Magnifique is a small but densely packed shop that has been on via Filangieri for nearly 50 years. Inside, an entire wall of neatly stacked cashmere sweaters sits behind brightly patterned tartan scarves and colorful umbrellas, which, of course, are made with dense wood or whangee handles. On the other side of the shop are English wool fabrics and fine cotton shirtings for the store’s made-to-measure programs, as well as tweed flat caps, English-style shoes, and various leather goods. Go a bit further back still and you’ll find a display case with accessories like leather-covered flasks, uniquely designed wooden calendars, and English cufflinks.
The whole shop feels like a place in England that vanished sometime around the 1930s. You walk in and expect to smell wet tweed, pipe tobacco, and old army coats packed into wooden crates. Except you don’t. The store holds all the charm of the Old England, but with newer goods.
In the back of the shop I met the its founder, Signore Mario Esposito, who sat in a heavy chair as he monitored the shop’s floor like a ship’s captain. Signore Esposito is a no-nonsense looking man. He wore a navy knit tie, bengal-striped shirt, and a blue blazer, and he looked quite serious with his furrowed brow. Still, I approached and told him how wonderful I thought the store was. I don’t think he understood any of my English, but seeing how enthused I was, he cracked a smile and spun a monologue in Italian, which I couldn’t understand. Even after all these years, however, you could tell this man’s heart was in this shop, and he enjoyed meeting people who properly appreciated it.
Not everything in the store is British though. For example, Mario’s son Dario showed me some Valgrisa jackets they were carrying. Valgrisa is an Italian outerwear company that’s inspired by the traditional, indigenous cultures surrounding the Aosta Valley. One of the jackets was based on the Valley’s alpine guide coats, and another was modeled off of the Royal Park’s Hunting Guards uniform. Though both were Italian, however, they fit in well with the shop’s British sensibility.
As Dario later explained to me, his father created this store in order to give men a taste of England and the scent of Naples. I think they’ve done just that.
Via Filangieri, 18
Naples, Italy 80121