carlo and massimilano a caraceni
 
Although I decided to have my first Milanese suit made at Ferdinando Caraceni (see previous post), I’ve visited and got to know Carlo and Massimiliano Andreacchio at A Caraceni as well. Between them, they are the highest form of central-Italian tailoring left in the country.

A. Caraceni was founded by Augusto Caraceni, younger brother to Domenico. He started the Paris branch of the firm in 1935 and became one of the best-known tailors in the city, before being forced to leave at the start of World War Two.

This cross-pollination between Italy and France is the major reason the tailoring styles are so similar today – softer construction than the English, but with a stronger shoulder and narrow waist. Although there are significant differences between Cifonello and Camps de Luca in Paris, and the Caracenis in Milan and Rome, they are all more similar to each than to London or Naples.
 

A Caraceni  bespoke suits 
 
Augusto opened in Milan in 1946 under the name A. Caraceni; he handed onto his son Mario in 1972; and in 1998 Mario handed over to his daughter Rita and her husband Carlo Andreacchio. Carlo and his son Massimiliano, pictured top, are now the two cutters at A. Caraceni. 

“We have continued the style of Augusto and Mario throughout the years,” Carlo told me when I visited earlier in the year. “I think the only exception today is that we cut a slightly narrower lapel – perhaps narrower than some of the other Caracenis – and overall we are more open to customer suggestions and requests.”

“In this age you have to be more flexible, yet retain that style that links you to your heritage,” adds Massimiliano. His style is a good example of this (see details in bottom picture), with a classic Caraceni jacket make up in denim-looking wool/silk cloth and some colourful accessories.

“The style is still tight through the waist,” continues Massimiliano. “That’s a feature of a lot of Milanese tailors – trying to make the man looks his best, his sharpest, in tailoring. In fact, there is a story that one of the tailors here refused to make for any man that was overweight, as his suits wouldn’t look as good.”
 

A Caraceni  milan italy

A Caraceni

A Caraceni  milan

 
“There’s still a lovely collegiate atmosphere among the Milanese tailors, even though there are fewer of them than there used to be,” adds Carlo. “They used to all meet up at Bar Campari in Piazza Duomo on a Friday night, to talk about the industry. It always ran late because no one wanted to leave – they knew that as soon as they did everyone else would start talking about them.”

Caraceni has a very similar feel to the Parisian tailors such as Camps de Luca and Cifonelli. It is large (30 tailors and the two cutters, with five of those tailors offsite) and situated on the first floor of the building, with some lovely heirlooms around the place. Carlo mentioned that they recently blocked off part of the floor to make an office and every single customer that came in commented on it. For them, he says, it is still a home from home – as tailors should be.

Caraceni suits are – as I commented with Ferdinando Caraceni – some of the most stylish in the world. Their combination of soft construction, classic shoulders and shorter length makes them feel very contemporary: what most RTW companies today are trying to achieve, but with far less success. 
 

A Caraceni milan suit

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john

Simon, several years ago with the kids gone and starting to make some serious money, I started a bucket list – not for things to do but clothing to buy. I started with the most expensive, shoes, and had three pairs made at Lobb. All were traditional design, work wear type shoes and I love them. They have aged, unlike their owner, in a wonderful fashion. Then I hade some shirts made at Charvet and while nice the ties I thought were better. For ties I decided I would never anything buy other than Drake or Chavet and I have more or less kept to that. The problem now is suits.
I have always used a local tailor for my suits and I have been very pleased with them. They are great for work and stylish enough without hiding the man within. All tailor made with floating canvas linings and good quality without scaring the horses. As my local tailor has now retired I have decided the time has come to knock another item off my list and go for a high end Savile Row experience.
I hope you can help. I noted in the post above and several other posts that most tailors have their own style and that they don’t like to deviate from that style much. I like a structured suit, traditional English cut (in fact I did think of going to Mr Mahon) but I just don’t like tight arms, short jackets and the quite (to my eyes) lose luck of something like A&S – but I like their prices! So, how much can a customer dictate the style of a suit and if I went to A&S would I get the suit I want or a suit influenced by me but distinctly A&S or English Cut or whatever? Also what happens if I really, really don’t like the outcome.
I am thinking of a mid weight dark grey worsted two piece, three button with the break over the top button. All quite traditional.

Balfour

Just to add, Mahon is ex-A&S and adopts soft tailoring. So, while very highly regarded, his style may not be for John either.

Mark

John, to be honest you can’t go wrong with Poole, and they will flex quite a bit for you. If you like the drape style – I don’t – go for A&S, but you have to know you like it.

