A MODERN VIEW ON
written JULIA AHTIJAINEN
TIMELESS /ˈtʌɪmləs/ (adj) - not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion.
Italy is one of the crown jewels of Old Europe, a country that is unique and diverse from both a geographical and cultural point of view. One must live it to understand it right, to understand the way the time has passed the places, the streets, the way the time has shaped the forms, the values and the attitudes, the way the traditions have remained the same and on the other side, the way it all has stood the test of time.
In today’s online world it’s becoming more and more difficult to recognize the origin of an object, to evaluate the quality and to understand the style. This fact creates a solid ground for the feeling of nostalgia to grow and develop. The word “nostalgia” comes from two Greek roots: νόστος, nóstos (“return home”) and ἄλγος, álgos (“longing”). Professor Svetlana Boym of Harvard University defines it as a longing for a home that no longer exists or has never existed. Nostalgia is a senti- ment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one‘s own fantasy. In her works one can see that the feeling of nostalgia is not only backward-looking, but that nostalgia can be also forward-looking, prognosing. After reading Boym’s works and writing my own Bachelor’s about menswear and nostalgia, I would have never thought that years later, my hypothesis of nostalgia would reappear in my life not only within the texts and images, but also in a real and very original way. So, one day...
Caraceni Sartoria Atelier
One day I met by chance a Japanese guy, Kensuke Takehara. Ken has been living in Milan for the past 7 years, and he has worked as a tailor in one of the oldest and most respected tailor houses of Italy – Sartoria A. Caraceni. The guy knows probably more about Italian suit aesthetics and speaks better Italian than an average local. Why? He says that he had a strong vision and a very good teacher – Francesco Severgnini, one of the few gentlemen who still wears and is true to traditional Milanese style. The question is still “why”?
Wearing a proper suit is “forma di rispetto”– a certain form of respect. It is a gesture showing respect towards the occasion, the place and the people, and is most certainly, a bow towards the art of Italian tailoring. Francesco is in a class of his own, always dressed in his own – Severgnini Milano, with perfectly picked color combinations, one can inspect the best of masculine elegance in every detail of his look.
While catching up with Kensuke, he reproves his student for combining modern pieces like Supreme, Converse and Knickerbocker Mfg. Co. with a classic suit by De Petrillo Napoli. “Napoli!? I’m from Napoli! From the same place where this suit originates from!” says our photographer, Davide Annibale. Davide has been travelling the world to capture the nostalgia and the real essence of the streets of Paris, New York, Chicago and Milan. But he has never lost his Neapolitan identity. He says that growing up in Naples was the best school one could ever have and that it made him extremely aware of the people around him in every sense. “Naples is the place where you understand what it means to be smart, ‘italian smart’, and the place where you simply appreciate the history, because it’s still there very strongly,” he explains. That fact can be seen also in his works as his visual stories are ageless. Just as with a classical sartorial piece, either it’s sewn today or 70 years ago – it is timeless.
Timeless like the creations of Sartoria A. Caraceni tailoring house. “Nothing has changed since we started. All the styles, the fabrics, the linings, the cuts and the stitches – everything is still made by hand by the best tailors of Milan, out of the best Italian and English fabrics,” tells Carlo Andreacchio Caraceni, accompanied
with a warm smile while continuing his work. He adds that though all the styles have remained the same since the very beginning, he himself is not a nostalgic person. He is rather positive and lives in the present moment: “Every day I make jackets, for me this is life, this is what I like to do and this is the present and the most important.” Speaking of importancy, the house of Caraceni has been responsible for the looks of internationally well-known actors, statesmen, counts and other significant personalities who have shaped the culture and the society. Having tons of stories to tell that happened in and outside of the tailoring house, from particular Japanese clients to tailoring a frac for the Nobel Prize winner, Italian poet Eugenio Montale, Mr Caraceni could go on with the stories and we could make an outstanding book of or a movie scenario. When I asked him, whether a gentlemen with an incredible life path like his believes in a chance or in a fact that everything happens for a reason, he says that he believes that everything happens for a reason. “Everything has a motif and I’m very sure of that,” he adds with a mysterious look and for a ‘dolce’ gives a tour in the tailoring house that feels like a squareshaped mini labyrinth.
M. Carlo Andreacchio and Massimiliano Andreacchio Caraceni are the men behind a family-run tailoring house Sartoria A. Caraceni, that has been handed down over 70 years, since its establishment in 1946. The house that has been famous for cutting techniques and has an expertise of one unique technique in particular that is passed on to only one person per generation. Speaking of uniqueness, Alessandro Squarzi might be one of the few Italians who has the most unique col- lection of vintage menswear, not to mention the fact that his own wardrobe is a size of 500 square meters. Recently named as number one best dressing man in the world by Esquire magazine, vintage pieces and timeless style are his passion for life. “I am out of fashion,” says the man, “and I am very nostalgic, I love old military and leather jackets, I love old denim.” He says that it’s easy to wear a modern piece, but to mix ageless pieces with modern requires a good taste and a character to wear it. Clothing style is simply a self-expression. A significant part of Alessandro’s style and how a gentleman could be recognized is because of his White Pant Credo. “I come from Rimini, a beach city where a pair of white pants is a must. And I like to wear my white pants like denim, I like them to look warn, to show the history of a wearer, to be timeless,” says Alessandro and shows his soon-to-be-opened store in Porta Venezia – Fortela. “Fortela is timeless, has no seasons and all the models are the same,” describes Mr Squarzi. In Fortela he will enliven the traditional style of a shop, where you have a tailor always present upstairs and warm timelessness greeting everyone who will enter the store that feels more like a familiar home rather than a shop.
Italians say often “la casa mia e la casa tua” meaning my house is your house. That is probably one of the best saying to summarize Italian way of doing things. Once you’re invited, you’re part of the family. And Milan, out of all the fashion capitals, is most certainly one of the most welcoming. This international city still holds its traditions strong, takes care of the styles and heritage, and passes the stories and secrets from one generation to another. From one persona to another. People you meet here all carry and care about the heritage, the knowledge and the experiences shared. Italian mystery could be solved by viewing the traditional menswear and the simple belief that everything happens for a reason. The essence of timelessness has been caught and the proof lies in its history.