Men of the Cloth

Director Vicki Vasilopolous is entirely right when she says that the tailor's craft deserves to be recognised and celebrated. And that's what she set out to do with her 2012 film Men of the Cloth. For over a decade, Vicki followed the goings-on of three master tailors, originally from Italy, who set up shop in the US.

Bespoke Documentary

The result is a carefully-stitched together documentary film that accentuates the skill and craftsmanship of the tailoring profession. What resonated for me was the insight and prowess acquired steadily over the years by craftsmen who have dedicated their lives to their craft. We know that quality is key. And true craftsmen know that quality requires the best materials, the right tools and the application of time-honoured techniques.
Smell the worsted
You can rent or buy the documentary from the usual outlets and it it heartily recommended. You can almost smell the worsted from the backrooms of the featured tailors.

Tailor #1 — Nino Corvato

Nino Corvato, a tailor based in New York, was raised in Palermo where there were once hundreds of tailors. Nino worked at Brooks Brothers before opening his own tailor's shop in Manhattan to great acclaim.

Tailor #2 — Joe Centofanti

Joe Centofanti, who died aged 93, was thankfully captured in the film. He was recognised as one of the best tailors of his generation in the US. Originally from Abruzzo, his loyal clients considered him an artist without airs. Perhaps fittingly, his tailor's shop, which continues in his name, was based in the unpretentious location of Ardmore, near Philadelphia.

Tailor #3 — Checchino Fonticoli

Before (not quite) retiring Checchino Fonticoli was the master cutter and chief designer at Brioni, Italian practitioners of the tailoring model pioneered by Chester Barrie in the 60s.

Checchino has been vocal in his support of Brioni opening a tailoring school in his home town of Penne, Italy, to keep the skills alive.

Despite the ravages of our fast fashion and throwaway culture, the Men of the Cloth offers hope that there are enough people who care enough for the tailor's art to survive.


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