Providers for customized tailor Domenico Spano will probably be held on Nov. 11 at midday on the Crestwood Funeral Residence in New York Metropolis.
Spano, often called Mimmo, died on Oct. 23 at NYU Medical Middle in New York of pulmonary fibrosis. He was 79.
Spano was born and educated within the Calabria area of southern Italy, and graduated from the Istituto Tecnico per Geometri in 1963 as a land surveyor, in addition to the Suola Ufficiali Carabinieri army faculty in Florence in 1970. His household had an extended historical past within the army and he had anticipated to make that his profession till he met Rina Gangemi, an American who was learning in Florence. His life instantly took a flip.
“Three days after we met I instructed her I used to be going to marry her, go away every part and observe her to this nation,” Spano stated in a 2013 profile in Keikari, an internet web site about males’s model. “I do know this appears a little bit uncommon, however that is my persona. By nature, I’m an incurable romantic, and at all times observe my instincts and goals with out worrying concerning the future or penalties. One of these persona is mirrored within the model and design of my product.”
He moved to the States in 1971, and though he had no formal coaching in vogue, Spano stated he had at all times been fascinated by ’30s American motion pictures and dreamed of dressing like his heroes Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Douglas Fairbanks and others of that period.
When he arrived right here, he didn’t communicate English and didn’t have a job, however his future father-in-law, Joseph Gangemi, was among the many premier customized tailors in New York, counting Nelson Rockefeller and Joe DiMaggio amongst his clients, so Spano joined the enterprise as a bookkeeper making $75 every week.
“My father-in-law, Joseph Gangemi, with my uncle Nino, had been my mentors and inspiration; the one for uncompromising high quality and sense of proportions, the opposite for model and panache. Whereas I used to be there I realized lots, and when my father-in-law died, the store closed, and I needed to search for a job,” he wrote in Keikari.
That led him to Roy Rogers — “I dressed like a cowboy for 2 years and realized to say, ‘Glad Trails,’ ” he stated in a 2009 WWD interview — however after he noticed an advert within the New York Occasions from Dunhill searching for a bilingual tailor, he joined that firm. After Dunhill, Spano managed the Alan Flusser customized enterprise for 5 years earlier than becoming a member of Bergdorf Goodman to oversee that retailer’s tailoring store. He finally created his personal label for Bergdorf’s till shifting on to Saks Fifth Avenue in 2002, the place he the place he was honored with the shop’s inaugural Males’s Put on Icon award in 2009.
“The purchasers favored me, my model, my displays and my sense of colours and the way to coordinate them,” he stated on the time.
However whereas he turned often called a tailor, it was really not one of many abilities he possessed. “As a matter of truth, I don’t know the way to sew a button, I’ve a number of gifted tailors that work underneath my course,” he stated in 2009. “My manner of gown, I imagine, is traditional however has its personal persona. The model is as a lot as doable Nineteen Thirties Hollywood, with emphasis on the fabric itself and its texture and colours. A lot of the vogue individuals discuss model, lower, variety of stitches per sq. inch, and so forth., however only a few communicate concerning the fabric, and what it provides to the model.”
In 2001, he opened his personal atelier on 57th Road, which relocated down the block in 2017 and remained in enterprise till final 12 months when he turned in poor health and closed the store.
Other than vogue, Spano’s different pursuits included studying of traditional authors akin to Victor Hugo, Dumas and Dickens; cooking, gardening, listening to classical music, lengthy walks and lengthy bicycle rides “and not using a helmet.” He was additionally an everyday within the New York Occasions’ model part because of avenue photographer Invoice Cunningham who typically shot him strolling down Fifth Avenue in certainly one of his signature fits.
He supplied some recommendation to others who would possibly wish to observe in his footsteps, writing in his Keikari interview: “Educate your self about vogue, learn books associated to it, watch outdated motion pictures, observe blogs, and so forth., however at all times be a person, observe your individual intuition and your particular person model. If you happen to actually are fascinated about vogue, you may develop your individual model and don’t must essentially take for gospel what you learn. Style shouldn’t be a precise science, however reasonably a car to develop your individual model. In different phrases, be a person, don’t observe anyone. When you’ve got model, it’s going to present.”
Tom Ott, who had served as head of menswear at Saks throughout Spano’s tenure, stated: “Mimmo was an amazing stylist. He didn’t wish to be often called a tailor however reasonably his story was about model. He labored exhausting at making a ‘look’ for his shoppers. The best material from Scotland, Huddersfield and Biella. Cool seems reinterpreted for a brand new era.
“Mimmo was the primary on the sixth ground tirelessly contacting high shoppers about wardrobe for the subsequent season. A pencil and black ebook had been his instruments. He was a mentor to me and I’ll miss him dearly.”
Jeffrey Banks referred to as Spano “the last word gentleman, and never in contrast to Invoice Cunningham, was a New York establishment, which New York journal as soon as identified.”
And photographer William Karam, who had labored with Spano at Bergdorf’s, stated: “Mimmo was not solely an expert in his trade, however he lived it. Collectively, we made our working relationship an amazing success. And as well as, he at all times saved us laughing on the finish of the day. I’m positive that’s the reason he was a superb pal of Invoice Cunningham as properly.”
Spano is predeceased by his spouse and brother Francesco, and is survived by his daughters Elisabeth Spano and her husband Greg Falkowski; Cristina Spano and her husband Grant Gardner, a granddaughter, Maeve Spano-Gardner, and a sister, Tina Spano.
In lieu of flowers, the household requests donations be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Basis to fund ongoing analysis into the illness.