A Visit with Gianni Cerutti of Passaggio Cravatte at Pitti 85

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by unbelragazzo, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    At some point in the week before I left for Florence, I found an email in my inbox, subject line: “IMPORTANT: PASSAGGIO CRAVATTE.” This is how Gianni Cerutti, the founder and owner of Passaggio Cravatte, titles the majority of his emails to me. I don't know whether he has adopted this strategy generally to deal with general disregard of email endemic to the Italian peninsula, or if it's specific to his communications to me, but it did the job. I opened the email immediately.

    Gianni and I began our correspondence when he generously donated two of his ties, about which more soon, to the Styleforum Holiday Charity Auction, which I helped to organize. The import of this email derived from the news that Gianni would also be at Pitti for a day. We agreed to meet.

    “I will be in a red overcoat with yellow pants.” Even at Pitti, I have no trouble spotting Gianni in the crowd. Gianni is an old man trapped in a young man's body. I mean this in the best possible way. He is innocent of the sarcasm and insecurity of our age. I don't think he would find British humor very funny. His company, Passaggio Cravatte, ignores modernity. They make bespoke ties using vintage fabric – 50 years old and up – and vintage production methods (UPDATE: There have been some questions regarding the provenance of Gianni's silks). When we finally find a place to sit down and talk, he introduces me to vintage fabrics as if they were old friends from a previous lifetime with whom he has been recently reunited.

    These older fabrics were mostly printed by hand – meaning that the ink blocks were pressed by hand onto the fabric, color by color. This gives the print the slight irregularities that drive lovers of handmade products to rapture. More interesting to me is that the designs are so different from what is generally available today from Marinella and their imitators. These patterns are as bold as the large-and-red-rimmed glasses through which Gianni watches me as I examine each page of swatches, some intricate as the first letter of a Celtic bible. Others verge on Dadaist.

    “I began this project because I couldn't find ties that I liked,” Gianni tells me. I believe him – he is wearing one of his own ties, which looks like a can of red silly string exploded onto a navy tie. “I was a fashion journalist; I wrote for Italian Vogue, among others. Eventually I decided to leave that industry and start this company instead. I'd still like to write a book someday.”

    Gianni shows me some finished ties as well. One is a seven-fold tie made entirely out of one piece of silk. So far as I know Gianni's is the only company that makes a tie this way – almost all companies make their ties using three separate pieces of silk sewn together. The one-piece method requires a huge amount of vintage silk and skill, both of which are rare.

    Gianni wants me to choose a swatch so he can make me a tie. I end up choosing something with a sensible navy, crimson, and cream color scheme, but a charismatic pattern. Gianni has a train back to Milan to catch, so he packs up his suitcase of samples and we walk a couple of blocks together. We exchange cordial goodbyes. I'm sure I'll never again see a redder coat, or a yellower pair of pants.

    A few days ago I got an email from Gianni telling me my tie was almost ready. It was titled, “IMPORTANT: PASSAGGIO CRAVATTE.”

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    Last edited: May 17, 2014


  2. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    IMPORTANT: DIEWORKWEAR

    That was an enjoyable read.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014


  3. Wayward

    Wayward Senior member

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    The man exudes a lot of passion in his threads. It's good to know that that extends to his work.
     


  4. ThinkDerm

    ThinkDerm Senior member

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    I enjoy Gianni. Best wishes to his future success.

    I hope to continue to purchase from him in the future.
     


  5. Cleav

    Cleav Senior member Dubiously Honored Moderator

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    Thanks for sharing this. Gianni's passion shines through in all that he does. Start to finish I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with PG and I will return for more. To be fair, looking at the swatches, considering all the options with Gianni's support and then waiting by the door, opening up and feeling a rush rather than an anti-climax is everything!
     


  6. Academic2

    Academic2 Senior member

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    Thanks for going to the trouble to post this.

    I very much hope he writes that book.

    Cheers,

    Ac
     


  7. Shawl Lapel

    Shawl Lapel Senior member

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    Cool read, thanks for writing it up.
     


  8. Jamesgatz

    Jamesgatz Senior member

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    Wearing my bespoke PC tie today - it has become my favorite.
     


  9. Dandy Wonka

    Dandy Wonka Senior member

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    Great post.

    I am anxiously awaiting my three ties.

    And BTW I wish I could wear an outfit like Gianni had on and carry it off so well. Very, very cool.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014


  10. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Senior member

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    Great write up. I really enjoy seeing his posts around the fora as well.
     


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