Milan’s Via Gesù - recently dubbed La Via Dell'Uomo - has quickly transformed into the city's official destination for exclusive, high-end menswear. The man responsible for the makeover is Umberto Angeloni, a fashion entrepreneur who first anointed the road with its gentleman bent in 1998 when he opened the doors to Brioni.
Over the weekend, he cut the ribbon on the same road (which now features 15 other menswear specialists) to his latest pet project, Caruso. Lodged between fellow tailors Cacciari Salvati and Brioni, the new shop sits discreetly behind a series of elegant arched windows.
'When I bought the company six years ago,' Angeloni explains, 'we had 600 employees and today we have the same number. This is important when you look at the economic crisis that has occurred in Italy over the last 2-3 years. We’re doing very well.'
Designed by Edgar Vallora, the interiors are clean and pure, but sharply attended to, such as a winter garden room with an airy glass ceiling. Caruso’s signature suiting hangs on oak racks and shelves, and against plaster walls with a hand-troweled finish. The floor, meanwhile, is a cocciopesto lime mortar with crushed pottery that was applied by hand by Veneto craftsmen who then oiled it on their knees (this laborious technique has notably been dormant for the last 200 years).
Best of all, however, is an art installation in the rear of the shop commissioned by wood artist Giuseppe Amato, which recreates the Teatro Regio in Parma in wooden bas-reliefs, with mother of pearl chandeliers and an audience made of gleaming silver and gold metal people. Clearly, another jewel in the La Via Dell'Uomo's crown. 'Everything inside our shop is dedicated to excellence from Parma,' adds Angeloni of the Italian city that is home to Caruso's production, 'including the parmigiano and culatello we offered this evening.'