The penchant for the word “craftsmanship” is becoming the norm among well-dressed gentleman these days, even if the abuse of such words, including handmade and bespoke continues, as businesses play on the sentiments of consumers who dislike the idea of owning industrial-made clothing.
Fortunately, there remains a few family-owned businesses like Calabrese 1924, who has been making handmade items for almost a century, and whose claim of handcrafting most every item in their store, holds true.
The company was founded by Don Eugenio Calabrese in 1924. His personal tie collection is comprised of more than 200 ties, with each tie reflecting his “morning mood”— a sort of stream-of-consciousness design method that has resulted in spontaneous and particularly delightful results.
Today, the brand is thriving, with fourth-generation Annalisa Calabrese at the helm. Since Calabrese’s inception, accessories now include pocket squares and scarves, as well as leather and canvas bags.
On a smoldering summer day in July, stepping into the Calabrese 1924 workshop in Naples felt like a breath of fresh air.
The first thing you will notice about Annalisa is her lively eyes and effortless charm. The second thing you will notice is her strong intent to run the family business well, with close attention to every detail. Her remarkable family heritage is committed to grow the company beyond the conventional offering of just ties. Even so, it is the unique Calabrese 1924 ties that have been the backbone of the company’s success.
In the tie-making area of the shop, dozens of boxes are set up to be shipped around the world: Tokyo, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Luxembourg…just name a city–you’ll probably find the address you’re looking for among the domino-like boxes which are lined up like soldiers, eager to discover their final destination.
The fabric selection is tasteful and luxurious, if not flawless. Among the tie selection: 3-fold, 5-fold, 7-fold, lined, and unlined.
It soon becomes obvious that this top-grade level of craftsmanship holds many parallels to bespoke tailoring, with precise attention to details such as cut, shape, fold, and design. Most impressively, untipped ties are perfectly pressed and sewn with a hand-rolled edge.
Quite notably, Calabrese 1924 does not hide behind the “Neapolitan artistic flair excuse” to mitigate minor crafting faults. Here, the most negligible of flaws are rejected on-the-spot–an uncompromising way of doing things that pays reverence to the family name.
Upon discovering the house workshop, I immediately fell in love with a Tartan upholstery fabric. Tartan represents for me the epitome of British elegance and I’ve yet to own an item made out of it. Annalisa loves to use this fabric in unconventional ways and without warning, surprises me by creating a tie in the same fabric that had caught my eye earlier.
Ties are made of cashmere, wool or silk – printed, knitted, grenadine, woven, tussah, or shantung.
As Italians are known for their mastery of la Dolce Vita and fine living, it seemed natural that Calabrese 1924 leather bags emitted a vibe of high quality expert-crafting. Made from top-grade calfskin leather, the Calabrese 1924 document holder is a great choice for those who want to upgrade a suit ensemble with an exceptional work bag (it’s definitely time to let go of that awful old DELL laptop bag you’ve been lugging around for a few years).
At one time, the origin or nationality of a particular tie could be named by observing the type of fabric used, and the process selected to make the tie. This is no longer the case, as today it is not unusual for the English to produce Italian-style ties and for the Italians to produce English-style ties.
While Calabrese 1924 may not be as well known as Drake’s or Marinella, it’s safe to say that this atelier is well on its way to notoriety, with consistent quality and excellent craftsmanship, not to mention highly elegant fabrics choices, all at a noteworthy price point.
A web shop should open soon, so stay tuned Gentlemen !
For the American readers, please note that the Calabrese 1924 products are available in the well-known webshop No Mans Walks Alone here : No Man Walks Alone – Shop Calabrese 1924
Official website : http://www.calabrese1924.com
Paul Lux : http://paul-lux.tumblr.com