Enrico Isaia / 1979
Posted on 14 July 2014
Summer of ‘79
Puppa and Enrico arrived two days ago. Yesterday we spent the day at the showroom revising the line-up of the new collection and the list of customers to call for appointments. Puppa decided that tonight we will not go out. She wants to cook for all of us a “spaghetti melanzane a modo mio, she said, per far’vi capire cosa e Napoli.”*1
Puppa is, like they would say in Naples “una vera femina Napoletana”*2. Everything about her is beauty and passion, her energy is so contagious that she puts everyone in a good mood just by being there. Brigitte and Puppa liked each other from the go, the way only women from the South can. South of France meets Naples. Those two women can conquer the world with just a smile. But no one of them seems to be aware of that. It’s all natural and without false pretenses.
Enrico’s Neapolitan charisma is disarming. His shy but somewhat ironic smile is the kind that makes young girls fall in love and their parents nervous. He is open, direct, and unpretentious. But behind his good looks and natural modesty, Enrico is one of the most important manufacturers of men’s clothing in the world.
My East 60th Street apartment is cozy but small and the kitchen… smaller. Somehow all of us fit in the kitchen, surrounding Puppa. She pushes everybody out except Brigitte. “Tu puoi stare se vuoi, she says, gli altri… fuori”.*3
What a night! Puppa’s spaghetti were a real epicurean feast, too good to be just spaghetti. “What’s your secret ingredient”, I asked.
Puppa looked at me with a playful smile, than winked at Brigitte and said:
I believe it; there is always a lot of love in everything Puppa does.
The next day we brought the leftovers to the showroom for lunch.
Murray Korn*5 and Ron Ross*6 were there so we had to share Puppa’s spaghetti with them. It was a huge hit. Years after we were still talking about Puppa’s spaghetti.
Today, the Isaia company is managed by GianLuca Isaia, Enrico’s son and is producing one of the finest handmade garments in the world. Enrico is semi retired and Puppa enjoy being a grand mother.
As for us…each time Brigitte prepares a “Spaghetti alla Puppa”, we remember that special night when Puppa and Enrico brought us…a piece of Napoli as a gift.
Notes: The recipe of Puppa’s spaghetti with eggplant alla Napolitana, is free and available on request. Call 804.269.0851 and ask for Pierre.
*1….spaghetti with eggplant my way, to make you guys understand what
*2…a real Neapolitan woman
*3. You can stay if you want, the others… out.
*4 .. Love
*5.. Owner of Dimension, in Philly
*6…Owner of Ron Ross, Tarzana CA