Reporter Nicolas Niarchos and Yali’s founder Pia Zanardi in conversation with Nicoletta Caraceni. Nicoletta is the daughter of the renowned tailor Ferdinando Caraceni, and now runs the family atelier. A leader of the “Made in Italy” movement. Read the highlights and listen to the full interview via Soundcloud.
Nicolas: Caraceni was sort of born out from kind of synthesis of Neapolitan style and English suits. What do you think the influence of that kind of more military tailoring has been on Italian suits?
Nicoletta: Well, The Caraceni Cut... It’s a strange mixture of a British tailor revised by an Italian...
Nicolas: And an English tailor would probably say something more like, oh, they want to have a structure and they want the suit to last. Not struck from this very specific idea of the form of the suit.
Nicoletta: I’m a craftsman. I’ve been working for thirty eight years now… I’ve had some offers in my past to become something bigger, but I didn't want to because it meant to completely betray the concept of what my business is and I personally prefer one thing instead of three things. One thing which is very good; in the material, in the idea, and even in the feeling. I think if it is produced in a good professional ethical way, it must last.
…The best compliment I received in my life for one of the best was from an English customer who told me, "your jackets are, what can I say, so sexy." He told me my jackets are sexy and for me. That was a very nice compliment because it means they are softer; when you forget that are wearing it. This is a very nice thing in a suit, in a jacket, in that pullover… it’s so comfortable that it's a part of you.
Nicolas: Do you travel like the English tailors to different places?
Nicoletta: No I don't do trunk shows because I can not produce 300 suits a year. It's impossible to produce in the same way if we become bigger.
Pia: How is the business different today from when you started as a woman in the field?
Nicoletta: “When I began in the 80s, it was terrible. Because it was a very traditional place the tailor laboratory and woman don't have a place there. So, I remember the first period, the first years. I often opened the door to the client entering and they thought I was the secretary or something like that. It was difficult at the beginning... Very, very difficult. But, I tried to learn...twice as a man. I tried to learn everything about materials, about recognizing with closed eyes, the weight of a material, the kind…
….For example, there are people that really don't want to wear linen. Absolutely, I tried to advise them, but no. They are afraid that it wrinkles … they don't understand that linen must be wrinkled because it is a natural textile. You don't have to iron it on every day is nice like that. I also like very much the way that linen moves. How for example linen trousers move when you walk because they fall heavily down but they still move.
Nicoletta: I always heard my father telling the client, "Now, it's new, this suit. You are collecting and it's new. But the more you wear, the nicer it becomes." And it's true because materials, fabrics are not ironed and they mold to you. It’s true, this. And they really take your body form and you become more comfortable every day in this suit. It's a philosophy...
Listen to the Full Interview on SoundCloud.
Pia and the YALI Team
PS: we haven’t forgotten - we asked Nicolas to make us a playlist as well.