Could you introduce yourself ?
I am Alessio Berto. I have been working as a pattern maker for 30 years and I am the owner of The Tailor Pattern Support, a studio based in Italy.
Could you introduce us to this coat? Where did it come from? How old is it?
This garment is an original US Navy pea coat from the 1940’s. If I recall correctly, its date of manufacture is stated on its white label which is a trademark of standard military issued clothes. It was acquired in a Parisian flea market 25 years ago.
How and why did you acquire this coat?
It was given to me in 1998 by one of my best friends who was my boss at the time. She gave it to me as a parting gift when I switched companies and went to work for a great French designer. This garment had previously been handed to her by the designer of the company we both used to work for who was very passionate about vintage military clothing. I fell in love with it right away because of the distinctive snug fit of its shoulder, and its cut which epitomizes the distinctive style of the 1940’s.
Do you remember the first time you wore your pea coat?
I remember wearing it for the first time in Venice. I recall that the weather was cold and windy that day. The conditions were perfect for me to fully experience this amazing piece made of water-resistant wool.
Do you have any memories linked to that piece?
As far as I am concerned, this piece stands for elegance and honesty, as well as authenticity. I remember wearing on a sledge in the falling snow and in the rain without an umbrella. Yet, I would never get wet when I wore it! I would wear it at a wedding over a dark gray suit and tie or just with a navy jumper. It is such a versatile piece, I even wore it in the summer! It is quite crazy! It amuses my friends to see this Pea Coat getting older and older with me. Also, I recall that since 1998, I have had to copy it for several clients.
Is there any sign of wear and tear?
Have you performed some repairs on this pea coat?
So many times… Pockets, front placket edge, hem, collar, eyelets, lining, sleeves, buttons, you name it. I really enjoy and destroy my garments… and this is not good. It’s a pity because now it has become almost impossible to be able to come across such an old and genuine piece.
When do you usually wear it? Do you remember when you last wore it?
I used to wear it all the time until last winter. And now it is one of the masterpieces of my archives.