Lorenzo Cifonelli For The Rake Part VI: A Convergence Of Two Entities’ Style Journeys
English cloth-maker Fox Brothers, this time, completes the sartorial triumvirate.
If the casual élan of Neapolitan tailoring and Savile Row’s sharp, military-derived swagger are mutually exclusive, Massimo and Lorenzo Cifonelli didn’t get the memo. Their eponymous Rome-born, Paris-based tailoring house - founded in 1880 by Giuseppe Cifonelli, and today run by these two cousins, who are of the fourth generation to do so - blends the two with effortless panache and impeccable workmanship. The garments that come into being from this extraordinary merger of tailoring genres, meanwhile, are enhanced by signature details such as the in-house-designed buttons, cigarette shoulder, an intricate piping method which prompted a comment from Karl Lagerfeld that regular readers will be familiar with (“I could recognise a Cifonelli shoulder from a distance of a hundred metres”), and the stunning finishing, as typified by the Milanese buttonhole on the lapel: a masterstroke of cutting and sewing that converts a prosaic necessity into a tactile, aesthetically pleasing signature of virtuoso bespoke tailoring. All of which begs the question: why would such an institution - and bear in mind, here, that a large percentage of sartorially proficient individuals throughout the world would, if pressed, name Cifonelli as the finest bespoke tailor on the planet - feel inclined to collaborate with us on an affordable range of garments? Well, it’s all about the democratisation of classic elegance. Over to Lorenzo, and specifically a conversation he recalls having with Loro Piana when discussing the notion of the Trivero-born cashmere and wool producers providing fabrics for their last collaboration with The Rake. The buying window for the 2nd instalment of the Lorenzo Cifonelli for The Rake Autumn/Winter collection is open and will close tomorrow 19th November at 10am. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Video by Marcus Ebanks
“I explained that we are in a kind of war for the hearts and minds of the next generation,” he recently told The Rake, “and that I knew that if we were able to provide them with the first taste of true elegance, they would become devoted to this style for the rest of their lives, because it is something you grow older with — which is not the same for streetwear or ‘fast fashion’. I explained that Gen Z cares about ethics, and that to show them that garments can last for ever is something I know they will love.” Like Cifonelli’s masterful cherry-picking of the finer points of Naples’ and London’s tailoring flare, Lorenzo Cifonelli For The Rake Collection, the second Autumn/Winter drop and our fourth collaboration to date, is a tale of two cities: or, rather, one city and one town. The former is Naples, where the artisanal flare long associated with that metropolis is applied to all the tailored goods and shirts in the range; the latter is Wellington, a small market town in rural Somerset in the west of England, and home to Fox Brothers: one of only a handful of surviving, operational cloth mills whose production process takes place entirely in England. The collection’s aesthetic focus, meanwhile, is based on a convergence in both Lorenzo and The Rake’s sartorial journey: a vision in which coat and trouser made from the same fabric is not a sartorial faux pas - we’re not talking here, the matching tie and pocket square abomination - but certainly a convention to be adhered to or taken with a pinch of salt depending on one’s mood and the occasion. Golden Age of Hollywood cuts, classic cloth patterns, Bertie Wooster-esque peak lapels layered with stuff that once would have been frowned upon in an office environment? If it looks right to you, it probably looks even more right to others.
“Mixing and matching is perfectly in the current spirit of the customers who love to combine tailored and casual pieces,” Lorenzo tells The Rake, when quizzed about this fourth instalment in the series of Rake collaborations. “The season also permits us to play with colourful knitwear and nice accessories such as the scarf in cashmere and silk or the wool and yak pocket square.” When asked about stand-out ensembles within the new range, Lorenzo says: “Two iconic Cifonelli looks are the grey flannel double-breasted suit and the three-piece navy pinstripe with singular double-breasted waistcoat. These two silhouettes are definitely transmitting the DNA of the brand and they turned really well with the Fox Brothers fabrics. I’m also particularly happy to see how the beige overcoat turned out with the spectacular beige lambswool fabric Fox Brothers provided.” Naturally, readers are encouraged to mix and match, when it comes to the looks he describes: like those before it, the collection is designed multiply the ensemble permutations available to the owner by a greater number the more of the garments he possesses.
On the release of our last collaboration with Cifonelli, Lorenzo commented that our work in creative tandem was “born out of our friendship that is now almost 15 years old”, adding that the family tailoring house and this publication “have grown and evolved as people together”. His sentiments, as the fourth instalment of the series hits - photographed, here, on Savile Row and in Mark’s Club - remain similar. “The Rake and Cifonelli have been connected for many years now - and it’s a natural relationship because we are sharing the same values,” he says. “The Rake’s tagline - The Modern Voice Of Classical Elegance - is what I’ve always been trying to develop, along with my cousin Massimo. We are indeed continuing an ancestral project, but we’re also always trying to bring in a touch of modernity: through the cut and our unique shoulder, of course, but also with all the innovations in terms of design, research into fabrics and so on.” It’s an aim they’ve executed with characteristic flair and guile in a collection which is merely the latest stage of a rich shared narrative. The buying window for the 2nd instalment of the Lorenzo Cifonelli for The Rake Autumn/Winter collection is open and will close tomorrow 19th November at 10am. Please email email@example.com for further information.