Since growing up in his parents’ tailoring and dressmaking shop in New Jersey, the writer has maintained a taste for family craftsmanship.
Question: What are you wearing today?
Gay Talese: Well, sometimes I wear clothes that are made for me by tailors. Sometimes, I go to special stores where I like the merchandise. Now this jacket I’m wearing is – I have a favorite store in Paris. I sometimes go to Paris once a year at least, and I always go to the store it’s called Francesco’s Smalto, and this is a Smalto jacket. I purchase often things from there. I like the cut, very continental cut, very distinguished. It’s the finest off the rack tailoring you can get I think. Now the tailoring I usually wear are clothes that are made for me by relatives of mine who are also in Paris – my cousins Christiani and Francis Christiani, Antonio Christiani. Their father was the owner Antonio was a mentor to my father. They’re Italians who went to Paris in the case of the Old Christiani in 1911, and they had a shop for 50 years on the Route De Lape, and they made all my clothes, and I have tailor made clothes from other people.
Question: And the tie?
Gay Talese: The tie is certainly not made for me. I go to special places to have the ties. I have a tailor that I know, and I live on the east side of Manhattan, and there’s a shop that sells ties that I go to and have shirts also made. The shirt maker is called “Addison on Madison”, but they’re not Madison; they used to be. They’ve now moved to a private place. The store is no longer on the street. They have a little back business, but I get all my shirts made for me.
Recorded on September 22, 2009