Wednesday, 27 April 2016
How to make an Italian
The Good Italian
The video from Caruso (below) appears to be making a (good) Italian out of an Englishman. On a cycling trip, William and his girlfriend stumble on a humble-looking farmhouse in Soragna (home of Caruso and an artisanal hotbed) that hides a palazzo. Once inside, the host — accustomed to strangers arriving unannounced — lays on a feast of Italian ham, fetches wine from the cellar and provides a suit for a grateful William. Now that's what I call hospitality. But why does he want William in particular to stay? It's all getting a bit Patricia Highsmith. Perhaps it's good that the film ends where it does.
The Bad Italian
The film is entitled The Good Italian. If that's how a good Italian dresses, how about a bad Italian? Perhaps we need to consider Accattone.
Note that the transformation can go both ways. Centuries ago, or so it feels, we demonstrated how an Italian can become an Englishman from the film Smoke over London.
You may have a Caruso suit or jacket in your wardrobe and not know about it. How so? If it has a high level of handwork in the stitching, uses excellent materials and was made in Italy, then it could well have come out of the factory of Fabbrica Sartoriale Italiana.
FSI is a Parma-based clothing factory that was established in 1958 and makes white-label high-end men's clothing for clients who add their own branding. Since ex-Brioni chief Umberto Angeloni took over the helm at FSI, he has been building their own brand Caruso, which is named after one of the factory's founders Raffaele Caruso. Caruso is a brand worthy of the Made in Italy label, as opposed to something that comes out of the illegal fast fashion sweatshops of Prato. Know your labels, know your materials, know how your clothes are made — it's important.