While Bellucci does have a background in corporate finance, marketing and communications, fashion was never out of the picture. “Mostly, I had a chance to manage the private portfolios of big clothing companies” in Naples and elsewhere in Italy. “When you manage the money, you become part of the corporate family. You also learn how a garment is made.”
He decided to quit his job, leave Italy and open his bespoke business in New York. Assisting him in the business is Graziano Meloni and Simone Pietro Olibet, the head cutter who measures clients. Italian fabrics are primarily used, but some English fabrics are as well. Suits and shirts, both made in Naples, require four to six weeks from the initial fitting to the delivery, though Bellucci believes he can cut down the cycle time.
Suits start at $3,500 in wool with classic Neapolitan tailoring, meaning without shoulder pads and hand-sewn for durability. “With the Neapolitan tailoring, the more you wear the suit, the better it fits,” said Bellucci. “The fabric really takes the shape of the body.” Higher quality suits in cashmere, and tuxedos, are priced about $6,000.
The opening price for a shirt is $350, in 100 percent cotton or linen. Shirts are pieced together through embroidery, not stitching, and involve nine steps of hand labor. Shirts in higher thread counts and with quicker deliveries are priced as high as $575.
In September, he plans to open a corner for men’s ready-to-wear shirts and accessories in the Timothy Oulton furniture shop inside ABC Carpet and Home in Manhattan. Bellucci recently added custom women’s shirts, priced $425, to the offering.
Bellucci Napoli generates more than $1 million in sales. Overall, “We have 600 loyal clients who tend to buy every season,” Bellucci said.
The format is a throwback to when Italian aristocrats regularly had tailors visit their homes for fittings, when off-the-rack wasn’t available, and to Bellucci’s own childhood experiences. It was a big day for him when he received his first suit at age 10 for his communion, because his father always dressed in elegant suits. He fondly remembers accompanying his father at least twice a year to the tailor. It was never simply about shopping. There was coffee, conversation and some special moments he shared with his father. “I would really like New Yorkers to feel something similar,” Bellucci said.