Guest post by Grant Harris
Gianni Cerutti is a passionate Italian craftsman using his talents to create handmade seven-fold ties in the heart of his home country. Styleforum recently featured Sette Neckwear in our D.C. Shopping Guide, and after talking with them for the SF10 event, they are highly recommended. However, options are among man’s best friends. Enter Passaggio Cravatte. Grant Harris of Image Granted spoke with owner Mr. Gianni Cerutti. Mr. Cerutti uses ancient/vintage silks, cashmeres, and wools to create his masterpieces.
Grant Harris: Tell us about Passaggio Cravatte. What is the history and background of the company?
Gianni Cerutti: Passaggio Cravatte was established in 2010 because of dissatisfaction, and passion, of myself and Marta Passaggio.
Why dissatisfaction? In Italy we saw the same old ties. With the usual drawings, the usual models, and the usual quality. In fact, almost all now offer a commercial-grade product. Today 90% of the ties that exist in Italy are standardized, readymade, not to measure. We, however, we wanted to create a more exclusive product according to Neapolitan tradition. In fact I think I can say that we are the only ones in Italy to do only custom neckties and accessories. We have nothing readymade. Our ties are cut and made one by one by seamstresses who worked in the most prestigious fashion houses of the city.
Why passion? The tie for us is life. Ties for us is not work but fun—a real passion. We put our heart in. We demand the best of ourselves to pass on to customers. And only with passion we can pamper our clients. In fact, ours is not a company but a family. Customers are our best relatives.
GH: What types of fabrics do you use and where do you source them? Why these fabrics and not others?
GC: For us the fabrics are another distinctive feature. Our silks are 90% original vintage. Some have even 50 or 60 years their shoulders. They are really unique pieces. They are all hand printed. Then we also have modern fabrics, but always with vintage designs. For example, we have reproduced the lines of an English archive of 1930-1940. Another fabric that we use is the fancy silk gauze, cashmere, and wool from Biella, always vintage. We buy only the best fabrics on the market. Buy in Como and England. And we do not want to save on fabric. We only want the best for our customers.
GH: What are the hallmarks of a PC piece? What makes them different from any other Italian seven-fold?
GC: What makes our ties are unique models. Four are the most exclusive. In addition to the traditional ties and four-folds, we do seven-folds—the old unlined, with or without lining all done by hand. This is a very particular model because it dates back to the early 1900s. Also, the classic in a single piece of silk, the four-folds in a single piece of silk, and the seven-folds in a single piece of silk.
These last three models, they do not make them virtually at all anymore. Today all the world’s neckties are made from two or three pieces of silk while these are cut in a single piece of silk. They are the Ferrari of ties, the most prestigious. To make this model requires as a great technical ability and the suitable luxury fabrics. Because if one misses the cut, it just throws his tie. All our ties can be lined, or unlined.
The other feature is that we make everything by hand. And in fact, customers who choose the model, the internal measures, opening of the folds, color rear of the stitching and whether or not to embroider your initials or your family crest. In addition to the ties we make tailored bow ties, pocket squares, ascots, and cummerbunds.
GH: Where are your current points of distribution? What are your plans for distribution in the future?
GC: Our home and studio is located in Robbio, near Milan and Malpensa airport, on a Dei Mille 10. Then we are often in Naples where we have our own atelier. Many customers will meet in Naples or Milan. We are not an industry so much as a family-run business. We do not like to have a shop, because we see it as too commercial. We are real craftsmen. And we want to remain craftsmen. We go where the customers are.
To make an appointment just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond quickly and try to make an appointment in Italy. In addition, for those who want to but live far away, we can send an email with pictures of our fabrics in high definition. Then we will decide together how to make the tie. And within a month we send the tie.
We provide ties to all those who are lovers of quality. For example, we provide a service tailored to some very exclusive shops.
GH: Do you think there is too much emphasis on “Made in Italy”? If so, why? What percentage of your product is made in Italy?
GC: Our product is all done by hand and 100% in Naples. We are craftsmen and artisans and want to stay that way. We care about quality and not quantity. “Made in Italy” does not mean what it once did. Today they all say “Made in Italy” and then they do abroad. It’s just a label now. So when you go to buy a product should always be careful! My advice is to go beyond the brand and label. We must look at the quality.
GH: Who is your current customer? What draws him to your product?
GC: Our client is passionate about the extent and quality. Our style is dandy. And those who turn to us do so because they cannot find what we have from anyone else. From the models, to the fabric, to the made-to-measure service. Today we have customers around the world. From pure dandies to politicians to industrialists.
GH: What knot do you recommend using for the maximum versatility and utmost style for your ties?
GC: The knot is a very personal choice. I prefer a classic single or double.
GH: Is there anything else you’d like the Styleforum audience to know about PC?
GC: I want to congratulate Styleforum for 10 years of life. I think it’s the most important forum in the world of men’s style. Frequently, you can find obscure knowledge on Styleforum. It is an honor for us to do this interview.