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.
Main photo: Straight suit in brown flannel with chalk pin-stripes
Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 1964
Ensemble (blouson jacket, trousers) in grey tweed
Haute Couture – Autumn/Winter 1966
Straight cut dinner-jacket in white wild silk
Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 1963
Straight cut three-piece suit in grey flannel
Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 1964