The Casentino Wool Chore Jacket
We Introduce our new Casentino chore jacket in signature orange, green, and a new shade of navy, and take a look at the intriguing history behind this magic Tuscan fabric.
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a pithy proverb that can be applied to many things in life: the design of a great chair; the mixing of a perfect martini; the preparation of a tried and true Sunday breakfast (please don't burn the toast) and, in this instance, the construction and application of a beautiful Italian wool that has been around for centuries, evolving, in more recent times, into a Drake’s signature. We are, of course, talking about Casentino, that famous fleece that has been warming the backs of monks, Fancy Dan(iele) Florentine merchants, Tuscan hillside shepherds and the European fashion cognoscenti for centuries.
The area of Casentino lies in one of the four valleys in Arezzo, east of Florence, where the Arno river crosses through Tuscany. It is from this peaceful and verdant slice of Italy that the wool gets its name, a cloth that is prized for its durability and weather-proof properties, with an intentionally ‘bobbly’ texture that adds to the fabric’s durability and feel. Originally, this textured finish was created through a process called ‘rattinatura’, where the wool was brushed with stone, giving the cloth an inimitable strength and warmth that was coveted by everyone from Franciscan monks to Medici nobles, who used it to protect both their own backs and those of their prized horses.
Since you’re here, another bit of Casentino trivia! The story goes that in the 16th century - in an attempt to improve the fabric's water resistance - alum was applied to the dyeing process, causing a reaction that turned the wool bright orange, an unintentionally vibrant shade that has held its appeal for centuries and become the ‘navy blue’ of Florentine fleece. A happy accident that that has evolved into the colour for Casentino, although we are also very fond of our new Casentino fleece in actual 'navy' navy, too.
While it hasn’t quite been 500+ years, we're known for our approach to Casentino for a reason. In a classic five-pocket style, our latest chore jackets are made utilising all of the wool’s durability, weather-resistance and rugged comfort. Signature Drake's detailing is presented in the form of three outer pockets (plus a signature Drake's ticket pocket peaking out on the left-hand side), and one inner pocket - a stylishly spare construction, cut generously, with a slightly boxy shape recalling the original workwear garments worn around the turn of the century.
The result: a beautiful piece of Italian outerwear, hundreds of years in the making, whether you're herding sheep in the misty foothills of Tuscany, or heading out for a coffee on Canal Street.