Laura De Rochas, FWO Senior Editorial Director and Menswear Editor, is obsessed with Italian style and has interviewed designers and icons such as Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2, Daizy Shely, Rosella Jardini, Gianni Fontana, and many more.


We’re Getting Ready for Milan Men’s Fashion Week!

To that end, we wanted to show you a film we’re very excited about, called Men of the Cloth. It’s a portrait of three Italian master tailors in the twilight of their careers … until a tailoring apprentice appears.

Men of the Cloth is an inspiring portrait of Italian master tailors Nino Corvato, Joe Centofanti, and Checchino Fonticoli. These artisans have spent a lifetime perfecting the skills necessary to construct flawless custom-made suits for their clients in New York City, Philadelphia and Penne, Italy — and their passionate devotion to their Old World craft is akin to a religion.

Now in the twilight of their career, they fear that their Old World knowledge will vanish with them. Enter Joe Genuardi, a tailoring apprentice who reflects the resurgence of popular interest in artisanal craftsmanship as an alternative to corporate mass production, providing hope for the future of this craft.

Men of the Cloth is produced and directed by Vicki Vasilopoulos, formerly a Senior Fashion Editor at the men’s newsmagazine DNR (now a part of WWD). Vicki has also had features published in The New York Times, Esquire, and Time Out New York. She received a B.A. in Journalism from NYU and has studied at FIT in New York and the Paris Fashion Institute in France.

I had the opportunity to ask Vicki a few questions about the Men of the Cloth, and this is what she shared with us.

Q:Vicki, you have a background in fashion journalism. How did you transition into filmmaking?

I’ve always loved movies and art — I’m a very visual person. I spent quite a few years producing, casting and styling fashion layouts for print. And of course I’ve written feature articles, and I really enjoy doing interviews and background research. So essentially I was able to combine my production experience with my storytelling skills in directing and producing my first documentary; it felt like a natural evolution.

Q:What sparked the idea of creating this film, and why did it actually take 10 years to film?

I had the opportunity to do a story for DNR on luxury that took me to Italy. Touring the Brioni factory in the town of Penne (in the Abruzzo region) was an eye-opening experience. Checchino Fonticoli, the master tailor there was so charismatic and passionate about his craft, it left an indelible impression. Furthermore, he introduced me to his cousin Antonio, the last remaining independent tailor in that town. I came to realize that artisans of this caliber were unsung heroes. And it planted a seed for what eventually became Men of the Cloth, a film that celebrates the individual stories of three Italian master tailors, which combine to tell the story of the past, present and future of this craft as a whole.

Just when I thought that I was done filming, one of my characters acquired an apprentice.

Just when I thought that I was done filming, one of my characters acquired an apprentice, and this unexpected turn of events necessitated going back to film additional footage of the apprentice’s journey (and having to raise additional production funds to make that possible). So that’s why the film took 11 years to come to fruition. But I’m happy that I did that, because it resulted in a more nuanced story.

A custom-made/bespoke suit is the sum total of a master tailor’s entire life experience.

Q:Other places are well-known for their top bespoke tailors, such as Hong Kong, London and Australia (to name a few) … what places Italy at the top of the list?

No one would dispute the fact that Italy has a special relationship with fashion. Indeed, tailoring as we know it arose during the Italian Renaissance and it dovetails with the intellectual movement called Humanism, which glorified the human form in art, painting and sculpture.

Q:What message did you want today’s generation to take away after watching Men of the Cloth?

I’d like today’s generation to value the intrinsic beauty and integrity of a custom-made/bespoke suit and all that it represents – it’s the sum total of a master tailor’s entire life experience – and it’s imbued with his very essence.

A custom-made/bespoke suit is the sum total of a master tailor’s entire life experience.

Q:What major cities has the movie premiered in, and where will it premiere in the future?

Men of the Cloth had its World Premiere at DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in America. It was the opening night film at the Craft in Focus Festival in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and was voted an Audience Favorite at the Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It has also screened at the Italian Film Fest Vancouver, the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival in New York, the Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia, the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey, and the La Femme Film Festival for women directors in Los Angeles. It has premiered theatrically in New York, Washington, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne, and many other cities. Upcoming premieres include Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco, and London.

Q:What are some ways people can continue to support the film?

It’s great if fans”like” our Facebook page and tweet about #MenOfTheCloth. And I encourage everyone to rate and/or review the film on IMDB, which currently has a 9.0 rating!

Q:Looking back at the decade of filming, dedication, time and passion it took to create Men of the Cloth, how does that make you feel today?

Making the film was a real odyssey, and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to finish it, given the commitment and sacrifices that it necessitated. But the audience reaction has been so gratifying!

I never get tired of hearing people tell me how the film touched them or made them nostalgic or more appreciative of this glorious craft.

The men’s lifestyle magazine A & H said: “A captivating tale of an art in both remission and resurgence, Men of the Cloth is a journey across the globe unifying craftsmanship and style.” The Globe and Mail of Canada said “The documentary is an attempt to do for suit-making what Jiro Dreams of Sushi did for Japanese cuisine: A celebration of devotion, craft and, possibly, an endangered art form.”

The Boulder Weekly calls it “a small but beautiful documentary.”

Read the interview with Vicki in WWD. Master tailor Nino Corvato was interviewed in New York’s Newsday. The film continues its theatrical screenings in both North America and in Europe. Sign up for the mailing list to receive updates on screening events and the release of the Director’s Cut and the Video-on-Demand/iTunes release. Fans can request a screening in their town through the online platform Tugg (see Screenings page) or by contacting info@menoftheclothfilm.com. The festival/theatrical DVD or the poster can be ordered on the web site in North America.
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More info. at menoftheclothfilm.com

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