I had the opportunity to speak with Gianni from Passaggio Cravatte recently, through the magic of Styleforum. Passaggio Cravatte creates lovely ties in Italy from vintage and antique silks. They primarily create made to order ties for men who want a truly unique accessory.
L&A – How long have you been in business, and how did you get started?
PC – At age 13, I discovered neckties. I called various brands, and makers of ties . I did it in secret from my parents because I was small and I could not even wear a tie. When I called I would pretend to be a potential customer, asking these tie makers to send me the sample pieces of silk. I would fantasize about ordering those that I liked the most. But being a 13 year old, I never fulfilled my dreams. As I grew older, I did obtain the ties I thirsted after, but then over the years I saw that those styles were always the same. They had more or less the usual colors and the usual designs. I was tired of never finding the tie I wanted, and started to become dissatisfied, though I retained a passion for ties which led me to start this business. I wanted to see true dandy style with special designs and unique colors. Then one day, four years ago, I went looking for vintage silks still printed by hand, and from there it all started. I have not stopped to look since! Today we are the only ones who have these types of vintage silks, hand-printed many years ago. We are the only ones that do not have generic stock ready because everything is bespoke. We are the only dedicated vintage silk tie makers in Italy, and for that matter, the only tie maker as dedicated to the 7 folds in a single piece of cloth construction of ties. And this when all ties these days are made from 3 pieces of silk! Let’s say I’ve set out to create the Rolls of ties. And even further, we handle almost all of our orders bespoke by mail, creating these custom pieces for clients around the world.
L&A – How do you select fabrics, and what standards do you use in selecting them?
PC – When choosing silks, we are very selfish. Fabrics will either appeal to me, or not at all. A vintage fabric must seduce me in order to be chosen. How? Through its colors, its patterns and its quality. For example, we have only vintage printed silks, still hand made. This is because the vintage hand-printed silk has a quality and a unique flavor. Every silk piece is usually only enough for up to 3 ties, and then is extinguished forever. This is why almost all of the pieces we make are so rare and special. We don’t do seasonal collections for this reason; there is no repetition of these unique creations of antique silks. Every month there is something new.
L&A – Do you create designs for one type of man or several types?
PC – Every man has to be himself. With my fabrics I only have the task of fulfilling a man’s dreams. How? Giving access to the vintage silks, which allow the expression of his personality and inner self. And so my goal is not to sell, but to make a happy customer. And being a small family, each customer becomes like a son. And like any good parent, I always try not to miss anything with my children!
L&A – What style of tie do you feel is the most timeless and least prone to going out of style?
PC – Two models never suffer from temporary fashion. The first is the old 7 folds in one piece of fabric, which began in the early 1900s. And the second model is the intramonabile 3 folds or classic tie. We always make the whole tie hemmed by hand like the old 7 folds in the 100 year old fashion.
L&A – Whats your favorite cloth to work with?
PC – My favorite fabric to work with is grenadine, hand-made many years ago. Working that fabric is a unique sensation in every way. This is because it is almost completely transparent. It allows you to show the customer all our skill and all the quality of grenadine. When made with 7 folds the old way, the transparency is fantastic, given by the inner folds of grenadine itself.
L&A – If you had to select three ties for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
PC – If you had to choose only 3 ties for the rest of my life I have no doubt. I’d choose a debonair yellow highlighted paisley , all dark colors. Then a tie with a blue background for bright colors. And finally, I would bring with me a burgundy grenadine for more formal evenings!
L&A – What inspires your work the most?
PC – To me this is more than a job, its a real passion. In fact, I never get tired, and that leads me to always try to improve myself constantly. It is my desire to make more and more of my customers happy, and make them friends.
Thanks to Gianni for taking the time to share his work. See more of his work at Passaggio Cravatte.