February 19, 2013 by Ville Raivio
“[I am] 47 years old. Multi entrepreneur, producer, director, screenwriter, owner of a communication company [with a] University degree in International Business.
Divorced. Two kids, my son is 21, working with me on PG and in the Bespoke addiction already, my daughter 16. They love my style quest. Inspiring for them. My grand-father was a “bottier”, my mother a dress maker… It’s a family tradition. I’ve always been interested in style. When i was 10 years old, when i had new shoes, i used to sleep with them in my bed and did not want to wear them in order not to damage the sole ! I think the search of personal style and excellence is in my DNA… Some key books of course (“Dressing the Man” and “The suit”), but mainly with my personal experience and researches. I used to be, before turning Bespoke, a nightmare for the shop salesmen with my sharp questions. My eyes are my best advisors and my motto is “first learn the rules, than break them”. But the first part takes a long time…
My shoulder long white hairs give me a special look, and allows me to play with it. I would say, sophisticated, classic but with a freedom of speech, even in my clothes. I love making some tests, mixing patterns, try unusual things…. But always with understatement (even if with my face it’s not easy to be honest). I’m a style searcher. Everyday it takes me 1 hour and a half to choose my garments. It’s almost an illness i guess ! I dress only bespoke for suits. I’m very loyal to Cifonelli in Paris who is, for me, the top of the world with a unique mix of Italian roots (fluidity, creativity), of english strictness (measures are made in inches, it’s very pure traditional bespoke tailoring) and of french “chic” (surnatural attention to details, 6 to 7 fittings, the purest milanese button holes in the world). And their ww famous shoulder construction is just amazing. Small chest, very high armholes, very masculine and very slimering effect. For me Cifonelli is in the Top 5 tailoring houses in the world with, maybe, Cesare Attolini, Anderson and Sheppard, A. Caraceni Milano and Timothy Everest (for his incredible creativity). But it’s a question of taste. It’s like in life, when you have found your tailor, i think you stay with him all your life. By the way i feel it’s easier to find your all-life tailor than your wife ! For the shoes i’m loyal to Pierre Corthay fantastic RTW all goodyear. I also believe this house is the best of the best ww. But I also like the “handcrafted” line of the portugueese Carlos Santos and the RTW of Gaziano and Girling. For my shirts i make all my bespoke in a very small french traditional atelier called Courtot in Paris. I sometimes buy some RTW shirts and Ties at Marc Guyot, an amazingly stylish person who offers very stylish garments from head to toe.
At the beginning [Parisian Gentleman] was only a personal diary, but it has become, surprisingly, a world wide phenomenon. My goals were simple : sharing my experiences and knowledge, giving high level advices and help elegant men to dress better with genuine and independent point of views. I just wanted to help making a more elegant world as i feel very bad in this “ready-to-wear” and mostly “ready-to-think” world. It’s quite a philosophical quest. I hate the mass culture and fight against it as much as i can. I know that i’m a little David against Goliath, but as i often say, David has always been more elegant and perseverant than any Goliath. And now i’m glad to see i helped creating a sort of a movement with some of my fellow bloggers like Simon Crompton in the UK. Now PG has become very big, is translated in English, in Japaneese in the next weeks, than in the coming months it will be translated also in russian, italian and arabic. I have a lot of other developement projects but i don’t want to tell to much for the moment… The only thing i can say is that these projects are huge.
I’m now writing in several big newspapers in france and europe. I do some radio shows on style. I have a lot of propositions for shootings and consulting work on the subject of style. I also had the chance to build a very strong relationship with James Sherwood who is, probably, one of the most important writer on english tailoring in the world and editor-at-large at The Rake. We have a HUGE project together for Pitti Uomo January 2012. I can’t tell too much now, but it could be a world-wide “premiere” gathering the top 20 bespoke tailoring houses in the world presenting their craft together to the world at Pitti Uomo. I’m currently writing 2 books for big publishers and my goal is, very soon, to spend 100% of my time on PG and my style work. [My interests include] Philosophy, Sciences of Complexity works, High level wine and whiskies and Fitness (in order to stay perfectly slim and with a nice body…). But sartorial research is very addictive for me.
1st rule : never trust the salesman in the shop. 2nd rule : study the basics (Flusser book, blogs, magazines). 3rd rule : when you know the basics, take your time to imagine the way who would like to look and make as many tries you can. 4th rule : be your own advisor and try to be better each time… It’s a never-ending quest that has, by the way, nothing to do with money. You will make a HUGE difference by “simply” studying the basics rules on proportions, coordination etc…. My biggest advice : if you have some money issues, never compromise with the line of the suit. You can compromise with the fabric, the trims, but NEVER with the line. And remember that the style is personal and has nothing to do with fashion. Don’t follow trends… Create your own style.”
Pictures: © Stéphane de Bourgies/Abacapress and Andy Julia
~ Originally published in Finnish on the 4th of December 2011