Have you tried getting your shirts made at Budd. Very good, if you can get past Mr Butcher’s formidable customer service style!

Anonymous

Go for A. Caraceni if you indeed want the best.

Rabster

Having just returned from my first visit to Italy I was fascinated at how well the Italians wear their clothes.
Everyone seemed to have perfectly fitted shoulders on their jackets.
It is truly shameful how badly we dress in this country!
I noticed the Italians liked to wear their polo shirts with the collars raised , something which would no doubt draw looks in the UK but makes sense given that polo shirts collars never sit well when turned down.
Simon, on the subject of polo shirts , should they be tucked into trousers or left out ( likewise with t shirts).?

Jerrell

Hello Simon,

Do the Caraceni prices (all of them, perhaps) also compare with Cifonelli?

Dan

Its an interesting comment that they say they wouldnt make a suit for an overweight man as the suit wouldnt look its best on them. Is it the customers obligation to make the suit look its best or the suits obligation to make the man look their best?

As a person who doesnt, and never will, fit the ideal of what a man should look like this type of attitude makes things more complex.

Whilst this is an issue closer to my own heart, its somewhat of a pity that you didnt respond to the comment of your other visitor on the general attitude of those working in these types of establishments.

Your former article about what you should ask for of your “first” bespoke suit makes total sense. However, how do you choose who makes that suit for you? Especially if you are possibly far from the ideal shape and the above attitudes exist amongst tailors.

Bertie

John. Why not try my City tailor P. A. Crowe’s. If it’s classic with a twist that you would like. ! …
Best
B

Rob

At A.Caraceni they are not even tailors or cutters and Carlo Andreacchio was only a tie seller -nothing to go with the old Caraceni name and their old reknown quality..

Rob

I think they just try to keep an image to the eyes of people coming in.. that’s it. But, the real cutter is just another thing. My father was a customer of them during the 70s and also with Pozzi (the latest real cutter). When Pozzi passed away Andreacchio lost so many customers, what they have now is just the brand. Their quality and style sucks now..to compare it, take a look at the old pictures of Cary Grant, Tyrone Power and so on and you will notice a very big difference.

Rob

it’s not about being dressed like Cary Grant but a matter of housestyle and quality of the finished suit. Maybe you like it, I understand it is a personal preference.

jason

So Rob, who do you recomend in Milan?

Eric Jensen

Hey Simon, I began my apprenticeship in Rome under Maestro Luigi Gallo. If you ever get the chance to visit Rome, I would love to see a write up on him. Great site!

Good Tailoring Dallas

I think the sole exception these days is that we tend to cut a rather narrower overlap – maybe narrower than a number of the opposite Caracenis – and overall we tend to ar a lot of receptive client suggestions and requests.

Peter

Is it possible to define drape, and is drape possible with cloth such as cotton seersucker?

Peter

Thanks!

Andrew Borda

Dear Simon, how do A Caraceni’s DB jackets compare to the jacket you had done by Ferdinando Caraceni, which is spectacular.

vas

Sounds there is a fair interest in Milanese tailirong below. Simon has run long and helpful introductions of lesser known tailors in Milan. The Caraceni style and cut you can get at both A and F Caraceni, maybe in a more classic way at the latter, but if you want something closer to Caraceni 30 years ago, try Alo’ e Tomaso in Milan. Alo’ used to work for Caraceni and his style us very close to that. My personal view is it is more beautiful and chic. It is a small tailor, no pretence and very representative of Milanese style.

Thomas

Simon, I’m very young and just getting into the whole bespoke scene. Last year I did an Orazio Luciano MTM and I’ll be spending 5 months in Milan, and was wondering what a good first bespoke suit and shoes would be.
I am not so sure the Savile Row style is for me, though I do like A&S cut. I do really like Liverano&Liverano or Rubinacci. Any better suggestions?
For bespoke shoes I want something simple made, maybe a black cap toe. Was thinking either a Cleverly or Bemer.

Let me know what you think. Hope to hear some suggestions.

Thomas

JT

Dear Mr. Crompton, I’m a longtime subscriber to your work and I’ve never seen you address various body types, unless I’ve missed that post, which is entirely possible. I’m 6’8″ tall, with a muscular build. Which bespoke tailors’ house cuts would, in your opinion, suit me best? I was considering one or more of the Caracenis, but, a Neapolitan or two have caught my eye, as has Cifonelli, but, only after seeing a tall, muscular gentleman in one of their jackets. When “complete”, my physique will resemble that of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his film, “Commando”. Any advice that you can provide will be sincerely appreciated. My thanks for your time.

JT

Thank you, sir.