The Musella Dembech label represents a
long-standing tailoring tradition, which Francesco Musella started many years
ago. Today, we can discover it through the words of Gianfrancesco, his young
What is your history? When did you start your business?
My father Francesco Musella was born in 1941, and he began his training at the age of nine. In those days, you started by learning how to make a jacket’s undercollar, then the trousers and vest. You were ready to move on to the rest only when your hands had become dexterous enough. His life-long experience began in Caserta, in the atelier of his grandfather Lorenzo, who had learned from Blasi. A few years later, my father and his brother Gaetano moved to Milan, and he started working in Baratta’s tailor’s shop. After that, he got to know Giuseppe Colavito - heir to the Milanese tailoring method developed by Cesare Tosi - who had a tailor’s shop in via della Spiga. Only after many years, rising through the ranks and working under the best tailors in Milan, did he become a full-fledged tailor in the revolutionary atelier of Mario Donnini, in via Fatebenefratelli.
I am the youngest of three brothers. Moved by a great passion for artistic craftsmanship, I started working with my father at the age of eleven, while I was still going to school. I spent my afternoons in the workshop and later continued what my father had started many years before. We are now in the third generation, keeping up a tradition and a taste in tailoring that only time can perfect and hone.
I think that if I had not gone to school, I would have many limitations, considering how things are going in today’s world.
A tailored suit must not imitate ready-to-wear fashion; on the contrary, it must stand out for its taste and personality.
Why did you decide to take up your father’s profession at a time when young people prefer other types of jobs?
I have always loved tailoring, from the fabrics to the details and everything that is behind the craftsmanship. Making a suit is a process that continues to evolve and transform itself, from when the pattern is created to when the suit begins to take shape. People think that with a university degree you will automatically get the job you have studied for. I’m against this way of thinking - on the contrary, I think that an education is important to give added value to our skills and what we do. For example, I think that if I had not gone to school, I would have many limitations, considering how things are going in today’s world.
Would you advise young people to take up your career?
For this job you need passion, talent and – last but not least – you must be ready to make sacrifices. If someone has these characteristics, then I would certainly recommend it. Today we have more than enough graduates in economics, law, marketing, etc., and many have never taken into consideration the idea of dedicating themselves to a respectable trade that only very few people have the opportunity to learn.
What are the critical aspects of tailoring?
First of all, we must offer a unique product. Unfortunately, while more and more master tailors are disappearing, it is becoming increasingly difficult to learn how to make that unique product, which is much sought after by foreign markets. It is also important to understand that it is not enough to be an artisan, working on your own products. We also need to promote ourselves and our business. We need to explain our product and, in this sense, “re-educate” the market.
What makes people decide to buy a tailor-made suit?
We serve a niche market. To begin with, our clients love all kinds of art; they know how to appreciate the nuances of life, the elegance of our style and the care we put into our work. Our clients choose our suits because they are unique and we are the only ones to make them. What I always tell our clients is that it is better to have one great suit rather than ten average ones. The tailor’s job is very delicate because it touches upon the client’s sense of taste. It is the client who chooses us and decides whether to come to us or not. In any case, we stick to our style and personality. A tailored suit must not imitate ready-to-wear fashion; on the contrary, it must stand out for its taste and personality.
What fabrics and materials do you use for your creations?
A fabric that I particularly like and that we often suggest is an old production of three-ply cool wool, ideal for blazers and suits. Another one of our favourites is old-style grisaille, with a dry hand and a full body. Whenever we find a nice cut of fabric, we buy it and let it rest. This “seasoning” is necessary because the percentage of humidity that remains in the fabric tends to dry up only after a few years.
Who are your clients?
We sell 90% of our clothes to foreign clients, and only a small percentage to Italians
How do you reach your clients and introduce your tailor’s shop?
Mostly by word of mouth.
What is your idea of tailoring? Do you follow a particular style or do you let your creativity guide you?
Our idea of tailoring is inspired above all by the Italian tailoring tradition. That said, a few little things can change from time to time. I would say it’s not creativity that guides us, but rather our personal taste, which is what really sets us apart.
Do you have projects or new ideas in progress?
For the moment we are aiming at broadening our clientele. In future, we may consider the possibility of moving to bigger premises, either in Milan or abroad.