Filippo Sorcinelli, the rock tailor: 'I'll dress the Pope'

He made the clothes of the last two Popes. His vestments refer to medieval sacred art and aim for perfection in every detail. But he only wears black, as a reminder of when he was in danger of falling apart

  filippo-sorcinelli-sarto-papa-today-38 Filippo Sorcinelli, the rock tailor who dresses the Popes

«I have always been asked for a sobriety that I have experienced as a disguise. I agreed, only up to a certain point in my life ». Filippo Sorcinelli, the man who dressed the last two Popes, stops to give me the opportunity to observe him carefully. His head, completely shaved, is framed by a long beard, as black as what he wears. From his buttoned cuff you can guess a tangle of tattooed lines, which licks his right wrist. The motto of his atelier is: «Every dress by covering reveals». It is true for everyone and even more so for him.

Pope Francis all'Aquila greets in dialect: 'Jemo 'nnanzi' - video

Excuse me, but how do you become the Pope's tailors: there is a competition, you get recommended ... “A dear friend was to be ordained a priest and I offered to sew his chasuble. I am an organist graduate from the Vatican Conservatory, I did not have a specific training, yet I felt I had to do it. You will recover the clear and powerful visual language of the medieval church, and that first robe was a great success. Then Angelo Bagnasco, who at the time was the bishop of Pesaro, asked me for a miter, and realizing my passion convinced me to open a tailor's shop. One day, I was in Santarcangelo, where I make the garments, I received a phone call from the offices of the pontifical liturgical celebrations. On the other end of the phone Monsignor Marini: 'What are you waiting for to visit us? Soon, leave ”».

Dress up refined, enthusiastic customers and attentive to detail: but wasn't vanity a sin? 'It still is, but one must not be so coarse as to confuse it with the necessary search for beauty.'

Excuse me, but does he go with the yardstick and measure, who knows, the Pontiff's shoulder, or does he come to the shop? «But holy peace, no! The Pope has a staff of absolute efficiency. They have a book with all the measurements you need. I bring them the vestments, if any changes need to be made, they are returned to me with the appropriate information. They can go back and forth several times: but to see what I have accomplished on the Holy Father, I have to wait for his public release. It also happened that he didn't wear what I had made working night and day ».

Why didn't the Pope wear it? 'The Pontiff is certainly not accountable to me.'

The secrets of Castelgandolfo. The Pope invites you to the pontifical villas - guard

He dressed Benedict XVI and Pope Francis: did the vestments have different aesthetic figures? 'Of course. I wanted anyone, seeing Benedict, to immediately think 'The Pope is coming'. For Francesco, on the other hand, I was inspired by Giotto's simple and pure lines ».

I will be blasphemous: but in the end someone pays her? 'God forbid. Often, however, it is entities that want to make a gift to the Pontiff to settle the bill ».

A little while ago we were talking about the 'search for beauty' ... «The Church must do what it did with me, who was the son of the woman who cleaned the parish. Take by the hand, but to lead upwards. This cannot happen without the need for art, beauty and the liturgy being clear. Unfortunately there are many priests who have forgotten it. You see them on social networks, which organize karaoke, or in the gym with weights. Deadly mistake: it is the faithful who must go up, not the Church who must go down. Also, if I go to the house of the Lord, I want to meet a priest, not a guy with a twitching muscle and a trendy polo shirt. '

Pope Francis: “The resignation? I could, but this is not the day '- video

Have you ever had disagreements? 'All time. From the beginning. I grew up in Mondolfo, a small town in the Marche region. I was 17 when an art exhibition was organized in the streets of the town and I participated. On each riser of a marble staircase in the town hall I wrote the words of Pasolini's poem to a pope which ended with the verses “How well you could have done! And you didn't / there wasn't a greater sinner than you '. I illuminated the staircase with candles, while at the top, a stroboscopic light illuminated with its flashes a mannequin dressed as a Pontiff who was holding a child by the hand. Provocations, doubts, postponements: my life is made up of this ».

You're not exactly what the Pope's tailor is supposed to be. Did you pay a price for it? 'I paid dearly for it. In 2013, a sea of ​​anonymous letters were sent to newspapers and congregations. It was a poisonous text: it revealed that I was a member of Arcigay and somehow attacked my clients. I think it was a competitor. When I heard about the letter, I immediately called the Pope's master of ceremonies and Cardinal Bagnasco. So I left alone, for an island '.

However, he returned from the island. 'Different. I was what in the jargon was called a dandy Vatican. A common cliché in those years, reassuring: jacket, tie, cufflinks, rimless glasses. I went back and first threw everything away. I had decided not to dress up any more. To be what I was, with pride. I accepted my weaknesses, we all have them. Since then I have been wearing only black. And I tattooed my body with a web of jagged lines. Because I was a broken crystal ».

And then did he continue to work? 'Yup. The Church is meritocratic. But still today, every now and then someone, inviting me to a ceremony, still recommends sobriety to me ».

Did you welcome the Church’s openness to gays with relief? 'If there was an official document I would welcome it with joy, but there isn't. The Pope only said 'who am I to judge?', But then there was no follow-up. And then I can only wait, cultivate my faith and confess. Communion is denied to me, unless I practice chastity ”.

Have you ever had any expressions of interest from priests? 'You mean, not for my job but for my person?' It happens, but I make it clear that it is a mistake ».

Why do you also sign perfumes? «It is expression. I create a line linked to gay eroticism and one to my memories: the last one is called you are Petrus , is the perfume I smelled on Vatican dandies, when I was like them ».