Italian menswear label Caruso is making the case for Italian luxury’s supremacy in a short film set in Milan.
The second episode of its “The Good Italian” series sees the return of the exacting prince introduced in the first edition, documenting his trip to Milan from his country estate in Soragna, Italy. Throughout, Caruso makes parallels between the art of food and fashion as the prince prepares for an important dinner.
“[Our concept was] a narrative that shows the depth, and yet the simplicity, of Italian lifestyle: a cultural trait that combines every aspect of our lives and can be found everywhere in Italy,” said Umberto Angeloni, president and CEO of Caruso.
“Caruso happens to be based in Soragna, a small town of 4,000 with its own prince, that is the epicenter of the area where Italy’s best culinary traditions flourished and Giuseppe Verdi was born and lived,” he said. “What better place to exemplify the concept that ‘Good Italians’ are indeed the masters of savoir faire and savoir vivre?”
“[Four Seasons Milan was chosen] because it is the most important destination of the Via dell’Uomo (Via Gesù), the street where Italian lifestyle has been experienced at its highest for the past 200 years, and today is a concentration of menswear, haute cuisine, bespoke tailoring, a spa and even a house-museum of two refined gentlemen of the late 1800s, the Bagatti Valsecchi,” Mr. Angeloni said. “Besides, Caruso has built a sort of strategic alliance with the Four Seasons, which includes the opening of the one-and-only Caruso Suite, which is also featured in the movie.”
In the film, the prince is shown to be a regular, being greeted at the door by name even though he seems to not have a reservation. Showing his eccentric nature, when asked how long he will be staying, he replies,” Who knows?” He follows this with the declaration that everything needs to be perfect, without specifying what he is referring to.
The prince wanders into the hotel’s kitchen, something he appears to do quite often, as the staff all recognize him. He walks over to the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef Vito Mollica and proceeds to examine the pecorino, parmesan, pine nuts and basil, approving of all except the herb.
After tossing the basil back to its container, the prince sets off again, on a secretive mission. He walks down a corridor and eventually comes to a hidden passageway that leads him through underground caves to a quiet garden.
Meanwhile, Fefe is shown in cuts to be making other preparations above ground, overseeing the setting of a table in the hotel’s courtyard under a specific tree.
Four Seasons Milan is housed in what used to be the Convent of St. Mary of Jesus. The object of the prince’s search is revealed to be a growth of basil originally cultivated by nuns in the 1500s. He returns to the kitchen with the basil and explains how basil is a “divine delicacy” for which only the basil will do.
The prince is up in his room laying out attire for his dinner when he is interrupted by opera music. He makes his way down to the Caruso store where a mannequin is waiting for him. He speaks about the difference between a “fine suit” and THE suit, making a connection to the basil as he smells one of its fragrant leaves.
Down to the last minute, the prince is shown making minor adjustments, slightly rotating the floral centerpiece on his table as he waits for his mystery guest. The object of his work turns out to be his niece, who has flown to Italy from New York at the behest of her mother.
She talks of wanting to take a world tour, believing there is much time left to acquaint herself with her homeland of Italy, but the prince has other ideas. He strikes a deal with her, giving himself 48 hours to show her some of the surprises Italy has to offer, the first of which was the trenette with pesto on her plate. In return, if she still wants to explore the world, he will pay for the trip.
He likes the odds that he will in, because there are great countries, but Italy is THE country.
“While watching this short film made me instantly want to book a trip to Italy, Caruso has done a brilliant job of showcasing their traditional Italian roots,” said Ryan Clark, founder of Luxury Branded, Victoria, British Columbia. “They’re also showcasing that Italian luxury is all the bit more special than anywhere else on the planet.
“The world over recognizes Italians with great food and utilizing a few simple ingredients made by hand can be something very special,” he said. “This is exactly what Caruso is known for and I think the food pairing works extremely well in this case.
“[Caruso's] film showcases the Italian good life and hints that while there is greatness elsewhere in the world, Italy has something special you just cannot find anywhere else. To me they also really keep a consistent theme of classic luxury without the need for modern nonsense.”
Made in Italy
The president of Italian menswear brand Caruso argued at the Luxury Summit 2014 that centuries of fine living lend the “Made in Italy” phrase a distinct flavor.
During the “Does Made in Italy Still Matter” keynote, the executive discussed the importance of production location in terms of quality, design and essence. Affluent consumers are passionate about the Made in Italy label, but, realistically, does this signifier still matter?
Mr. Angeloni opened with data from Boston Consulting Group’s “True Luxury Global Consumer Insight” report that discovered that 87 percent of consumers in the BRIC countries feel that Made in Italy is important, while 71 percent of consumers in Europe, the United States and Japan felt the same way (see story).
Caruso’s business model is focused on continuing to finesse its Italian artisanship. Of its 600 employees, 5 percent dedicate all of their time to research and development.
“Caruso is the manufacturer that best exemplifies the mastery of made-in-Italy in menswear, the ability to combine traditional artisanal skills—since it started as custom tailor shop in 1958—with design and creative vision within a modern industrial setting, and for a very fastidious client: the good Italian,” Mr. Angeloni said.
- By Sarah Jones Photo: Still shots from the film
- Source: Luxury Daily