After my interview with Ellen Lubin-Sherman, I began to think of her words: “some of my clothing can be worn the day after I purchase it, but most of my pieces need a little work — shortening the sleeves of a coat, adding cuffs to a pair of pants — to make them look perfect.” I thought I used a tailor properly: to shorten the length of a pant leg, to remove and streamline pockets, or to adjust a sleeve length. But to truly alter and perfect an article of clothing was relatively knew to me and that came as a surprise, as I think it would for many women (it tends to be something only men do). When I bought this colorful pencil skirt I loved the look, the feel, and the length. I could have left it as was and it would have been fine. But the notion of tapering it just a touch at the sides took it from fine to modern and edgy. Then it could become a true pencil skirt. I tried master tailor, Dario Basilone and his business, Paradise Tailors, at Ms. Sherman’s recommendation.
A native of Benevento, Italy, Dario’s parents were both tailors. He learned his trade from them and from master tailors in Italy. After moving to the United States Dario and his brother (who eventually returned to Italy) worked for his uncle. When his uncle retired, he took over his tailoring business and Dario has been tailoring ever since. The way he masterfully adjusted my skirt is a reminder that the right alterations make all the difference. Why wear something that is almost-right when you can wear perfection? Or should I say Paradise?!
Pencil skirt, blouse and shoes from Talbots.
Vicki Vasilopoulos at 2nd fitting
Master Tailor Nino Corvato with Vicki Vasilopoulos
When I saw the film MEN OF THE CLOTH, I wept. I wept to hear and feel the stories of three master Italian tailors, filmed over the course of eleven years. Director Vicki Vasilopoulos tells a beautiful story. In this interview, Ms. Vasilopoulos shares her background, what inspired her to commit to making this film, and why these master tailors’ stories need to be told now …
MKG: Were you always interested in fashion?
VICKI: I’ve always been interested in fashion, since high school. When I got a job at DNR, the respected men’s wear news magazine (which later became a part of Women’s Wear Daily) it was my introduction to the world of men’s fashion and design. As a fashion editor I covered shows in New York and Europe. When traveling to Italy, I met master tailor Checchino Fonticoli, and was introduced to the passion and pride and luxury of this Old-World profession.
MKG: Why is this subject dear to you?
VICKI: I have a reverence for things that are made by hand; the personal and intimate creations by artisans and masters of their craft. My father was a craftsman (a furrier) and I grew up appreciating what he did. I know there’s a continuous feedback loop between the brain and the hands. The subject of master tailors fascinates me: I did my research, I used my journalistic background to investigate, and I uncovered the fact that this was a disappearing art. Creating the film was an eleven-year process. When I started, I took a topic-driven approach. As the years developed the focus of the film changed and in the editing process it became clear that this film needed a more character-driven approach. And I am very happy that we did that because the intimate portraits of these three wonderful master tailors now have a universal appeal. The message of MEN OF THE CLOTH is one to which we can all relate: what it means to find your true calling in life. Continue reading
MEN OF THE CLOTH: a film by Vicki Vasilopoulos
“What it means to find your true calling in life is the universal message of the film.” ~ Vicki Vasilopoulos, Producer/Director of MEN OF THE CLOTH
It is a special experience to see a film and have the chance to meet its director. Last night I watched a documentary film about three master tailors called MEN OF THE CLOTH. This inspiring portrait of three Italian master tailors — Nino Corvato, Checchino Fonticoli and Joe Centofanti — takes the viewer behind the scenes of the artistry and craftsmanship of an Old-World profession that may be vanishing from modern society. Filmed over the course of eleven years, producer/director Vicki Vasilopoulos tells their story with authenticity and warmth.
Most of us will never know the true artistry of a master tailor. We would never know, for instance, that these three master tailors started working when they were young boys, that they practiced and practiced and perfected their skills with a passion and perfect concentration. Many of us simply think of tailoring clothing as providing alterations and that could not be farther from the truth. A true master tailor creates from a singular vision, understands every aspect of the human anatomy, is always learning, reaching to do better, and developing a relationship with his tools and his clients so personal that they become one.
I was touched by this experience, and I will forever appreciate the stories that these masters tell with their hands and their hearts, and Vicki Vasilopoulos for telling it.
MEN OF CLOTH was Presented at MONDO Summit, by The Film Society of Summit
Note: Turning Fashion Inside Out and Melissa Kaplan Guarino were not compensated for this endorsement. All opinions are my own.