– Why your tie is different/ special than any other?
– Because it is made with passion, our passion … and mine.
These are words that Annalisa Calabrese, which, to my question release that smile of a person who is sure of what he says and what he does. This woman is special through love and elegance and is an important pillar in the tailoring of Naples, a ray of light in this world of elegance. Nothing is free in a field where cads and upstarts have something to comment.
Welcome to Ties factory Calabrese since 1924 … a story that deserves to be known. Together with Annalisa in the laboratory of Naples is his father, Gaetano. Father and daughter, the third and fourth generation, united by “a piece of fabric / cloth”.
It all started in the 20’s of the last century with Eugenio Calabrese, a great lover of good taste in clothes, tailoring, the beautiful world of Neapolitan and … ties. It was said that in his family, he owned a generous collection of ties, more than 100. Ever since he was very young student, he decided to do a laboratory tie. He hired workers and began creating a small collection … and a story. It was a fascinating man, full of charm and slowly, began to be known and to distribute his products in Italy and then in Europe. For a short period was together with his brother Antonio.
We don’t know what label was nor the name that was used, because we have not received anything, unfortunately. A part of the company’s archive has been also lost in the floods.
With the outbreak of the Second World War the factory was disbanded. After war, Francesco Calabrese had to face a new challenge: to take over his father’s legacy. The first problem to resume production of neckties was finding raw material: silk. A difficult search, after which experienced a wholesaler of Naples who managed to procure unique material from which made baby items. They were characterized by bright colors, flowers, fancy type prints. Thus work began with them in order to give continuity to the tradition that could not die.
‘60s came with great success with its ties – F. Calabrese brand. In those times, it was one of the oldest in this area, among the few in Europe that can boast clients from the old continent. He was contacted even by Maxim to create a new line of ties, but did not accept. The high demand for “F. Calabrese” ties, allowed him not to accept for others, he even had clients overseas: Canadian and South American. Years pass and new generations arise and the story continues with Gaetano Calabrese. Since he was a kid – 10 years old, he watched his father in the factory. And he has ties in blood.
Tie is like a person’s everyday humor, if I feel joyful I put a showpiece tie that can draws attention, if I feel sad, I choose a tie that has the darker colors. Nowadays, the tie world has changed, it was once more elegant.
In ‘91 the fourth generation appears, Annalisa Calabrese, passionate herself passionate about world ties and she has grown since was little in this environment. After school, instead of going to play with friends, I prefered to retire in the laboratory to observe the different stages of production. I was especially fascinated by control and packaging stages.
Times are changing, the past is important, but the present comes with new challenges and Annalisa decide to take over the company and give it a new image. Thus is born “Calabrese 1924”. A legacy preserved and treasured, what makes the difference.
What is tie for you?
It is my family. During the holidays, in my house they’re always talking about material Necktie, about customers. So is a memory linked to my dear family. The production process of the brand Calabrese 1924 is entirely Italian, even Neapolitan, and the materials are the same, all Italian. It is true that England has a tradition, but with time I made a choice: to buy all of Italy. An Italian company uses only Italian fabrics, is 100% made in Italy.
Why should a man never dress?
What should to take with him a man traveling?
Necktie. A man with tie, to me, is a well-dressed man. Pocket square (the jacket) is something that makes the difference between the styles of each. If the tie mirrors the personality of the man, handkerchief is something more, more precious. Pocket square does not match tie ever. From my point of view, good taste is knowing how to match different things together. . In tailoring there is not no matching/ coordination. Tailoring means expressing your own style.
The Calabrese tie came to be sold everywhere: Japan, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, England.
Do you have renowned suppliers?
Maybe so, but I will never reveal this because, for me, every client is important.
What does for you elegance?
A person is born with this quality. It can not achieve.
It has happened to have strangest requests Necktie?
To be more precise, I want to mention there’s no speaking about how strange is a request, as the lack of information on this area of the tie. There are many companies that sell ties, without producing them, and make some orders that show their lack of culture vis-a-vis ties. For example, Ties are requests for 12 or 15 folds which can not exist because instead come out a tie result would be an ‘accordion’.
What is special tie Calabrese?
In the late 60s my grandfather brought a breakthrough on what is effectively the current construction of ties. If we look at vintage neckties we notice the lining that was sewn along the perimeter of the tie’s tip. This was not good for my grandfather because stitch could be seen from one side. Thus, with the help of an employee made a series of tests to invent a kind of tweezers. If we lok at the back’s tie from today, on the inside, we notice that the material forms a kind of frame. It is about three tweezers that were sewn on tie to give it more harmony.
As the person in Naples, you carry yourself the history of your city, tastes, smells and colors for your tie?
Yes, especially in selection and color matching. In order to offer men a special, different tie, we often take models from the archive and give them a new look by changing colors, taking into account the trends of the moment. It is something that seems easy. When I was little, I often went with my father and grandfather at Como – where the silk is in its home. So, since I was little I was accustomed to see patterns, colors, combinations.
What the meaning of beauty for you?
Having own charm and personality/charisma that is not exaggerated / ostentatious.
You belong to a world of tailoring where men predominate … How are you viewed by your colleagues?
I always had in my life more friends males than females, perhaps because of my character and type. This does not affect me once, although I have many friends that I appreciate the work that I do.
Projects for the future?
To work and to manage to grow increasingly more the company and to have both of peace and harmony in professional life and in the family.
Napoli means to you?
Good taste, harmony and … pizza.
Interview&Photo – M. ANTONIO RAFFAELLI/ The Italian Gentleman