Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pavlo, my cousin...my tailor.

I come from a family of tailors on my Mothers side.

Mama and her family ended up in Paris after the Asia Minor catastrophe.

My uncles were all men’s tailors and my Father was totally transformed when he went to Paris to marry my mother.

He embarrassed the Frenchified Greeks when he turned up in his loud American outfits; they made him a complete new wardrobe.

The only way they could introduce him to the other Frenchy Greeks.

Mama ran the workshop and was a talented seamstress and tailor herself.

When we went to Greece for the first time in the early 60s, we visited relatives in Edipso on the island of Evia.

These were my Fathers relatives, fishermen stock and all, except one cousin, were fishermen.

Fishermen on one side, Pops folks,
 Tailors on the other side, Mom’s family.

 Nevertheless the fishermen side had one tailor, I wonder how that happened?

 Every Greek village at that time had at least one tailor; my cousin Pavlo was one of the tailors in Edipso.

I really felt that I should have a Greek suit made by my cousin, my first custom-made suit.

It seemed appropriate that it should be Greek and by Pavlo.

OK, it is not Saville row; it’s a shop on an unpaved street on a Greek island.  That’s Ok; I am from Coney Island after all.

I wanted the trousers low cut like my Levis, Pavlo agreed but insisted on pleats.

The jacket had wide lapels and shoulder pads…nothing Ivy League about that.

Pavlo said the suit needed a vest (a waistcoat, for you Brits) my first three- piece suit.

We were going to be travelling around Greece and he had three weeks to make it, no time for fittings.

We arrive and I try on the suit, it seemed everybody in the village came to the unveiling.

Jacket is great, wide lapels and big shoulders…I feel good in it.

Trousers fit great, low cut and pleats, it works.

They help me off with my jacket and I slip into the vest, they do not reach the top of my trousers, normally the trousers are a lot higher. My low cut trousers have screwed it all up.

It works OK if I lean forward. Pavlo wants to make the vest over; no time we have a plane from Athens in the morning the next day.

I put on all three pieces and sort of bend over and everybody starts spiting three times (it means you look great and the spitting prevents the evil eye)

I wore that suit many times…made me look very continental, Greek at least. In the Greek restaurants in Chicago in the 60s it was recognized as a Greek suit, an authentic Pavlo.

The photo is Jeannine and me in Chicago; we were expecting our first child. I am the one in Pavlo’s suit.

I miss that suit.


  1. It was a cool suit the first of many custom made suits that were to follow....London, Madrid, Milan even Mexico...You got the bug...But you'll never fit into Pavlo's ever again....Ha,Ha!

  2. .....and don't you look handsome in it!

  3. OK, so I can't fit into it...I still wish I had it though

  4. Great suit - plus I love that photo of you and mom!
    This story makes me laugh - haha! Very cool. Instead of your first custom made suit, it was also your first cousin-made suit!!

  5. Great story Greg. Great photo. I loved it. Well done, buddy.