F Caraceni tailor Milan
 
Back in February I began working on a jacket project with Nicoletta Caraceni, of Ferdinando Caraceni in Milan.

There are, as you know, several tailors with the name Caraceni in Italy. They all stem from Domenico Caraceni, the founding father, and his younger brothers Augusto and Galliano. Two of them are run by descendants – A Caraceni and Tommy & Giulio Caraceni) while D Caraceni is actually merely the brand and run by Gianni Campagna.

The fourth was started by Ferdinando Caraceni, who oddly is no relation to Domenico’s family despite coming from the same village. Far more importantly, however, he was the cutter at Domenico Caraceni and then Augusto Caraceni for 29 years.  

It is for this reason that the central Italian tailoring style is so homogenous, as so many of the biggest names learnt their style from Domenico.

The operators today are:

–       A. Caraceni. Run by Carlo and Massimiliano Andreacchio (husband and son of Rita Caraceni, Augusto’s granddaughter) in Milan

–       F. Caraceni. Run by Nicoletta Caraceni, daughter of Ferdinando Caraceni, in Milan

–       Tommy and Giulio Caraceni. Sons of Galliano Caraceni, in Rome

–       D. Caraceni. Owned by Gianni Campagna in Milan and focusing on RTW and made to measure

 
I’ve known most of them for a while, and seen several examples of their tailoring on friends. So how did I make the decision to go with Nicoletta? Largely based on style and relationship.

I get on with Nicoletta. I admire her passion and I identify with her style. There is nothing to separate the Caraceni houses in terms of make and finishing, and from a cutting point of view I’ve seen fantastic examples from A, F and T&G. The last piece, then, is style – and the relationship that determines how you communicate it.

 
F Caraceni  Nicoletta Nicolletta F Caraceni 

I first met Nicoletta at an event at the Italian Embassy a few years ago, and we have stayed in touch ever since. I love the way she still wears her father’s blazers, altered and repaired, with other more feminine pieces – it lends a lightness to tailoring that most men struggle to achieve. Since starting the commissioning process, I have also learnt far more about her views on fit and flair, which have only underlined that decision.

The Milanese and Roman cutting styles are pretty similar – in part due to the dominance of families from the Abruzzo region in the industry. It is a very flattering and remarkably modern style. It has the softness of much modern tailoring (sitting between even the drape styles of London and the ultra-soft of Naples), but with a relatively wide, slightly bellied lapel. The modern look is also achieved through a suppressed waist and slightly open foreparts (below the waist button).

 
F Caraceni  bespoke suit
 

The style is quite similar to the Parisians, particularly Cifonelli, which is of course no coincidence: Cifonelli was established first in Rome, after all.

“The jacket should screw up in the hand, like a handkerchief,” says Nicoletta. “But it has more shape than the Neapolitans, in the collar and the shoulders. It’s perfectly possible for a jacket to be so light you forget you’re wearing it, yet make you look fantastic.”

It’s a big promise. Let’s see how she delivers.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
18 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
C.

Simon, excellent. Will the jacket be single- or double-breasted?

I notice in the black and white photo that the cloth of the lapels is not stretched such that the stripes run along the entire edge. My tailor who spent time in Milano in the 50’s mentioned that this was Caraceni’s default approach, where all the other tailors at the time went the other way. He describes it as respecting the cloth, letting it lie where it wants to lie.

C.

Anders

Isn’t manipulating cloth all what tailoring is about?

Jerrell

Hello Simon,

This may be an elementary point, but what do you mean by wrap (and its slimming effects), and does it only concern DB jackets?

Jerrell

Addendum:

Staying on wrap:
For a DB jacket, how do you achieve maximum slimness and tie visibility?

Andrew Borda

Dear Simon, looks great. Where do prices start for a 2 piece suit? Regards, Andrew

john944

Simon – completely off topic and I am sorry for that. With a couple of hours to spare in London yesterday I did my pilgrimage down the Row, Burlington Arcade and on to Jermyn Street. I became really quite despondent on Savile Row with all the new companies who, C&G being an honourable exception seem to have nothing to do with bespoke. If this was France or Italy I am sure the local council would have done something to protect an area of worldwide repute dealing in luxury goods. I couldn’t see it happening in the Rue Saint Honore for instance. I do get the feeling that after a renaissance a few years ago traditional bespoke is waning again and for those who love the craft that is a great shame. I think it also causes a bigger problem as a healthy tailoring business on the row is bound to ripple out into the shires of the country. It does seem that increased rents and lack of council support is ripping the heart out of UK bespoke. And worse was to come!

john944

The worse was in the Burlington Arcade.
I noted that NPeal had a good sale on but I always start at Berk – the most undervalued knitwear shop in London in my opinion and its closing down. And this isn’t the House of Cashmere type closing down sale when they don’t but Berk are closing down. I got the impression when the vandals took over Ballantyne and smashed the machinery it was the last straw and it would appear they got a deal to end the lease early and they are off. The end of an era. They are having a closing down sale with 50% off all stock but favourite styles and sizes are going fast. I wanted to buy a 2ply Lorne crew neck and they were out of my size but did manage to get a single ply Pullman crew for £225 and the last of their house grey 2 ply cables at £175. Great quality and great savings but so sad to see. In fact there must have been five or six empty stores in the Arcade which is the worst I have seen it. I was so upset I had to go and order some shirts from Hilditch and Key who are again, in my opinion under rated. But what do I know! Still can’t get over Berk closing down. For those who don’t read Simon’s blog so often he did a great piece about Berk and Ballantyne which you can find in the casual wear section.

Confused

Your instructions are that sartorial questions, however irrelevant, should be put on the website.
1. If Ede & Ravenscroft offer shirts at£125 made in England reduced to £75, and New & Lingwood offer shirts at £95 reduced to £70, which shirt is better?
2. What advantages and disadvantages to the poplin formal shirt colours cream and pink have?

David

Hi Simon

I am thinking of visiting F. Caraceni myself later this year and wondered if you had any updates on your jacket commission with Nicoletta?
This will be a big step for me so would appreciate any feedback on your experiences to date? Apologies if I missed a more recent post elsewhere on your site.

Best wishes
David

N

Hi Simon,
Great work. I wanted to ask you in your opinion and experience which of the Caraceni Tailor houses I should commission my suit from. I’m impressed with the pictures from F Caraceni and I read great reviews about a A Caraceni but I’m not sure which one of these to go to also the original Domenico Caraceni or even T&G CaraceniI don’t and I’m not sure if D Caraceni are lower quality standard being RTW & M2M. Thank you