We first encountered Lucio Liguori's enchanting ceramic art within Le Sirenuse Hotel. His signature anchovies swim in schools along the vaulted ceiling of the Champagne Bar at the hotel.

Like one of Lucio's anchovies, we also frequently find ourselves mindlessly swimming upstream towards champagne. And, like a first sip of champagne, our first encounter with Lucio Liguori left us wanting much, much more.

For our third collaboration with Le Sirenuse, we stepped back to admire the hotel from a new vantage point: its exterior and surroundings.

The focal point of the collection is a work commissioned by Lucio Liguori, a local ceramicist who hails from nearby Raito. At nearly 300 meters above sea level, Lucio's studio in this charming town towers over the Amalfi Coast. Perhaps that is how Lucio has learned to paint such breathtaking depictions of the area's steep and winding stairs.

Recruiting Lucio to create a shirt with us was a dream that Le Sirenuse brought to life.

They cautioned us, 'Lucio has his own clear and unwavering vision. You can make suggestions. He will certainly hear them, but whether he agrees is another matter altogether. If you commission a bowl, for instance, Lucio might conjure up... a vase of completely different proportions.'

In the end, the magic lies in the space between what you thought you wanted and what you actually receive.

With this in mind, we gently commissioned a painted ceramic tile...

We needed a work made to scale where the elements could be transferred true-to-size onto our garments.

And we wanted a color palette that was evocative of the Mediterranean with enough negative space for the clothing to be wearable... yet, still depicting a whimsically busy scene that would do justice to the bustle and charm of Positano without feeling cluttered.

We were in capable hands: Lucio delivered not one, but three (!) ceramic tiles, each roughly 25" by 12". They exceeded our wildest hopes.

The negative space we wanted came from an expansive mix of sea and sky.

Lucio decided to transport us back to a time before tourism when Positano bustled with trade. Square-rigged ships are at anchor in the harbor and fresh fish are carried up from the beach in baskets secured to mules.

We loved the underlying geometry of Lucio's steps and how they evoke classic repeating patterns from Hawaiian shirts of old.

Lucio carefully packed and shipped the tiles to us in New York City and our piece of the work began in earnest (one tile cracked en route, but that's another story!).

We had the tiles scanned in high resolution and then digitally reconstructed the three tiles in one connected scene. We then mapped that across the various panels of a single shirt.

Combining them was reminiscent of an M.C. Escher work, with interlocking stairs that lead in all directions-- for those who've made the climb from Positano's port up to the main road, this labyrinth of steps will feel all too familiar!

We also wanted to incorporate Lucio's beautiful border art, so we included it within our tucked back pleats.

To do Lucio's artwork justice, we decided to make our first foray into silk.

The silk blend we chose encompasses the best of all worlds amongst drape, softness, sheen and breathability.

And we couldn't resist completing the set with matching swim trunks (made from recycled water bottles).

Maybe you'll don the Lucio Liguori set as you descend the steps down from Le Sirenuse Hotel to board a boat over to nearby Da Adolfo's for lunch. Or maybe you'll wear it as you ascend the steps to your fourth floor walk up on a steamy night in New York City.

Whether you're going up or down, we hope this unique piece of Positano transports you. Explore the rest of the Le Sirenuse x Tombolo collaboration - now three years running - below.

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