According to Mark Twain (giant and wit of American literature): “Clothes make the man.” A Presbyterian, he noted: “Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
Throughout history, splendid Church robes have reflected great influence. The Gammarelli store in Rome has been clothing holders of high Catholic office splendidly for more than 200 years.
It dressed the retired Benedict XVI, and will outfit the next pope, in small, medium or large.
Lorenzo Gammarelli’s family business delivers so that whoever the cardinals elect in their conclave is dressed according to his new status.
He said: “There are three outfits. One of them is the white with red cape which the Holy Father will wear when he steps out on the balcony right after his election.”
Tailor of long experience Teresa Palombini said: “Each item will be folded and placed in a box according to its size, from the under garments to the head pieces, the shoes, all the accessories needed. Each outfit has its own box and whoever will be the next pope will get one, according to his size, as one is small, one medium and one large because we don’t know what size he will be.”
Everything is made by hand, including the button holes, and the main priest’s cassock alone is said to take around four metres out of a bolt of fine Italian fabric – but the Gammarellis don’t share their prices with the media.
White smoke from the Sistine Chapel signals that the throne is now spoken for, and that the last stitch must be in.