In 2003, you and your cousin Massimo took control of the family business after starting in the workshop in 1993. Have your customers changed over the years?
Of course. When I started my career in the family workshop, we were known as a classic, serious, discrete, almost confidential house. At that time most of our clients were 50-year olds who dressed in bespoke, whether because of family traditions of because of their body shape.
Back then, we made a lot of suits, but we had far fewer clients. For instance, we often made 10 or 15 suits for one single order. Nowadays, even though we still have a few very loyal clients that order several suits, our clientele is much more diverse in terms of age and income.
– Italian tradition of course, with a strong accent on style, flowing lines and softness (sometimes at the expense of quality of assembly)
– British tradition, with a military heritage that inspires its very structured design (at the possible expense of comfort)
– French tradition, including Claude Rousseau whose career ended with us and who contributes another aspect: precise detailing, quality finish, topstitching, arrowheads, buttonholes…
Let’s get into details. Part of the Cifonelli signature is the shoulder. Karl Lagerfeld says he can recognise it 100 meters away.
Although it is our most famous hallmark, there is a lot more to the Cifonelli style. Our suits have a rather small chest, and the jackets are cut smaller at the front than at the back. The line is always our ultimate priority. It must streamline the body and be very masculine. Details and finish are equally important: we always stitch the buttonholes with Milanese rolled thread (difficult to use) and are quite particular about lapels: we position the notches quite high.