MILAN — Mario Caraceni, a legend of the Milanese tailoring squad, died on Wednesday at age 95.
The mastermind behind the ‘70s success of the A. Caraceni tailoring atelier in central Milan, Caraceni was born in Naples in 1926. He was the son of Augusto Caraceni, member of an Italian household of tailors, who had moved to Paris to arrange his atelier within the City of Lights.
When World War II broke out, Augusto closed his Paris location and returned to Italy. Opening a boutique on Milan’s Via Fatebenefratelli, he was joined by his son Mario in 1946. Mario inherited the household enterprise in 1972.
Mario Caraceni spearheaded the atelier’s success between 1972 and 1998, renaming it A. Caraceni as an homage to his late father. He helped outline the quintessentially Milanese suiting type, loosening up designs and broadening lapels to comply with the final development of Italian clothes towards softer materials, lighter inner development and luxury.
“It’s part of the Italian character,” Caraceni informed WWD in 2000. “We’re gentle people, so it’s only natural that — whether we’re dressed by Neapolitans, Romans or Milanese — in the end, we’re all wearing soft suits,” he stated.
Under his lead, the A. Caraceni atelier dressed Austrian barons, Italian counts and business titans, in addition to Milanese millionaires. He was the tailor behind a number of the impeccable fits sported by the late Fiat president Gianni Agnelli, an Italian type icon on his personal phrases.
Agnelli’s grandson Lapo Elkann, who inherited a number of fits crafted by Caraceni from his grandfather, stated, “Caraceni’s death is a great loss for Italian tailoring and style. He was and will always be a true icon of men’s style. I’m particularly grateful to him because he allowed me to enjoy and rejoice in wearing suits that belonged to my grandad Gianni.”
Upon his retirement in 1998, Caraceni handed the baton to his daughter Rita Maria and son-in-law Carlo Andreacchio, who proceed to helm the corporate, together with their sons Massimiliano and Valentina.
“I stood by his side for 40 years and needless to say, he was an exceptional man in every way,” Andreacchio informed WWD on Friday. “He had three loves in his life: work, family and faith. He was indefatigable and asked all of us to stay at the atelier until late at night. He was very strict when it came to work, he expected the best from us, and that has helped the atelier thrive throughout these years,” he added.
Andreacchio recalled addressing him with the formal “lei” slightly than the intimate “tu,” otherwise you, for 20 years till one night time throughout a cocktail reception on the Principe di Savoia lodge in Milan, Caraceni — clad in a tuxedo and sipping champagne — requested him to begin utilizing the acquainted “tu.”
“We started crying regardless of the formal situation….This anecdote epitomizes the man he was, he had to ponder things before letting himself go, but at that point I knew he considered me the son he never had,” stated Andreacchio, noting that he at all times supported his workers additionally exterior the workspace.
International trend designers additionally flocked to Caraceni’s atelier within the Golden Triangle luxurious purchasing vacation spot over time to have their fits crafted from the knowledgeable fingers of the tailor.
These included Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren and Gianfranco Ferrè — who praised the atelier’s potential to interpret his signature type with “exquisite mastery,” in addition to Calvin Klein, who used to ship thanks notes to the atelier for “the most perfect suits in the world.”
In 1975, the tailor reduce and stitch the tailcoat worn by Italian poet Eugenio Montale to obtain the Nobel prize, and in 2004, he was bestowed with the “Order of Merit of the Italian Republic” honor, which acknowledged his painstaking dedication to work and contribution to the nation’s entrepreneurship.
Nino Cerruti, president of the Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti woolen mill, which has equipped the A. Caraceni atelier, praised the tailor’s experience. “The Italy of artisans is sometimes a land of princes, such as Mario Caraceni: A prince, artist and tailor,” he stated.
A public funeral service will probably be held at Milan’s Chiesa di Santa Croce on Saturday at 11 a.m.