As a fashion editor and stylist, Vicki Vasilopoulos saw firsthand the care, precision and craftsmanship of Italian tailors. A decade in the making, her film Men of the Cloth follows three master tailors—Nino Corvato in New York, Joe Centofanti in Ardmore, PA and Brioni's Checchino Fonticoli—who pull back the curtain on their world of expertly fit, beautifully sewn suits. It's a window to the craftsmanship of yesteryear, but being funded in an extremely modern way. Vasilopoulos has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the film's post-production. We caught up the filmmaker to learn a little more about her celebration of tailoring's legacy.
Nino Corvato of New York
I started filming New York master tailor Nino Corvato in 2002, but had actually done a couple of weeks of pre-production filming (for research) in Italy in 2000.
I think they wondered why I was so interested in filming them, and why I had to come back repeatedly. But I chose them specifically because, unlike many tailors—who might prefer to be left alone or don't necessarily want to discuss their process—these three were really enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and passion. And their charm is what carries the film.
Joe Centofanti of Ardmore, PA
These master tailors always referred to the "balance of the jacket." The shoulder points (where they meet the neck points) are what control the balance of the jacket, and if a tailor gets that fulcrum right, everything else will fall in line. And there's a distinction to be made between great workmanship in a garment and whether a garment actually fits your body well, which is a product of a tailor's intimate knowledge of human anatomy and how well he can make an accurate pattern that takes your natural posture into account. Also, the placement of the center button on a jacket should be positioned at your natural waistline. A well-fitted and well-constructed jacket should feel virtually weightless on, and the more you wear it, the more it will conform to your body, and the better it will feel and look. That's the art of it—jacket and wearer become one.