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Italy Comes to Philly with “Men of the Cloth” Film Screening and Italian Footwear Event at Drexel

September 26, 2014

Evening wedge by Salvatore Ferragamo, black silk ottoman and satin with silver kid, circa 1940, Italy. Gift of Mrs. Robert G. McKay.
Evening wedge by Salvatore Ferragamo, black silk ottoman and satin with silver kid, circa 1940, Italy. Gift of Mrs. Robert G. McKay.

Italian fashion and culture descend on Philadelphia this October, with two events hosted by Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design – a screening of a new documentary on Italian master tailors on Oct. 2 and a seminar on the rich history of Italian footwear on Oct. 15.

The events are part of Ciao Philadelphia, a month-long celebration of Italian arts, culture and industry, organized by the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia.

Ciao Bella: Eight Decades of Italian Shoe Design

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, Clare Sauro, curator of the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection (FHCC), will lead a discussion on the cultural significance of shoe design, from Salvatore Ferragamo to the fashion-forward shoes produced by houses such as Prada and Romeo Gigli. The event, entitled “Ciao Bella: Eight Decades of Italian Shoe Design,” will be followed by a private viewing of select examples of Italian footwear in the Fox Historic Costume Collection.

The FHCC, housed in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, is one of the finest teaching collections in the United States. With more than 12,000 articles of fashionable dress and accessories, textiles and ephemera, it serves as an educational and inspirational resource to a community of historians, scholars, artists and designers.

The event will take place from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the URBN Center (3501 Market St.). Tickets are $25 and include a dessert reception following lecture. Tickets are available for purchase here.

This event is taking place as part of the DesignPhiladelphia Festival and Ciao Philadelphia.

“Men of the Cloth” Screening and Panel Discussion 

On Thursday, Oct. 2, another fashion event will include the screening of the new documentary “Men of the Cloth.”

Master tailor Nino Corvato is one of the craftsmen featured in the documentary "Men of the Cloth."

In the United States, there are a dwindling number of master tailors who practice the artistry of custom hand-tailoring. “Men of the Cloth” is a portrait of three of these craftsmen at the crossroads of their vanishing craft. Nino Corvato, Checchino Fonticoli and Joe Centofanti confront the decline of the apprentice system as they navigate their challenging roles in the twilight of their careers.

The film unravels the mystery of their artistry and reveals how their passionate devotion to their Old World craft is akin to a religion. Filmed over the course of 11 years, “Men of the Cloth” is a meditation on the value of handmade clothing.

Director/Producer Vicki Vasilopoulos was previously the senior fashion editor at DNR (now a part of Women’s Wear Daily), the men’s newsmagazine where she styled and produced photo layouts, reviewed design runway shows and wrote fashion feature stories.

“Men of the Cloth” is Vasilopoulos’s first film and had a sold-out world premiere at DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the U.S. It also has screened at the San Joaquin International Film Festival in California, Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimo at New York University, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey.

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A panel discussion will take place following the screening. The panelists will include Vicki Vasilopoulos, film director; John Capelli, master tailor of Cappelli Tailors, Wayne, Pa.; Helen Centofanti Peatross of Centofanti Tailors; Brian Lipstein, president of Henry A. Davidsen, Master Tailors & Image Consultants; Alphonso McClendon, assistant professor of fashion design at Drexel; and Roberta Gruber, head of the Department of Design at Drexel.

The screening will take place on Thursday, Oct. 2 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the URBN Annex Screening Room (3401 Filbert Street). It is free and open to the public. No registration is required, but seating is extremely limited.

This event is taking place in coordination with a Fashion Group International Event and Ciao Philadelphia.


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