It is only fitting that Max Girombelli is as much of a staple in the men’s fashion industry as a classic suit. For three generations and half a century, the Girombelli family has been in style.
“My family was always involved in the fashion industry, so the factory became my playground. Hiding between rolls of fabrics and running around tailors was my way to play,” Girombelli said. To say the family was involved is an understatement: his uncle discovered a young Gianni Versace, and his father and older brother worked with legendary designers like Enrico Coveri, Franco Moschino and Valentino Garavani. After years of working in the family companies, Max and younger brother Roberto found a classic niche in the ever-changing fashion industry. The two revamped a Milan tailor shop and Duca Sartoria was born. Duca Sartoria, an upscale men’s atelier, caters to markets around the world, from New York to London to Milan to Dubai. The brothers’ business rings in success and holds a reputation for elegance and excellence alike. Today, Roberto is head of the Milan outpost while Max leads the New York location.
The Duca Sartoria Atelier New York store is an ode to old school glamour and elegance. A gathering place where the lines between crafting and entertaining are blurred, arrive and meet Girombelli, who greets you at the door and offers you a fine wine or espresso. “I consider my space to be something like a gentlemen’s club,” he said. Most of my clients like to hang out here and have a drink with me. If other clients are coming, we all look at different details or different ways to be elegant.”
Chat in the swanky room decked in burgundy leather and works-in-progress or talk details and business on the balcony, accessed by climbing through a window. “I like to say that my client is imagining and creating his own wardrobe,” Girombelli said. “Of course, being in my atelier can give inspiration and ideas. I like to collect little things so when you see them, they inspire you to choose special details.”
Girombelli commands the store with the cornerstone principles that govern the company. Three aspects reign supreme for Duca Sartoria: the fabric, the cut and the design. “I like to remind my clients that we don’t make fabrics, we just select the best ones in the world. Loro Piana, Zegna and English fabrics like Holland & Sherry are just a selection of the materials we choose,” he said. “Of course, each fabric maker strives to deliver the best every season, and we make our personal selections on that.” Two of his favorite fabrics are cashmere and silk, his affinity stemming from their versatility and ease of wear for both daytime and night affairs. Precise measurements are just as important. Girombelli knows that customization lies in the details.
“Growing up in the fashion and tailoring world made it natural for me to start this business, but my nature is to be a maniac perfectionist,” he said. “I love details: my pen pocket, my cigar holder in my jacket and all of the little things that make what I wear mine and only mine. I am probably my most demanding client.”
Choosing the fabrics and designing the pieces make up the easier part of the process. “Putting all the pieces together is the real challenge,” he said. “Good measurements and having the right pattern are the tailor’s keys to a quality job, but we cannot forget the personal characteristics of every client and the desire to make his suit unique. Achieving that one-of-a-kind result for the client is quality to me.”
Naturally, quality is the foundation for the incredible success of Duca Sartoria, a company trusted by the most discerning dressers. “Quality is a process we build step by step,” Girombelli said. “Fabric is the essence of the suit; good fabric will make a better suit. But quality is also about top service. If my clients eat too much pasta, it’s no problem. We provide free alterations because my quality needs to last forever, and my clients always need to look super sharp.”
So what’s on Girombelli’s radar these days? It’s not a particular print or special color, or even one trend at all. Instead, he urges his clients to see the big picture. “More and more, my clients are understanding that in the tailoring world it is important to find your style, regardless of fashion,” he said. “Of course, you can have one color that is the trend of the season, but my pieces are timeless quality pieces.”
This theme echoes throughout his Haute Ambassador column, which keeps Haute Living New York’s male audience looking sharp season after season. In his column, he pens tips on everything from fall wardrobe essentials to new takes on old favorites, always explaining the reasoning behind the advice.
“I am honored and pleased to give messages to Haute Living readers, and having so many prestigious and accomplished people reading my column is a big compliment to me,” he said. “It is always a pleasure for me to welcome readers to my atelier, where I serve a good espresso or the best Italian wine, while we make suggestions one-on-one. Each reader needs to find his own style.”
Even with a faithful client base and much success, Girombelli remains humble. “You always try to do the best you can with passion and hard work,” he said. Going beyond just a means of fashion, Girombelli and Duca Sartoria stores around the world open the mind to a lifestyle, not just an ensemble.
Go ahead, follow suit.
Duca Sartoria Atelier New York is located at 6 East 45 Street, Suite 1502, New York, New York. Call the store at (212) 582-3225 and find information on other locations at www.ducasartoria.com