“When when they (the wardrobe team) come in, I switch the phone off. I don’t don’t answer the phone, if people come through the door, I tell them come back.” – Leonard Logsdail.

Click to watch our interview with Leonard Logsdail on YouTube

On the show

I talk to New York Bespoke tailor Leonard Logsdail, Nick Guzan from Bamf Style and Ken Stauffer from Oceansographer about the 2019 classic The Irishman. We take a look at the key style elements and discuss the suits that Leonard tailored especially for the principle actors. The podcast is available to listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify or in the player below. Some research and moments of the podcast are transcribed below.

Leonard how did you get enlisted for The Irishman?

Well, I’ve worked several times with Sandy Powell and David Davidson. They contacted me and said ‘would I make make the clothes for it‘ simple as that. Sandy and I have worked two or three times previously on The Wolf of Wall Street Wolf , Shutter Island, and another I can’t remember.

Was this movie a challenge to show the changes in fashion through the decades?

Not necessarily. It’s just a matter of moving a seam here or there. Widening the lapel or lowering a gorge, widening the shoulders etc. Some of the trousers were kind of interesting. We had the very, very high rise trousers and the low inside leg on some of them. I have a list of movie suits that I’ve made the patterns for. for Al Pacino, Robert De Niro. It’s kind of my show off thing when people come see me. I’m going to start charge people for looking at them though (laughs). I’ve got three or four different eras for Pacino. And I cut different patterns for each one. Because I didn’t just want to mark it on the pattern because, you know, that’s open to mistakes.

The Irishman cast promo shot

Dream team back together

Are you really strict to that the time period you’re making for? Or do you alter the pattern a little bit to better fit the human being?

No, we tried to keep to the era. I mean, Sandy is meticulous when we did The Wolf of Wall Street, we were widening the shoulders by 1/8 of an inch when we went from one decade into the next within a year or two apart. And so she’s very strict. And she says Martin Scorsese is as well. Scorsese apparently picks everything up. So she says we can’t cheat. We can’t do this, we can’t do that, because he will see it and then it reverberates down to everybody. We obviously fit the balance and everything for that particular actor, we really try and work very hard to keep to the era in which the movie is being shot.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Peter Brooker (@fromtailorswithlove)

Were there any key sartorial moments in the film that you had to pull out all the stops for?

There wasn’t necessarily a particular sartorial element. It was difficult to find the fabrics. I went to California two or three times to fit Al Pacino. In between that, Sandy and I would go to these warehouses full of clothes to try and find clothes that might fit for some of these actors and some of the others in the era. What was difficult was finding things that had a type of a sheen to it. We ended up with three or four different fabrics that were polyester for Al Pacino. I mean, it makes you cringe as you’re cutting them out. It felt so bad, but it was of the era and it had the look.

I did a lot of alterations for particularly for De Niro for that movie. I ripped these things apart. It wasn’t just altering. I took shoulders out, collars off, sleeves off, then put the whole thing together in order to keep the style but to make it to fit De Niro.

There was only one suit for Ray Romano and that was the wedding suit. It was a bright blue with a black velvet collar. All the groomsmen had similar suits. I made his (Ray Romano) and the grooms’ ones were all made at a cheaper factory.

The Irishman special ring

If you wear the ring you’re in the club

What was Ray Romano like in real life?

He was a funny guy Ray Romano. They flew me out to Los Angeles to do a fitting there for him. He’s just very laid back and he’s throwing jokes out or things off hand. That’s what the guys like in real life. It was hilarious. I was standing there for like 45 minutes working with him. Because it was one joke or one story after another. It’s not jokes for comics. It’s more they manipulate a story so that it sounds funny. He was very good at it.

The Irishman Ray Romano

Ray Romano wearing blue polyester

And did you go down on set?

Now I saw them. Some came up here. Most of the time I went to the costume department, which was somewhere in Queens, I believe. And other than that, I went out to Los Angeles a number of times.

What kind of research for The Irishman did you do going into this?

