May 26: Our Lady of Caravaggio



Title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared in an apparition on 26 May 1432 in the countryside outside Caravaggio, Lombardy, Italy. Giannetta de’ Vacchi Varoli was cutting hay in a field when the Virgin appeared. Mary requested penance from and a chapel built by the locals. A new spring of healing water appeared in the hay field. The apparition anniversary became a day of pilgrimage to the shrine of Santa Maria del Fonte built at the site, and devotion to the Madonna of Caravaggio spread through the region and eventually around the world.

In 1879, Italians from Lombardy built a chapel for their settlement in southern Brazil. As it was the only sacred art that any of them possessed, they dedicated the chapel to the Madonna di Caravaggio. Today the shrine hosts over a million pilgrims annually.



32 years and counting……

It is often stated that classic menswear is timeless but even menswear staples such as suits and odd jackets go through fashion cycles. This becomes painfully obvious if we compare the tight and short jackets of the early 2010s, with their narrow lapels, high buttoning points and open quarters with the long and roomy power suits of the 1980s which featured “football-padded” shoulders and extremely low buttoning points. The most extreme forms of fashion cycles, however, is mainly seen in ready-to-wear clothing where various designers need to distinguish this year’s collection from last year’s. Bespoke tailoring, on the other hand, seems to stay clear of the most deviant forms of fashion but whether this is because tailors in general are a conservative kind or because they just have better eyes for what suits most men I do not know. Most probably the truth is a little bit of both.

A prime example of the enduring style of bespoke tailoring is the Cifonelli jacket I am wearing today. Originally made for what was likely a French or Italian gentleman back in December 1981, it has not only survived the intervening 32 years virtually unmarked by time in terms of wear and tear, it also has a cut that looks like something that could have been made yesterday. It is really a thrilling sensation to put on a jacket that was made at a time when I was a mere lad, barely ten years old and knowing that it could very well be a part of my wardrobe for the reminder of my life. That is indeed the very definition of timeless clothing….


Herringbone cashmere jacket by Cifonelli, Belisario shirt, wool challis tie and pocket square from Drake’s and Varoli respectively, Incotex mid-grey flannel trousers and Edward Green Malvern in dark oak.