Musella Dembech, Milan.
Feeling at home in an atelier can be a difficult thing. Many tailoring houses portray a highly formal image and can be quite intimidating, particularly if you’re new to bespoke. The image is designed to convey a feeling of prestige and luxury, letting you know that you’re in a privileged place.
Walk in to any of the newly renovated (now mostly foreign owned) famous houses of Savile Row and they’ve become indistinguishable from any other luxury boutique. This is intentional, as they trade off the history of the house by keeping their bespoke offering, knowing that the real money is being made in the recently commenced ready to wear lines.
A good tailor, however, is able to quickly make a customer feel at home and doing away with the austere front is a good way to do this. Few tailors have taken this as literally as Musella Dembech, the highly regarded Milanese family who work only by appointment from their apartment on via Celestino IV in Milan.
Being warmly greeted by Gianfrancesco (the new generation of Musella Dembech) and his mother Matilde (a sweet and friendly Italian “Mama”) as I walked in the front door was instantly disarming. Any concerns of feeling like an intruder were quickly set aside as I was taken in and shown the family home as we headed to the cutting room out the back to meet Francesco, who is Gianfrancesco’s father and the patriarch of the family.
The cutting room doubles as a fitting room, with jackets and trousers hung up on movable racks, set in between the tables where Gianfrancesco, Francesco and Matilde all work.
In recent years, Musella Dembech (now in its third generation) has gained an enviable reputation for both the quality and fit of their tailoring. As evidenced by the success at the likes of Antica Barbieria Colla, Ambrosi and GJ Cleverley, Gianfrancesco has brought the family’s expertise to a new generation, through the use of social media, connecting with new clientele and being able to speak fluent English (Francesco doesn’t speak any English, but with my so-so Italian we fumbled our way through, with Gianfrancesco helping with the occasional translation).
I would usually run through more on this history of the technical aspects of their style, as well as the history, but in this instance, I’ve let Gianfrancesco explain their heritage and aesthetic directly: