Part III A. Caraceni – The Traditions, The Suit And The New Generation

In our Caraceni series, we have explored the sartorial origins of Domenico Caraceni, as well as Augusto and Mario from A. Caraceni. Today, we will focus on the 4th and 5th generations

of A. Caraceni, the traditions of this tailoring house in addition to the details of their fine garments.

Caraceni Traditions

When asked about a tailor’s most important characteristic, Mario says “modesty”. By way of illustration, a client approached him one day asking, “My current tailor is Tizio, what do you think of my garment?” Mario told him it was well tailored, pointing out the good things about the suit rather than the flaws. The client then replied, “Because of your answer, I will become your client.” And apparently, he remained a client until his death.

A. Caraceni Fabric

A. Caraceni Fabric

Apart from modesty, there are a few other traditions which are strictly obeyed by the staff of A. Caraceni. For example, when cutting the garment, the patterns are always kept in place by a horseshoe. In the shop, each of the three dozen tailors must wear a jacket made by their own hand. In addition, family members involved in the business, with few exceptions, go through a tailoring apprenticeship to learn the business, even if their position will not necessarily involve tailoring. Clearly, pride in their craft still runs very strong in the Caraceni business.

Rita Maria Caraceni & Carlo Andreacchio

After heading A. Caraceni successfully for 26 years, 73 year-old Mario formally handed down the business to his daughter, Rita Maria Caraceni, and her husband, Carlo Andreacchio, one of the head cutters. Mario Caraceni, although in his mid eighties, visits the atelier on a regular basis.

Massimiliano Andreacchio Caraceni

In 2004, Mario’s grandson, Massimiliano, decided to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors and become a tailor. Last year, he  finished his apprenticeship as a master tailor. Being left-handed, it was quite a challenge for him in the beginning to sew with his right hand. Today, he can do it perfectly and he predominantly cuts suits, just like his father Carlo. He is the 5th generation Caraceni, and considering he just turned 27 and they currently have 40 employees who manufacture around 700 suits a year, it seems like A. Caraceni has a bright future ahead!

The A. Caraceni Suit

Fortunately, I do own a few A. Caraceni suits, and while all are a little different, they do have a common silhouette. The shoulders have some padding but are generally very soft.

A. Caraceni Sleeve Lining.jpg

A. Caraceni Sleeve Lining.jpg

My suits have a concave Pagoda shoulder with a slight rullino. The garments with peaked lapels are rather wide and have a slight belly, but the gorge is not extremely high. All of the A. Caraceni garments I own are very comfortable and easy to move around in. The trousers come with belt loops and a generous cuff by default, but, of course, the customer’s wish prevails.

The buttonholes are made beautifully with a silk thread, and the buttons are usually made of corozo. The lining is, by default, made out of pure silk and matches the outer fabric unless the client requires something special. Interestingly, all A. Caraceni garments I have ever seen featured a signature sleeve lining in ivory with a wider green stripe in the middle accompanied by two brown stripes on either side. If you ever see this pattern on a sleeve lining, chances are it is an A. Caraceni. To make sure, you can also take a look at the inside chest pocket on the right, which should have the A. Caraceni label on it, along with the customer’s name and date of completion.

With regard to style, A. Caraceni suits are quite refined and classically elegant.

In the past, we presented to you a fresco suit from A. Caraceni and we also demonstrated the ease of movement in it. Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about this suit maker, take another look!

A. Caraceni Garment Details

A. Caraceni Buttonhole

A. Caraceni Buttonhole

The garments from A. Caraceni all feature a substantial amount of handwork, especially from the outside. Jeffrey D. dissected a suit from our contributor, Herbert Stricker, not too long ago, and found machine padded lapels. It seems like A. Caraceni offers both – hand padded as well as machine padded canvas. However, it was a big surprise to see so much machine work, especially when considering the detailed pick stitching, buttonholes and rounded corners.

The clients’ patterns are not drafted on regular paper, but much rather on some kind of canvas material. A. Caraceni deviates in that respect from most tailors, because it is much easier to change a canvas pattern if the customer gains weight: the additional canvas is just sewn on.

The prices at A. Caraceni have always been very high. For example, a regular two-piece suit will cost you around 4800€ ($6,500 ) and an overcoat made of Vicuna will set you back an astonishingly 25,000€ ($34,000). However, considering that an A. Caraceni suit should last at least 20 years, 240€ a year seems much more affordable… that is, if you can pay for it up front!

Until recently, A. Caraceni neither had a website nor an email address. Not too long ago, we reported about the launch of the A. Caraceni website but it seems like it is already undergoing an overhaul.

Next time, Galliano Caraceni and his sons Tommy & Giulio will be featured, and afterwards, we will focus on Ferdinando & Nicoletta Caraceni – the third Caraceni in Milan.

A. CARACENI snc
Via Fatebenefratelli 16
Milan, Italy
Tel. + 39 (0)26551972
caracenimilano.com
Photocredit 3 generations:  Carlo Furgeri Gilbert; Carlo and son: LeTemps
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