The first time I heard the word Cifonelli was in France, at a dinner party with my ex-girlfriend’s parents. Sat at the head of the table was her father, and at any formal event he wore his favourite double-breasted navy jacket, crafted by the iconic Parisian tailoring house. For a man who rarely wore anything luxurious, he was in love with this piece – something he treated himself to at his first job. The shoulders were unlike anything I’d seen; the cut was masculine and made him seem more imposing. And then, from nowhere, a morbid thought popped into my head mid-way through mains: ‘If this guy croaks on that next bite of foie gras, I am having that jacket’.
"We go to some extremes for the very best," laughs Ismail Rafai, Cifonelli’s commercial director, when the story is relayed over the phone. We are speaking about the latest prêt-à-porter collection available now, exclusively on The Rake. Since 1880, the house of Cifonelli has remained in the family, garnering adoration for their signature shoulder – the one that made me get a little Ted Bundy at dinner – and the audacious artistry of their style, peppered with Parisian couture flavours. "Watching Lorenzo and Massimo at work is itself a work of art," he says. "It reminds you of a painter, adding small flourishes that make a big difference – whether they are tailoring or designing."