Sicilian costume design

Sicilian dressmaking: Christina Esposito’s Mode School

Last fall I had the great pleasure of meeting Christina Esposito who teaches fashion, costume design and pattern making in Palermo at her school called Mode School – Scuola di Taglio e Cucito. Claudio Italiano kindly introduced me to Christina during one of my visits. Anyone who loves sewing or fashion will resonate with Christina’s …

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Freddy Vandecasteele. Photo credit: Juhn Maing.

An afternoon with shirtmaker Freddy Vandecasteele

Last month I had the great pleasure of reconnecting with shirtmaker Freddy Vandecasteele who recently retired from a 40+ year career as a shirtmaker in Los Angeles. We met in Brussels where he is enjoying his retirement. When I was living in LA about a decade ago, Freddy made the bulk of my dress shirts …

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The decline and fall of hat wearing

The English historian Edward Gibbon attributed the decline and fall of the once ubiquitous Roman Empire to the gradual, enervating loss of martial dedication and civic discipline among its citizenry. In a way, the Romans did not keep up the appearances required of an enduring civilization. Put simply, the slipping of standards led to the …

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Barry Lyndon and the importance of wearing hats

Robert Everett-Green, a writer at The Globe and Mail, recently reached out to me regarding Stanley Kubrick’s film Barry Lyndon based on the novel by William Thackeray. I haven’t met many people who have actually seen this masterpiece, but Rotten Tomatoes has it right. As Everett-Green puts it well in a short piece, the film …

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