John Vizzone’s love affair with the French tailoring house that employs him began in the atelier itself, on the Rue Marbeuf in Paris. A friend had taken him there to create the suit of his dreams, but it was a garment hanging on a rack - a purple velvet double-breasted, shawl dinner jacket - which captured Vizzone’s imagination, and changed the course of his professional life. “I put it on and I fell in love,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘No one can make clothes that fit this close to the body and are this sexy.”
The features of that garment which caught Vizzone’s eye – the graceful silhouette, ultra-high armholes and those slightly slanted 'cigarette’ shoulders which once prompted Karl Lagerfeld to say, “I could recognise a Cifonelli shoulder from a distance of 100 meters” – are all examples of the ways in which the ultimate connoisseur’s tailor has nudged his craft into more exciting pastures over the years.
Proprietors Lorenzo and Massimo Cifonelli – cousins, and grandsons of the founder Arturo, who opened his first atelier in 1880 – are relentless in their rigid pursuit of precision and perfection. Comfort and shape, function and form in the tailored jacket is something akin to a healthy obsession for them, and Vizzone – who spent 25 years as Creative Director at Ralph Lauren – was brought into the fold in order to inject the sense of “empowerment” one gets from wearing Cifonelli garments into the house’s ready-to-wear line.
In this exclusive video interview, Vizzone talks about merging yesterday’s and tomorrow’s style values, as well as the life-enriching splendour of tailoring which has the power to change how the wearer feels.