Last Sunday. Leeds Bradford Airport. Bags packed, family Michelsberg, heading for Paris.

Mais non! French Air Traffic Control go on strike, flights cancelled, my daughters Disney dreams shattered.

No Rapunzel for Elizabeth. No Thunder Mountain for Avy. And no visit for me to meet my tailoring heroes, Massimo and Lorenzo Cifonelli.

Staying a five minute walk away from their atelier on the Rue de Faubourg, if I could have one ‘non Michelsberg’ suit in the world, it would be, without question, a Cifonelli.

Check out this little number below worn by Lorenzo. C’est Magnifique!


Check out the double-breasted vest, forward pleats on the trousers and monumental shoulder.

Cifonelli have one of the biggest (top end) in-house tailoring teams in the world.

Everything, as you’d expect, is sewn and pad-stitched by hand – including another thing I adore, Milanese button holes – but it is their legendary raised , or ‘roped shoulder’ that sets them apart.

This is where the sleeve head, sits proudly above the shoulder line, an example of which can be seen on the photo below of a recent suit jacket for my customer Neil.


Cifonelli call their shoulder, ‘Le Cigarette,’ and its fans argue it is much softer than those produced by many British Tailors, like Edward Sexton.

The designer Karl Lagerfeld (and fellow lover of the Windsor knot) declared, “I could recognise a Cifonelli shoulder from a distance of a hundred metres.”

I admire any company whose work is immediately recognisable, not through excessive branding (which I think is rather naff), but down to unique, distinctive, aesthetic details, that perhaps, only those who are in the know, would pick up on.

I’ve never tried on a Cifonelli jacket, nor inspected their workmanship in the flesh. Clearly this is a pleasure that will now have to wait, and waiting (as many of you will know!) has never been my strong point.

Elizabeth’s new Princess dress and sparkly slippers are back in moth balls, as is my new Loro Piana wool, silk and linen jacket.

But fear not, Walt! As I sit here licking my wounds, we shall return to Paris, and may our dreams of magical kingdoms and magical shoulders live on.

Vive La France!

That’s all Folks…