Tuesday, July 05, 2016

A close friend of Martin and Jerry Lewis, Sy Devore costumed all of their movies....

Hey pallies, likes we thought we woulda likes to give more of a notable nod to the swank scriber of the perfect prose offered by our pallie Scotty in the last post, that bein' Mr. Michael Quintanilla.  In doin' a bit of research we discovered that Mr. Quintanilla  "is a feature writer for the San Antonio Express-News with a focus on fashion and its intersection with pop culture. Before joining the Express-News he was a feature and fashion writer for the Los Angeles Times where his beats included pop culture, Hollywood and fashion weeks in New York, Europe and L.A."

Likes it was while Michael was writin' for the LA Times that he scribed December 1, 2007  prose, "The Man Who Dressed the Rat Pack" shared by Scotty-o.

We thoughts you would deeply digs gettin' a look at Mr. Quintanilla himself and have reprinted his perfect prose as published in the LA Times.  If you clicks on the link of this Dino-gram, you will find it in it's original source.  Also, we have chosen to tag this particular post with a Dino-fact that we didn't know before..." A close friend of Martin and Jerry Lewis, Sy Devore costumed all of their movies...."  Likes how cool is it dudes to learn yet 'nother delightful Dino-fact!

We remain,

Yours in Dino,

Dino Martin Peters

The Man Who Dressed the Rat Pack

Sy Devore was known as the 'tailor to the stars' before his death in 1966 and was nearly as famous as the men he dressed.


A vintage poster of the Rat Pack--Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop--hangs at the Sy Devore store in Studio City. The debonair babe magnets are dressed in hip threads that made them the Mack Daddies of 1960s cool: sharkskin suits, skinny ties and tailored dress shirts.

To look at the guys, you'd think they were decked out in the spare contemporary silhouettes of Prada. The fabrics are fine, the fit immaculate, details noteworthy. Dino's collar is slightly higher on the neck, Sammy's trousers are pencil thin and Frank's lapels are exactly 21/4 inches wide--just the way each ordered their clothes from Devore.

Known as the "tailor to the stars" until his death in 1966, Devore was almost as famous in Hollywood as the men he dressed. But he made his biggest fashion impact with the martini-gulping, wisecracking, Hollywood-Palm Springs-Las Vegas-hopping Rat Pack. They came to Devore's on Vine Street near Sunset Boulevard, just around the corner from the Brown Derby restaurant, to shop as well as hang out.

Not much of the Rat Pack's style is seen in the new version of their 1960 heist caper "Ocean's Eleven," which opens today. Because the movie is set in today's Las Vegas, costumer Jeffrey Kurland gave George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and the other actors individual contemporary looks rather than copy the Rat Pack style in the original. Devore created many of the suits for that flick's costumer, Howard Shoup.

"Our movie is far more character-driven," says Kurland, a stage and film costumer for 23 years who has worked on 16 Woody Allen movies. "But from the original film, I saw lots of personal style in the Rat Pack guys," a look that captured the glamour and fantasy feel of Sin City. "And I wanted that feeling to come across with the clothing. We didn't want to put the guys in flip-flops and shorts at the crap table."

Instead, Kurland put Clooney in casual outfits such as three-button sport coats, open-collar shirts, no ties, Pitt in elegantly tapered suits and shirts that have a European look and Damon in preppy khakis and crew-neck pullovers.

Devore probably would have been pleased with Kurland's workmanship--all 300 garments in the movie were made the Devore way: hand-tailored. That included Andy Garcia's formal wear and stunning vests crafted from antique kimonos as well as Elliott Gould's '70s disco shirts, neck scarves and cheesy matching swim sets.

In his day, Devore and his staff custom tailored clothes for more than 100 films, according to Marti Devore, 53, his niece who operates the store now. Her father, Al Devore, a partner, ran it when Sy Devore died at age 57 of a heart attack. Sy was survived by his second wife, former actress Erika Peters and adopted daughter, Lisa, who was 12 when he died and isn't involved in the business today.

A close friend of Martin and Jerry Lewis, Sy Devore costumed all of their movies as well as many that starred Elvis, who would often shop off the rack at Devore's, taking 15 suits--size 42 regular--at a time. Ricky Nelson, taking his cues from his dad, Ozzie, also wore Devore clothes on and off screen.

In the 1960s, Devore opened a store in Fashion Square Mall in Sherman Oaks. He also opened one in Palm Springs and another in the now-defunct Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for the Rat Pack who were known to fly to Vegas on a whim with nothing but the clothes on their backs. In 1961 it was reported Devore grossed more than $1 million a year.

Three stores were closed in the '80s, leaving only one in the San Fernando Valley. Last year, the store moved to Studio City from Fashion Square Mall.

Flipping through pages of scrapbooks, Marti vividly recalls how at age 10, she and her older sister, Tawny, would pretend to be mannequins and goof around with the Rat Pack when they came to shop. "They'd come to the shop just to see their buddies," Marti says about the Rat Pack, who shopped in good company. Bob Hope, Milton Berle and Jimmy Durante were regulars, too. "They'd crack jokes, try out new material on each other, on the workers, even on customers."

Marti was always there because her father was Sy's bookkeeper. Al passed away at 63 in 1974 from complications from a triple heart bypass. Marti, then 27, took the helm. Today she runs the business with partners Danny Marsh, 43, and Leonard Freedman, 75, who worked with the Devore brothers.

She's not surprised that her uncle, born Seymour Devoretsky in Brooklyn to Russian immigrant parents, became a clothier. Her grandfather, David, was a tailor who had his own shop in the 1920s that was frequented by jazz musicians.


Danny G. said...

GREAT read, pallie! What a job he had! Man o man...you wouldn't have to pay me to hang out with THAT clinentele! Haha!!

BlueisCoool said...

A wonderful treasure chest of info DMP, thank you filling in the pics of this interesting story my friend!

Have a great week