As Fall sets in we find ourselves in a traveling mood. Airplanes may be most traveler’s first option when thinking of how to get away, but we prefer to travel by train whenever possible. Most airports are cold and impersonal. Standing in lines like cattle, hoping to find space at an overcrowded charging station and the unrelenting blasts of cold air while you hurry up and wait in the terminal are but a few of the drawbacks of air travel. Train travel is a bit more personal, authentic, and frankly old world. Taking in the scenery as it unravels in the twists and turns of the track.
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Last week the DC menswear community played host to the premiere of the Men of the Cloth film screening. Director Ms. Vicki Vasilopoulos was in attendance at a sold out screening. Many of DC’s respected tailoring enthusiasts were in attendance as well as admirers of the craft from afar. The evening was preceded by cocktails in the lobby of the intimate and cozy West End Cinema. Men of The Cloth has been screened in theatres with as many as 500 seats, but the 95 seat space provided just the right amount of family atmosphere while allowing the crowd and the participants to mix and mingle comfortably.
NYFW recently concluded and we were fortunate enough to be featured on a live segment of Let’s Talk Live; DC’s only local and live talk show. Although Fall is knocking on the door, the discussion focused on ‘hit’ or ‘miss’ Spring 15′ trends including suede, athletic inspired looks, florals, and prints. Julia Farr of Julia Farr Boutique and Monica Barrett of Blueprint4style led the ladies discussion. Check out the video and photos for more.
The documentary film MEN OF THE CLOTH will have its Washington DC premiere on October 14th at the West End Cinema. The film by Vicki Vasilopoulos is an inspiring portrait of three Italian master tailors. It had its world premiere last November at DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the U.S. 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 film received production grants and seed funding from the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and the William B. Dietrich Foundation in Philadelphia.
MEN OF THE CLOTH has screened at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in Pennsylvania, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto, the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey, the Craft in Focus Festival in Amsterdam, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne. The West End Cinema screening is on Tuesday October 14th at 7 pm. Following the film will be a Q & A with filmmaker Vicki Vasilopoulos and special guest Sofio Barone, founder and head designer at Sofio’s Custom Clothiers & Tailors in Tyson’s Corner, VA. The Q &A will be moderated by Grant Harris, blogger and founder of the DC-based menswear consultancy, Image Granted. (Tickets are available by calling the box office at 202-419-3456 or at www.westendcinema.com.)
The film centers around Nino Corvato, Joe Centofanti, and Checchino Fonticoli, master tailors who 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. 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.
The late Joe Centofanti was profiled in The Philadelphia Inquirer and was the tailor to former ambassador Walter Annenberg. Vicki Vasilopoulos says, “I truly admire artisans like Joe Centofanti, who lived a life of meaning and purpose – and created clothing as beautiful inside as it was outside. Joe’s skills were honed over the course of a lifetime – and my film honors his legacy for a younger generation.”
MEN OF THE CLOTH is structured like a triptych: each character’s story gives us an insight into the past, present and future of their craft. We see the intimate connection with their tools and the tactile nature of their trade as they work in studied concentration: sewing, pressing, cutting, marking, and pinning. The whir of the sewing machine, the clank of the steam iron, and the sharp slicing of the tailor’s scissors create an aural symphony. These artisans cherish their interactions with their clients. And as they go about their daily tasks, they share observations that are, by turns, nostalgic, poignant and humorous. MEN OF THE CLOTH unravels the mystery of the tailor’s artistry, and how he fashions a garment in such a way that it moves with the person who’s wearing it.
Director/producer Vicki Vasilopoulos was a Senior Fashion Editor at DNR, the men’s news magazine (now a part of Women’s Wear Daily). Vasilopoulos was also a contributor to Fashion Wire Daily and has had features published in The New York Times, Esquire, Time Out New York and New Jersey Monthly. She has served as a film series programmer for New York Women in Film and Television. She is also a member of the Independent Filmmaker Project and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Vasilopoulos graduated from NYU with a B.A. in Journalism and has studied at the Paris Fashion Institute in France and at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.