I didn’t do any research for The Irishman. The costume designers really articulated what they wanted the suits to look like. Then it’s up to me to create this image that everybody wants. When when they come in, I switch the phone off. I don’t don’t answer the phone, if people come through the door, I tell them come back. I have to concentrate 100% because often I get one chance. Yesterday I took an order for four suits for a new movie on Saturday, that I have to have completed without fittings for an actor I haven’t seen and I haven’t measured in three weeks time. I really have to work hard to make sure I get the styling there and then. I have to try and interpret the measurements that some guy took in France. So it’s not always cut and dry.

Are you working off of costume department illustrations?

Sometimes illustrations and sometimes photographs. They bring the actual photographs of the person that they’re trying to be portrayed in the movie?

Because Jimmy Hoffa, obviously there’s a lot of real photos of him and Frank Sharon’s Granddaughter, she provided some personal photos. Did you have many of those to work off of for these costumes?

Yes we did. In fact, I may even still have it down there (points off camera somewhere in his studio). I call it the Bible. They bring it in and you open it up, and it has the look that you’re trying to portray with the actor. Plus the fabric and the day that it works. So that’s my Bible. I know what fabric what actor and the day that they need to be on set to work.

I think one of the one of the more buttoned up scenes is the dinner scene. Did you make any of the suits for the principal actors in that scene?

Well, I have to be honest, I don’t remember that scene you probably watched quite recently, to jog your mind. If you tell me the actors, I’ll tell you, but Pete you know the actors that I’ve made clothes for. So if it’s one of those, there is a good chance I worked on them or made them for them.

De Niro’s suit in that scene, I want to say that it was black, but it might have just been the colouring because it was it was black with a pattern on it. You know with the peak lapels. Even the cuffs had an irregularly shaped turn-back. It’s a fascinating suit. I love all the detail to it. I think it’s one of the more more complex suits that he wears in the movie. It looked like it had a pink pinstripe running down it.

I don’t think it was pink. I did make something with a fancy stripe, but it wasn’t pink. But if you want it to be pink, Peter it was.

The Irishman Pesci & De Niro

Those trousers on Pesci are just perfect

Was this quite a hard film for you Leonard? There must have been a lot of suits that you had to make.

It was a very, very hard movie. But it was really harder for Christopher and Sandy. Because when you would go to the to the costume department, I would stand on a balcony and look down, you know, 50, 100, 200, 500 suits. I don’t know how many. And each one would be fitted on tried, tagged for the actor for the scene that they’re in, on the day that it works. Christopher often said, and has said several times since then, they would never have been able to do the movie, if it wasn’t for the fact that I was so proficient at my job, because there was so many moving parts.

Did you just deliver them and then they use them however they use them or were some sent back and had to make very quick alterations?

Sometimes we did alterations. Because sometimes when the actors are actually in a movie, their weights can fluctuate a little bit. DiCaprio will drop, 15 pounds during the course of a movie. Others may put it on. So there’s a little bit of stress. Also, human error can can creep in when you’re making something. You may make the waist of the trousers a little bit too big, a little bit too small. So we would fix those for them. There’s a lot of toing and froing and they send it back.

click to buy The Irishman poster on Amazon

Are you never asked to actually go to the set?

No, I never went to set not at this. I’ve been to a lot of sets. But this movie I did not go on.

Did you go to the screening for The Irishman Leonard?

No, I had been to one screening and that was for The Good Shepherd. I’m way down on the pecking order. The costume department is way down the bottom. And I’ve said several times I think that the costume department people are under appreciated. Because it’s the subtleties of what they put together for the movie that create the whole thing.

When the productions come to town like something like the Irishman do, you then have to enlist a lot of other helpers or tailors? Or do you deal with it?

No I’ve got I’ve got a team here who are good at what they can do. And if I brought somebody in untested, it will be a complete disaster. So we either make it here, or I send it away to a cut-making trim house I work very closely with.

Buy the film

The Irishman is Available to buy on Blu Ray now. Although I can’t recommend the book enough. I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt.

Other articles & Research

A Story of Pajamas: How Nightwear Became Essential to The Irishman – Vulture

The Irishman: De Niro’s Golden Suit – Bamf Style

Oscar nominated