When an individual passes away it’s only natural for us to want to know the ” Who, When, Where and Why’s”, but often this supersedes the “What”. What did this person do and what did they offer society? It is through a person’s works and accomplishments that dictates our memories and the history books, and this is why it’s important to recognize the “What”. As the news ripples throughout the world of Michele Savoia death, let’s take a moment to remember an individual who was respected for his sense of fashion.
Savoia grew up with a grandfather and father who were “sharp dressers,” he adoringly recalls, much in the vein of the glamorous movie stars whose black and white films play on repeat in his office 24/7. In the ’60s as a kid, Savoia remembers his maternal grandfather, who was a master tailor, wearing a three-piece suit even if it was a hundred degrees outside and watching his father from beginning to end while getting dressed for his job as a night club manager. Among the indelible impressions left upon him were the pressed shirts, pinky ring, and gesture of his dad greasing his hair back in the mirror into a dip before watching him walk down the front steps to his car through the window of their six-family house (the kind that literally housed the entire extended clan). So impassioned by the sartorial high standards of the male role models in his life, Savoia never went to school in sneakers and won the best dressed award every year at school. Today, to say he is a tailor is an understatement. Savoia eats, sleeps, lives and breathes his work of making and designing clothes for everyone from CEOs and fashionistas to Broadway costumes, with an intensity and perfectionism that speaks volumes to the value of a strong heritage.
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7 Interesting Facts about Michele Savoia
1.) He lied to land his first gig!
“When I was 13, I was the manager of a menswear shop that was the go-to place in the neighborhood. I lied to get hired. Celebrities and gangsters went there. Pimps shopped there. Every Cuban drug dealer imaginable stopped in. They’d roll up in their hot rod cars with their women and their wads of cash. All the men in the area dressed from GQ. Back then, their editorials were not just arty photos showing off the photographer. It was about the clothes. Stores would put GQ spreads in their window, and customers would come in and buy that exact look.” – Michele Savoia
Photo Courtesy of: Stylelikeu.com
2.) Michele Savoia actually wanted to be a cartoonist and run off to Disneyland. From the interview “Suiting Up with Michele Savoia” with Fashionweekdaily.com, Savoia stated, “I actually wanted to be a cartoonist and run off to Disneyland. Do you remember the artist contests where you’d have to draw Bambi or some guy flipping a coin in the back of TV Guide? I won my first submission, but you could only win once so I started to use friends’ names and addresses to submit. I kept winning for two years! Everyone on the block had an easel by the end of it.”
3.) He was chosen to design Ricky Martin’s wardrobe for the revival of the Broadway show “Evita” and he continued his work on The Great White Way designing the costumes for Nora Ephron‘s posthumous play, “Lucky Guy,” where he suited up Tom Hanks for his performance as Mike McAlary.
4.) Savoia was born in Hoboken, N.J. from an Italian family that had immigrated to the States in 1933. He claimed he got his style and his skills from his father and grandfather.
5.) He graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in the 1970’s, where he trained under designer Bill Kaiserman, then launched the House of Savoia in 1984.
6.) Michele Savoia dressed and designed for stars such as Robert DeNiro, Chris Noth, Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke and Daymond John.
7.) Surprise! Savoia wasn’t a fan of present day fashion.
“A lot of designers are putting out looks that have the message that it’s okay not to dress anymore. There are very few restaurants in New York with a strict dress code. You don’t need a jacket to get into 21 Club anymore. New York is scared to enforce stylish dress nowadays. Grown men with bellies want to fit into these skinny pants. That’s not menswear. The fifties and sixties are fine—Sinatra, Dean Martin, boom, boom, boom. But that’s as skinny and as low as a pant should be. I don’t like the hipster look. A hipster is a kid who goes into a vintage store, buys a blazer two sizes too small, and doesn’t even know that it’s not a men’s blazer.” – Michele Savoia