Sunday, March 22, 2009

Giacomo Trabalza and Hollywood tailors

Giacomo Trabalza, a tailoring fixture in Los Angeles, passed away last week. I was traveling last week and learned about it in this Styleforum thread. This leaves only a handful of old school bench tailors who can legitimately be called "Hollywood" tailors.

I am not sure whether his shop will continue on in some form. When I spoke with Trabalza in 2006 he did not have an apprentice or working tailor in place to succeed him.

We've seen the passing of Hollywood tailors like Anthony Gasbarri, Carmen LaMola (described by Chicago tailor Chris Despos in this Styleforum post) and Eddie Schmidt of Schmidt & Galuppo.

However, in the next few years I think there is a real opportunity for a new generation of tailors to set up shop in LA. Given the opportunity, it just might be the right time for an enterprising tailor to fill in the gap.

Additional links
- Sleevehead posts on Trabalza

4 comments:

Mary said...

Could anyone give me any information on Earl Benham? He was a very upscale New York tailor whose clientele included many celebrities from silent movie days to 1970's.

Benham's earlier career was as a George M. Cohan player, minstrel and dialect songwriter. After costuming a few Broadway shows, he established himself as a tailor in the early 1920s.

Benham died at age 89, 1976, Long Island. The Earl Benham Co. was in existence at least into the 1980s, and for some time located at 18 East 53rd Street, NY.

The Benhams wintered here in Florida for many years, and figured in the building of this town. I'd very much like to fill in more of their background.

Thank you so much, Mary O'Benar, New Port Richey Fl

sleevehead said...

Mary - Great question, I did a quick search and came up with some interesting tidbits which I'll write up soon. Hopefully others will contribute as well.

Mary said...

looking forward to whatever you can find, thanks for giving me some hope on this research. Been unraveling a local history topic for several years, and finally figured out it was Benham at the center of this town's past, but still have just bits and pieces on him.
I have seen a couple invoices and can tell you that a tuxedo from him at the height of the depression still cost $1000! So it felt rather insulting to his memory when I bought one of his ties off ebay for a dollar.
I've been in touch with his niece and it'll be great to have more info for her. Her main memory of him is "Uncle Earl always smelled nice". no doubt!

Richard Bock said...

Hello!

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a fellow by the name of John Tudor (not his real name) owned Earl Benham & Co. He was Romanian.

I still have an overcoat which I designed and he
made as well as a three piece suit which is well worn. In 1985, he made a coat for my wife which I also designed.

He was .... the very best tailor.

Does anyone know if he is still in the business?

Richard Bock
Abiquiu, New Mexico

email: richardbock@newmexico.com