Just steps away from the glitz of Milan’s fashion district, in a nondescript building in Via Fatebenefratelli, hides one of the most prestigious bespoke tailors of the Italian scene and not only.
A. Caraceni Atelier, since 1946 in the Lombard capital, has tailored some of the most sought after men’s clothing by international high society. Always faithful to its history, moving gracefully, almost on tiptoe, in a world that too often tends to be captivated by the persuasive song of top fashion brands. For Caraceni simply word of mouth and a collection of photographs of their distinguished, wealthy clientele proudly visible for their visitors to see, speak more than a thousand fashion magazine covers.
The brand’s history is rooted in Ortona, in Abruzzo in the 1930s, rugged borderland and migration to the centre of the Italian peninsula. From here Augusto Caraceni, tailor with great ambitions, left for Paris, the then undisputed capital of fashion and high society. In the years prior to World War II, clothing with the Caraceni label became an immediate success, so much so as to dress celebrities; like the singer Josephine Baker, for whom the Italian tailor make tails, a bold and unusual choice for a woman, especially in those days.
The war forced Augusto to return to Italy and since 1946, the tailor shop has permanently established itself in Milan. On the death of the founder, in 1972, his son Mario took over, who in honour of his father, renamed the company A. Caraceni. Over the years, tails, morning dress, tuxedos and the Caraceni double-breasted jacket have strengthened its presence in the international jet-set. They have dressed industrialists, scholars, classical musicians and sports men. The Agnelli family, the largest Italian industrial dynasty and founder of the Fiat brand, is among their most illustrious clients, but mustn’t being forgotten is the poet Eugenio Montale, who wore Caraceni tails at the Nobel Prize ceremony for Literature, awarded in 1975. The decision to embrace an international style, tied hand in glove with the rich English tailoring tradition of Savile Row for the cut and materials used, has made Caraceni an important brand also and especially abroad, in particular by designers (a few who have turned to Caraceni, Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, the late Gianfranco Ferré). Since 1998, Mario’s son-in-law, Carlo Andreacchio, is at the helm of the bespoke atelier, which now has 32 employees.
All the work, rigorously done by hand, is carried out in via Fatebenefratelli. Those who want to wear Caraceni must come here, undergo an average of four fittings and twenty-six measurements before it’s possible to wear a finished suit. The perfection of the product, literally created on the client’s body, and therefore always unique and not replicable, is evident by looking at the clothes worn by the hosts, Andreacchio and his son Massimiliano, the last heir of this wealthy family tradition; the now iconic double-breasted Caraceni jacket for the father and an elegant yet versatile gray suit for the son. A visit of the shop just confirms one’s first impressions; the meticulous work of skilled tailors together with the use of fine and prestigious fabrics is the secret of their success that continues, far from the catwalk, for over eighty years. The buttonholes sewn by hand, the silk linings exclusively made in Italy, the almost surgical attention to the cutting of the fabrics, all guaranteeing a perfect fit, are indications of the care paid to details typically forgot by most, and which makes Caraceni unique on the international bespoke tailoring scene.
Visiting the A. Caraceni Bespoke Atelier, by appointment only, is an experience like no other; an opportunity to come into contact with an art which has been handed down with love and passion for the past five generations. And that, thankfully, has no intention of becoming extinct.
A. Caraceni, via Fatebenefratelli 16, Milano (Italy)