Claudio and John
J: Speaking of your wardrobe, and what works for you, I am curious to know how many items would you have from Adriano?
C: Yesterday I collected 9 shirts, which would be in addition to the other approximately 20 that I have at home - so there’s about 30 odd shirts. Talking about suits, there are about 15 of them from at home. There are 4 linen suits, an assortment of other suits so roughly 45 garments from Adriano Carbone.
J: To this day, you mentioned that you haven’t gone to any other tailor or suit manufacturer, what are the reasons you don’t go elsewhere but return to Adriano instead?
C: Well one of the first things is why tamper with something that isn’t broken? That’s my first reason. The second is, there always has to be a reason for you to look elsewhere, and until that reason is presented, why would you? So far, nothing he has done for me has dissapointed me. I mean there’s been a few funny moments along the way. One of the first things was he made me a suit and I asked him “do you do shirts”, and he told me he did. The first lot of shirts that he gave me, I went home and I put them on and the cuffs came up to here [Claudio points midway up his forearm]! I came back and I said, “I think there’s a bit of an issue with these shirts”, so he sent them back and we did a second run and the same thing happened a second time. So it made me think, “uhh maybe there’s an issue here” - so then we got the shirts right, and the suit was perfect. The fact that I’ve tried other places, and with the one exception of Stefano Ricci, but then again for that indulgence with which you pay an extraordinary premium, and so youve got two options - you find someone else that does made-to-measure suits, or buy stuff of the rack that will need to be altered. Now, it doesn’t matter how expensive that off-the-rack suit it is, it’s a standard cut, the length issue is always going be prevalent, and body shape will always require alterations. So why would I go to find an off-the-rack product that’s never going to be right? And to find another tailor, why would I do that? It’s a little bit like martial arts, everybody can do the basics, but there are little ammendments and refinements along the way and he has done that for me. From the first suit he has made me, he’s been doing this consistently. So I am comfortable. And the other thing is, why would I go and change? He presents me with a variety of fabrics, and he’s been extremely generous to me. Who else can do that? He’s given me free coats, he’s given me a dinner suit for nothing, he’s looked after my grandchildren. I think there’s a place for loyalty, particularly when they’re loyal back to you and I don’t know where there’s anyone else who would be as passionate, meticulous and precise as he is, and expose you to a whole range of things that you normally wouldn’t. The reality is if you go into another tailor, they’re going to offer up what they want to sell you as opposed to saying genuinely assisting you in getting what you’re looking for and working with your vision in mind.
J: It’s a very big alternative to a, primarily, sales-driven tailoring industry now, based on what they have on hand versus what the opportunity offers them to create.
C: Correct! It’s an expensive hobby to experiment with, with something that could fail. So, you actually need someone that’s passionate, is conscious of what works and doesn’t. If I went up there and said I want a suit with stovepipe pants, I suspect he will say “I’ll make it for you, but I’m not sure that’s your look”. I think that’s important as opposed to, the sentiment of, “well it that’s what he wants, i’ll give it to him”. I’m sure he has customers like that anyway, where in spite of his best advice, they insist further.
J: At the end of the day too, if someone insists, then that is what they truly want so we have to accommodate that as well.
C: I say i’m conservative with the way I dress, he says I’m not. I think that’s a point of contention between us [Claudio chuckles].
J: Conservative in fundamental attire choice, perhaps. Not many people wear suits nowadays.
C: Which is unfortunate, it’s a bit like not many people wearing ties these days, which I also think is unfortunate, because that does create a finished product.
J: Last question, I promise and then I’ll get out of your hair. What you wear today harkens back to an older time when people wore suits more often, and I believe we’re starting to see a resurgance of such attire today, even amongst the younger generation. If there was anything you’d tell anyone who’s looking to start out on their own custom sartorial journey, what advice or wisdom would you offer them?
C: Be comfortable in defining what is your style, and avoid fashion trends, because you are likely to spend a lot of money following fashion trends, but those trends will never define you as an individual, because you’re actually being ‘defined’ by someone else. Being conscious of the fact that just because something looks good on someone, does not mean it will look good on you or someone else. So be comfortable in defining your own style. Work out what looks good on you based on body type, and stick to it! Don’t worry about what other people, or your friends are wearing - be comfortable in what you are and what your style is, because ultimately that’s your trademark. When you walk in somewhere, everybody knows that that’s you. And the other thing is, if you don’t define your particular style and you tend to go with trends, you’re going to waste a lot of money and never be satisfied. It’s a bit like shoes, the progression of shoes over the years has been enormous, but some of the styles have been horrific. You wouldn’t say that the styles have been elegant, and elegance is important. So it’s important with your clothing, to define your style and have a sense of elegance about the way you dress and the way you portray yourself and present yourself so whatever you wear is a reflection of your personality.