the dromedary). The animal lives in Peru at an altitude of between 4000 and 5000 metres (between 13,000 and 16,500 feet), and in temperatures of -20°C to -30°C (-4 to -22°F) in winter. The vicuña has much finer hair than its cousins – 12 microns in comparison with cashmere (12 to 15 microns); these characteristics make it the finest and most sought after wool in the world. One hair can be up to 30 cm (12 inches) long. An adult vicuña produces barely a kilogram (2.2 lb) of wool every two years. The animals are threatened and protected so trade in the wool is heavily controlled. Only traders with a certificate of origin are legally entitled to deal in the wool and in products made of vicuña wool. Vicuña wool is one of the most expensive fibres in the world.


Caviar

Caviar


Chevron

Chevron


Faux chevron

False chevron


Fil-à-fil

Fil-à-fil


grain-de-riz

Rice grain


Pied-de-poule

Houndstooth check


Popeline

Poplin


Prince de Galles

Prince of Wales check


Rayures

Stripes


Tête d’épingle

Pinhead


Ton-sur-ton

Ton sur ton


Details that change everything

Luxury is sensed, it does not display itself. One of Smalto’s fundamental choices is always to have favoured this sophistication without ostentation. The brilliance of the finish means that a garment bearing our signature, whether bespoke or ready-to-wear, is the subject of special attention, attention to detail, evidence of our tailoring skills. Here are a few examples.

  • The Smalto shoulder

    The Smalto shoulder: the shoulder is slightly raised, the armholes are narrow and the sleeve allows incomparable freedom of movement.

  • The seamed notch

    The seamed notch, also known as “the Parisian”: the jacket revere and the collar form a seamed notch. This is created using a set square and combined with a figure-hugging cut underlines the graphic elegance of the wearer’s shape.

  • The buttonhole on the revere

    The buttonhole on the revere, known as Milanese-style, hand embroidered in silk thread and requiring a whole hour’s work in itself, and it is into this buttonhole that in the evening a man can slide a carnation or a rosebud.

  • Oversewing

    Oversewing, these are hand-sewn 4 millimetres from edge, they make it possible to fix the woollen cloth, keep the trim and emphasize the revere. They also provide a particular cachet to the jacket.

  • Sleeve ends

    Sleeve ends, the buttonholes (the number varies from three to five) are handmade and can be undone. The elegant wearer very often unbuttons the last of these mother-of-pearl buttons to stress this refined detail.

Bespoke
know-how

The ultimate elegance for a man is bespoke tailoring.
And in this register, the creations which have been emerging for the last half-century from the SMALTO workshops are recognised as being among the finest in the world.

The tailors, cutters, button-hole makers…
forty seasoned craftsmen (the largest team devoted to the work in Paris) perform the work of creating Couture in the male gender. Each suit is entirely hand-made and goes through 33 different stages in the making.
This marvel of finishing and comfort, a textile work of art with the sole aim of sublimating.

This marvel of finishing and comfort, a textile work of art with the sole aim of sublimating, in the most perfect discretion, the man for whom it is intended.
To treat oneself to one of these unique garments, even if it only once in one’s life is an exceptional experience, a rare pleasure.

Ready-to-wear
Smalto

Beautiful materials and careful finishing. The tailoring tradition is also the point of departure for the ready-to-wear collections. Every season, Youn Chong Bak, creative director of the brand, designs something to attract her contemporaries with a natural chic, but often in a more relaxed version.

From formal to leisure wear, from an ultra-light dinner jacket to a leather blouson, a stroke of her pencil reveals a man with a strong personality who combines strength with tenderness. The Smalto and Smalto By collections are enhanced by numerous accessories in which refinement is the watchword – shoes, watches, bags, belts, and so on.