My necktie collection is quite extensive – seriously, I probably don’t need to add any more to my tie drawer. It includes a vast array of patterns and fabrics. Colors and widths. Weights and brands. Nonetheless, none of my neckties are bespoke. Meaning all of my neckties are mass-produced and shipped to the public for purchasing consumption. With a bespoke offering, everything is custom to a gentleman’s specifications. Today, we sit down with Gianni Cerutti, co-founder of Passaggio Cravatte. A small operation located on the outskirts of Milan, Passaggio Cravatte only makes bespoke neckties. Mr. Cerutti was kind enough to share a few words on the bespoke process and what makes a custom-made necktie so damn exquisite. Enjoy the read.
The Gentlemen’s Standard: What inspired you to establish your own company, Passaggio Cravatte, and what is your background in the clothing industry?
Gianni Cerutti: Passaggio Cravatte is not just a company, but a family. And like all families with children they love to pamper; we love to pamper our customers with custom, vintage ties. This is our truest philosophy. So, Passaggio Cravatte has nothing to do with the whole commercial world.
Everything was born four years ago because I was sick of always finding the usual neckties – complete with the usual colors and patterns. I was trying to be dandy and elegant at the same time. However, I was dissatisfied because I could not find the right necktie. So, Passaggio Cravatte was born out of that dissatisfaction. I founded Passaggio Cravatte together with Marta Passaggio.
Today, Passaggio Cravatte is based on four pillars:
1. Our neckties are the only ones in Italy that have no neckties ready because everything is custom.
2. Our neckties are the only ones to realize tailor-made ties with only real vintage fabrics. All our fabrics have 30 to 80 years of life on its shoulders. Quantities are limited, and all of our designs and colors are exclusive.
3. Our neckties are the only ones in Italy to do the ancient seven-fold in a single piece of silk. Most neckties around the world are a union of three pieces of silk. Our ancient seven-fold neckties eschew this modern approach. It’s all about inside and all about being hemmed by hand.
4. Our neckties are the only ones in Italy that have not opened a store for choice. It seems too commercial. For our clients, we meet them in 5-star hotels in Milan. In addition, however, the ties of the measure can also be ordered via e-mail.
GC: We use only vintage silk, limited edition because the amount is very restricted. We only use vintage silk for their quality, exclusivity and difference. All of our silk were hand printed many years ago. We have silk and cashmere that have 80 years of life. These are very difficult to find. In fact, we only have two collections per year. We are like fishermen. What commercial stores fail to catch and offer to their customers, we capitalize and offer to our customers. Whenever we find vintage material, we readily introduce them to our customers.
TGS: For those individuals unfamiliar with creating a necktie, can you briefly explain the process?
GC: Everything starts from the fabric. After the customer has chosen pattern, texture, interior, measurements, and various details of the initial tailor – what happens? In the workshop, the silk is stretched and placed on the table. Silk paper is placed on a model with the customer’s measurements. Then you take the plaster and we report measurements of the paper pattern on silk. The artisan takes off the paper template and cuts the silk at a time with the scissors. Cutting the silk controls the measurements. Then you put the extension and the necktie is fastened with tie pins. Yes, silk stretches a little the first time, and then it is sewn by hand. Once sewn and controlled to the millimeter the tie is labeled and shipped to the customer.
GC: Not a lot of companies make custom neckties as we do. This is because most companies in the world put maybe 10-15 silk patterns on each other, and then the cut with an electric drive. We, however, do not want to do that, and we cannot do that. This is because each tie being customized is diverse. With mass-produced neckties, the accuracy can be off. We cut fabric individually at a time like 100 years ago. No hurry. The secret is: There is no hurry when it comes to perfection. It obviously takes a lot of experience and reliability.
TGS: What type of fabric produces the best looking neckties?
GC: To obtain the highest quality, we keep an eye on the price of silk. This is because often the higher price coincides with the highest quality. And when the customer touches a vintage silk hand-printed maybe 50 years ago; he falls in love. He falls in love because the silk exudes quality from every pore. It seems alive. Emotions are difficult to explain without using technical terms that do not know everyone.
GC: The fabric that I love working with is the printed vintage Grenadines. It always excites me because when it is cut and sewn; the transparency is seductive, and that always surprises me.
TGS: Where do you draw inspiration when you select certain fabrics for your inventory?
GC: Fabrics are selected if they move me. The choice is based on emotions related to colors, designs and print.
TGS: How does a custom necktie compare to your standard, machine manufactured necktie?
GC: A tie is designed bespoke to each customer. It’s a dream that becomes reality. The standard tie, instead, is for all, and customers cannot choose anything of that tie. With bespoke neckties; the customer chooses. They choose the measurements, interiors, models, initials, or any other requisite.
GC: The benefits of having a tie tailored – the name says it all. As it is custom designed especially for your measurements. It is a tie that is customized according to your dreams, your most diverse requirements. We were born to fulfill the dreams of our customers. You can ask anything.
TGS: How can a discerning gentleman recognize the difference between a well-made necktie and a poorly constructed one?
GC: A tie well done is recognized by touching it and watching it. By touch and sight you will understand if good silk is used. This is especially apparent when you understand when a tie is sewn by hand or not. If you have a machine-stitched necktie, the fabric is a little traumatized. If it was hand-stitched, it would be much more vivid and soft. Everything has to be balanced. The quality is always understood through the emotion.
TGS: What types of knots work best with a Passaggio Cravatte necktie?
GC: Depending on the client’s preferences; everything is dependent upon the width of the tie and model. Everything is designed with the customer.
TGS: What type of clients do you attract? What type of gentleman would wear a Passaggio Cravatte necktie?
GC: Our clients are actors, aristocrats, businessmen, oilmen and successful entrepreneurs. So those who choose our ties are people who really like the ultimate luxury that is the custom. Above all, we are also chosen for the difference and uniqueness of our passion.
GC: Our production is very limited. And I do not want to expand because we want to stay small to offer the best possible merchandise. Many brands have asked us about a partnership, but we always refused because we only want quality and a tailor-made experience. We also produce custom-made scarves, bow ties, pocket squares and ascots.
TGS: How can a gentleman outside of Italy purchase one of your custom neckties?
GC: A customer who wants our custom-made ties, but doesn’t reside in Italy, can also order via e-mail. I can send our vintage samples in high-definition right to your inbox. For samples, just send a message to email@example.com. We will respond quickly and send out pictures of our fabrics in high-definition. You tell me what you like, and then together we decide the model, size, and all other customizations. And within a month, your necktie will arrive at your doorstep.