Battle of the Ateliers
Cassock Wars: Gammarelli vs MancinelliWhy are all these people around Papa Ratzi fighting for dominance in his eyes? First Georg and Clemens, then TNT and Ingrid, Stato and CDF, Gessica and all others, and now the Sartoriali.
Who has the best buttons for the Holy Father? The cassock war rages on at the Vatican. Tailors Annibal Gammarelli and Raniero Mancinelli are battling over who has the right to make the 30-buttonhole Papal cassocks for Benedict.
“Gammarelli’s cassocks are sewn beyond all the rules of tailoring art. The Pope was visibly not comfortable in them. So he came back to us and is breaking with tradition,” Mancinelli explains in the newspaper Die Aktuelle. For 45 years, he has had his small shop directly across the Vatican. Maria Ratzinger who came with her brother to Rome as his housekeeper, “discovered" Mancinelli’s shop.
“That is malicious gossip and plain envy,” says Gammarelli in the same paper. “We work with absolute accuracy and with the best seamstresses. I am not going to let Raniero Mancinelli get me out of the way.” Gammarelli’s family enterprise, located behind the Pantheon, has provided Popes with their garments ince 1792. But Benedikt, who stands at 1.7 meters, has broken with that tradition.
He has been Mancinelli’s faithful customer for over 20 years. While he was cardinal, he would purchase three of each item of clothing that he ordered – 2 in his usual size and a third one, half a size larger, presumably to be worn for holiday feasting.
Gammarelli, of course, famously prepared the garments for the next Pope before the Conclave - in large, medium, and small sizes, whoever it was going to be. Whether he wanted it or not, Benedict had to wear one of Gammarelli’s cassocks for his first appearance as Pope. But he has now decided to continue with Mancinelli and has given him a long list of orders: cassocks for daily wear and for feast days, shoes, socks, ritual garments, coats, etc.
A tailor needs 4.5 meters of material for one cassock. In winter, this is made of fine wool, in summer of cotton. Each cassock takes the seamstresses 20 hours to finish.
Good grief -- can't we all just get along?
I'm off to watch Game Three. Go ChiSox.