His name was little known to mere mortals, but today a small but significant slice of prominent characters have paid tribute to him all over the world. The news of Ciro Paone’s death touched members of royal families, aristocrats and billionaires, emirs and oligarchs, artists and great personalities of the world jet set, and many others who had the opportunity to know and appreciate him. The founder of the Kiton brand left at the age of 88, in his home in the Riviera di Chiaia, after a difficult period for his health which, however, did not crack those characteristics that had made him a protagonist of the world of fashion and elegance. : charisma, sympathy, visionary genius and extraordinary professionalism. All summarized in his creations, such as those special jackets that over the years have been worn by some of the most famous style icons in the world, from the lawyer Agnelli to the Dukes of Windsor.
A biography that is a novel, an adventure that began in the complicated Naples of the 1950s, with a child who grew up among Australian wool and English cashmere because the family trades fabrics in Piazza Mercato. At thirteen he is already engaged in commercial activity, there is no room for play and not even for school, you have to give your contribution, you have to work. Much later, with the best of his smiles, he will say that he graduated from Bocconi on the ground. Irony and a prompt joke will always be among his strengths. After just a few years, we are in 1953, the young man understands that there is a slice of the market that he can occupy, it is a choice in open contrast but courage is not lacking and so he begins to follow what will become his main road: production of tailored outerwear (while the clothing industry was projected on large packs).
It is the beginning of an exceptional undertaking. With a small group of collaborators recruited in Secondigliano, in 1968 the young entrepreneur, in that northern suburb that the institutions will soon abandon, in Arzano, gave birth to Kiton, a term derived from “chiton”, the tunic that aristocrats wore in ancient Greece . And always there, in what was then only a small factory in the most industrious hinterland, under the sign of that demanding name, an empire will be born, the guidelines of the aristocracy of men’s fashion. A “temple” that over the years has also become an extraordinary “museum” – with works by Mimmo Paladino and Hadi Teherani – which in its columns has still ideally engraved the dictates set by the young Paone: to create “special and never monotonous clothes” and, above all, to offer “the best of the best plus one”.
Ciro “the great” is the most exclusive brand. High tailoring, Neapolitan tradition, a sense of style, originality, ad personam work: a road that has borne fruit. Today the company – which has about eight hundred employees (most of whom in the historic Neapolitan headquarters), about sixty single-brand boutiques around the world – also has an operational headquarters in New York, in a three-storey building between Madison and Fifth Avenue; while in Florence he bought the former Palazzo Ferrè. In addition to Naples, other factories (7 in all) are also in Biella (the famous Lanificio Barbera), in Parma (for leather, suede and also other fabrics), and Fidenza, where a workshop with old looms for silk and cashmere.
Fashion as a philosophy of life, elegance as a choice, which obviously cannot be for everyone, at least not always. The excellent quality of the products and the guarantee of absolute exclusivity have their price, and so the famous long dresses with superfine wool combed micron, the legendary jackets, or the incredible super-light vicuna coats can cost as much as 30-40 thousand euros. Who buys them? The master’s heirs, who have been running the family business for some years, are a rare example of confidentiality on this point: the customer’s privacy is sacred, period. And yet some big paparazzi name with a Kiton-designed garment allowed the secret to be violated, but in these parts it is a gossip that is considered vulgar like the word luxury: “We prefer to talk about quality, Kiton dresses men who love understatemen », Explains the managing director Antonio De Matteis, grandson of the head school. In short, it does not matter whether they are in China, the US or Russia, whether they are members of royal families or great bankers, oligarchs or emirs, or a certain Zuckerberg, they are just customers, satisfied customers. The first thing Ciro Paone thought of (in ’99 named Cavaliere del Lavoro) when he created timeless garments, clothes destined to escape the diktats of fashion to become an integral part of the wearer, the ultimate expression of his Hellenic and aristocratic weltanschauung.
After the tribute (a few years ago) by Pitti Immagine, which dedicated a beautiful exhibition to him at Palazzo Gerini entitled “Two or three things I know about Ciro” and awarded him a career award, today the moved thoughts of various authorities have arrived. , from the governor Vincenzo De Luca to the new mayor of Naples Gaetano Manfredi: «His special suits will continue to bring the excellence of Neapolitan tailoring to the top in the world. To him eternal gratitude ».