Martin Greenfield has been dubbed "America's best living tailor," and his suits made for HBO's hit-series "Boardwalk Empire" have been the talk of style aficionados. Greenfield recently sat down with Gilt to discuss being a tailor, and his favorite elements of designing clothing for a television audience. You can read the interview in its entirety here.
Below are some choice excerpts:
What makes a Martin Greenfield suit special?
First, that it’s all handmade. When we make clothing, especially fitted clothing like you yourself wear, our tailored clothing moves with the body. I don’t think there is a company or tailor shop that makes the kind of clothing that we make, because we don’t just do the tailoring, but we apply current fashion to it.
You’ve been doing this for decades—
I’m 84 years old, but when I put on a suit I feel like I look very young.
That’s because you’re always keeping current. I remember the first suit you made me, you were telling me to go more modern, with a shorter jacket.
That is what my success is. I never sell somebody something unless I know what he’s going to wear and is he going to like it. Whatever he does he’ll have the right suit when I get through with him. That is the most important thing I do. When a customer puts it on, they look at the mirror, and they like what they see so much they want to continue looking at that mirror…
You and your team also make clothes for some major TV shows and movies, like Boardwalk Empire, Argo, and The Great Gatsby.
The clothes in Boardwalk Empire are amazing. I was born in ’28, and I remember my grandfather and father and how they dressed, and it was all tailored. The era for me was very easy. And we did the clothing for Ben Affleck in Argo. They told us yesterday that he kept the whole wardrobe for himself. He wouldn’t give it back.
Smart man. I’ll look for him on the red carpet wearing 70’s-inspired Greenfield. Do you have a favorite character to dress?
I like Nucky Thompson, Steve Buscemi. He’s such a nice guy, and such a great actor, and he insists on coming to the factory to try everything on. He loves the clothing. When they ask him what do you like best in the show, he says, “the wardrobe.” They all love how they’re dressed, even before they get killed. Even the sheriff in in the uniform who got burned. When we made him four jackets for one scene, we know he’s not going to be in the show for long.