A coelacanth of a herringbone.

I’ve been contemplating an overcoat for years. It’s the project I fantasize about most, but the right cloth has stubbornly eluded me. When I went back to Naples to see Rubinacci this spring, I’d finally put it out of mind and focused myself on the two fresco suits I was getting fitted for.

Well, you know what happens when you stop looking for something . . .

After we finished with the fresco, Mariano pulls out a vintage herringbone tweed for me to inspect. It’s ancient looking, the sort of stuff you only see in Apparel Arts illustrations. Each segment of the herringbone pattern is more than twice the diameter of a euro coin, about two inches wide. Mariano says its 50 to 60 years old and somewhere around 16 ounces. Being that old, there is no selvedge and the tags are long gone, so he can’t be exactly sure. Other than a similar piece in grey, this is all that’s left–a single coat’s length. It is quite literally the cloth of my dreams, a large-scale, outsized, “F.U.” herringbone, a species of tweed I thought had long ago gone extinct and possibly never really existed.

It’s the sort of cloth that makes you instantly throw away all your carefully laid plans and make stupid but awesome decisions. You know what I mean. You begin the year committing yourself to a meticulously thought-out course of action for your next five or so bespoke projects. They are the things you “need” to get. Say, a charcoal suit to replace the one that’s getting tattered around the edges, or that navy blazer you should get because you’ve never had a good navy blazer. Then, you see something like this tweed. A hairy monster. A savage work of genius–raw, primitive, politically incorrect. It viscerally hurts to think of another man getting to it first. In your heart, it already belongs to you–that is, if if anything such exceptional character could ever belong to anyone.

But then, you come to your senses. Your rational side takes over and you let your head do the thinking. It says: “Fuck it. Rock it out with the kickass tweed.”

And so, that’s how I got myself into a two-hour brainstorming session with Mariano to plan a new overcoat. It’s going to be a monster of a coat.

Jesus. This is going to be good.

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