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The Tribes

The Secrets Of A Well-Fitting Suit

The tailors behind Milan’s illustrious, family-run house A. Caraceni reveal how to get your suit altered

“Everything in life happens by chance,” says Mr Carlo Andreacchio, head cutter and co-owner of Sartoria A. Caraceni, reflecting on the evening he met his wife, quite by chance, more than half a century ago. He had been at work all day and was ready for a night on the sofa until his friends coerced him into joining them at the local ice rink.

The girl he met and fell in love with that night was Ms Rita Maria Caraceni, granddaughter of none other than Mr Augusto Caraceni, founder of one of Milan’s most illustrious tailoring houses. “I was speechless when I heard the name,” recalls Mr Andreacchio, who learned of her parentage only after asking which doorbell he should ring to call on her the next day. “I idolised Caraceni at the time.”

One thing led to another, as things tend to do, and as young love blossomed, Mr Andreacchio soon found himself working with his new wife’s father, Mr Mario Caraceni. The son of Mr Augusto Caraceni, Mr Mario Caraceni managed the tailoring shop at 16 Via Fatebenefratelli from its establishment in 1946, and inherited the business in 1972 upon Mr Augusto Caraceni’s retirement.

The business went from strength to strength under Mr Mario Caraceni’s supervision and by the time he retired in 2008, passing ownership to his daughter and son-in-law, it was revered as one of the finest ateliers in Italy. “It was by fortune and chance, you see, that I was able to carry on the Caraceni name,” says Mr Andreacchio, who intends to pass the business on to his own children, Valentina and Massimiliano.

As the head of a tailoring dynasty that, over the course of its 70-year history, has made suits for celebrities and royalty – the Fiat industrialist and style icon Mr Gianni Agnelli was a client – Mr Andreacchio holds the keys to a near-boundless vault of sartorial expertise. And while he’s not willing to divulge all its secrets – one technique, in particular, he says, is passed on to only one person per generation – he was more than happy to give MR PORTER a tailoring masterclass when we visited A. Caraceni earlier this month.

Watch our exclusive film, above, to find out more.

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