Robbio, Italy--The 27-year-old journalist-turned-cravat extraordinaire Gianni Cerutti will go to the ends of the earth to find textiles – some that haven’t been dusted since Italy still had a monarchy.
Silk factory bankruptcy auctions, fabric store basement blowouts and estate sales – from here to the UK — are all fair game to him.
Clad in a classic Neapolitan double breasted suit, crafted with 19th-century puckered shoulders and paisley tie, Cerutti himself is a sight to behold.
“It all started because I was unsatisfied with not being able to find the tie of my dreams,” he told BACO, emphasizing the word unsatisfied.
In fact, at age 13, he would hide from his parents, put on the most mature voice he could muster and call tie purveyors, pretending he was a serious client.
“Why did I do it? Because for me it was a game that fed my dream to one day have the tie I really wanted,” Cerutti said, surrounded by a sea of fabrics and rolls of vintage materials he salvaged from warehouses and factories throughout Europe.
Cerutti runs Passaggio Cravatte with his girlfriend, Marta Passaggio, who the company is named after. Marta sews the ties Cerutti designs by hand in their workshop in a town called Robbio, which lies about an hour outside of Milan.
A large portion of Cerutti’s sales are brokered through his website and by appointment at Milan’s Four Seasons Hotel.
Strangely, about 90 percent of Cerutti’s clients hail from the United States, while the others are from Hong Kong and various European nations. In Italy, however, the brand has yet to take off.
“Italians are afraid to do something different. Americans are always looking to be different and it is great to be the reference point of style for clients who have become regulars,” he added.
Italy, he complains, is also lacking the creativity that it once had in the 1930’s, an era that Cerutti personally has an affinity for.
“Designers then weren’t afraid of more bold lines, colors and prints. They had a level of creativity that you just can’t find today,” he added.
Rooted in traditional Neapolitan sartorial techniques, Cerutti’s customers can match their desired vintage textile with an almost obsolete seven silk fold, which requires about 1.7 by 1.2 meters of fabric for just one tie. Most ties today are made by sewing several smaller pieces of fabric together.
“Nobody makes ties like this anymore. Making ties from one piece of material is a sign of prestige,” Cerutti said.
“These are really the Rolls Royce of ties,” Cerutti said.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Marta Ferri: The Contemporary Atelier, Lorenzo Borghi: Old Style Milliner, Freccia Bestetti: Too International for Just Italy, Brunello Cucinelli: The King of Cashmere, The Mini World of Ginevra Dondina, Passaggio Cravatte: A Treasure Chest of Ties
WHO: Gianni Cerutti , Marta Passaggio
WHAT THEY MAKE: Bespoke vintage silk ties
HEADQUARTERS: Robbio, Italy
PRICE: EUR135 to EUR175
WHERE TO BUY: By appointment at Milan’s Four Seasons Hotel or on www.passaggiocravatte.com