I may have been 5 or maybe 6 when I was taken to the E. Marinella tie shop in Naples for the first time by my mum. Our mission was simple: to buy a tie for my father as a Christmas gift without getting caught. And back then it was like espionage for me: I had to keep a secret from my dad, as he knew that we were in Naples only for “a walk.”
E. Marinella Clientele
At that age, I did not pay attention the long queue of people standing outside, with a number in their hand, patiently waiting to be called to enter a 20 sq. meters-wide shop. I did not even notice the sort of clientele that was actually in the queue: all business people, not only Italians but from all over the world, all in their finest suits and coats.
The Shop Interior
But what I still remember now is the interior of the shop: in such a tiny space I think there were more than 10 thousand different ties. Long, short, colour block, striped, with small cashmere prints. Within a few minutes the shop assistant showed us more than 30 ties that suited our simple request (“We would like a long tie to match with a blue suit.”). And that was the moment I realised why there was such a big fuss around a simple “Marinella” tie.
Fine English Fabric
I was lucky to hear directly from the current owner and head of the brand, Maurizio Marinella, every tie is made out of a single square of fine English fabric, folded seven times to give the accessory the necessary shape and structure. And the Marinella family, who still owns and leads the company after three generations, personally visit English fabric makers once a year to check out the latest designs and make their orders.
Tailoring and Craftsmanship
Since its opening in 1914, the store has become a symbol of Neapolitan tailoring and craftsmanship around the world: international leaders, celebrities and public personalities have been seen wearing Marinella ties at the most important events. The shop in Naples has now been expanded to meet the growing demand. More flagship stores in Milan, Montecarlo, Tokyo and London have been opened over the years.
Neapolitan Way of Life
Whenever any of my friends come to Naples to visit me, I cannot help but sharing a few words about this store every time I take them around. Call it pride, call it childhood memory, but for me Marinella is more than a tie shop. It is an example of how the finest lifestyle is so naturally embodied in our Neapolitan way of life and of how this fascinates people all over the world and across time.
All I can hope for is that the store will continue there for a long time, growing but staying true to its tradition. And maybe one day I will bring my child there for a gift too, and I will have the chance to explain why such an ornamental accessory can tell such a great story.