Caraceni Part IV: Galliano & Tommy And Giulio Caraceni – Rome
After our articles on Domenico Caraceni, his brother Augusto and nephew Mario Caraceni, today we continue our coverage of the Caraceni empire by focusing on the Sartoria of Galliano Caraceni and his sons.
Galliano was the third and youngest brother of the famous Caraceni tailoring dynasty.
Initially, Galliano had opened a Caraceni branch in Naples, but that turned out to be a difficult endeavor. The local Neapolitain school of tailoring had it’s own style and loyal following, and the clashing approach of the Caraceni’s Abruzzi origins did not leave much room for Galliano to win over new customers.
Consequently, Galliano returned to the atelier Via Boncompagni in Rome. After the war, Galliano continued the Sartoria business of his deceased brother Domenico in Rome while Augusto Caraceni moved to Milan.
Just like his brothers, Galliano was also formally trained in tailoring. However, unlike them, he was more of a manager than a tailor. Even in during his time in Naples, he managed and ran the workshop, while the cutters and tailors created the suits. Back in Rome, he worked in the same manner, overseeing the books and managing the main branch to great success.
In the 50’s, Galliano served as Vice President of the Associazone Artistica Habilitamento and dressed Italian aristocracy, politicians and numerous actors. Among his customers were stars such as Tyrone Powers, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Gary Cooper, Maria Felix, Myrna Loy, Lynn Merrick, Helene Shepherd, Jenny Yugo, Junie Astor, and Luis Trenker.
The Caraceni suits defined the quintessential Italian suit, free of exaggerations, without ever losing its own personality. Apparently, Galliano was not a fan of the American sack style suit in the 1950’s, and hence blended styles from England and Italy.
In 1963, some supposed family issues caused Tommy and Giulio to leave the shop on Via Boncompagni in order to open their own atelier on Via Campania in Rome. Nevertheless, Tommy and Giulio are still considered by many to be the only “real Caracenis”. Considering they are the grandsons of Domenico, this does not seem unreasonable. On the other hand, Augusto was the older brother who joined the business just like Galliano, and hence one might also consider him to be the real Caraceni. In my opinion, they are both the real deal since both establishments today are directly connected to Domenico Caraceni.
In any case, Galliano continued to run the Caraceni headquarters in Via Boncompagni until he died in the 1980s.
Tommy & Giulio
Tommy and Giulio were both tailors and cutters, and Galliano was keen on sending them all over the world to learn because he “had experienced the power of cutters”. Therefore, Galliano sent out his sons to learn from the best makers of dress coats, tuxedos, morning coats and tailcoats. He also sent them to the cutter school at the National Tailors Academy. Subsequently, they worked as cutting assistants in Paris with Petitta, Paul Portes as well as the Primavera brothers, who had emigrated from Ortona a Mare to Paris. After a two years of on-the-job training at the Evangelista tailor’s in Genova, and another year in London at Henry Poole, Kilgour, French & Stambury and John Davis, they were ready to proudly produce garments under the Caraceni label.
Despite the general trend towards Made-to-Measure and Ready-to-Wear suits, Tommy and Giulio are convinced that traditional bespoke tailoring will never be completely consumed by the apparel industry. In their opinion, true style is not achieved by the tailoring itself but much rather by the people involved. Style is the sum of skilled tailoring plus the interpretation of the desires, which may only be expressed subconsciously, by the customer – maybe he wants to look elegant, powerful, smart… All these things have to be interpreted by the cutter. Even if they make a suit for a customer once, it will be different from the one they make in a year, even if the cloth remains the same. Unlike a machine made suit, a custom made bespoke suit always has a soul.
Today, Tommy and Giulio are both in their 80s and their head cutter Carlo Tonini and tailor Guido Sinigaglia (Tommy’s son-in-law) are also not the youngest anymore. In the past, they have tailored suits for icons like Gianni Agnelli and Luca di Montezemolo, but without some fresh blood it is hard to tell for how long they can go on.
When in Rome, you should definitely pay them a visit, appointments are not required!
Next time we will reveal why Ferdinando Caraceni is not quite the part of the “real” Caraceni family.Tommi e Giulio Caraceni
Via Campania, 61/B
Tel.: +39 (0)6.42882595 / +39 (0)6.42744023
Fax: +39 (0)6.42825039