Martin Greenfield survived by his wits at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Now the renowned tailor lives on his reputation as the suitmaker for several presidents. That includes the current one -- perhaps.
There's a bit of a mystery there, reports the Washington Post. Greenfield and his two sons visited the White House twice within a year recently and White House logs indicate the first family of gray flannel had an appointment in President Obama's residence, the Post said. But neither the administration nor Greenfield would confirm that he suits up the commander in chief.
"I'm still not going to comment on that," his son, Jay Greenfield, told The Huffington Post from the family's shop in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "It's just our policy that the right person should comment first."
The younger Greenfield says his dad doesn't need the endorsement anyway. "He likes to talk to people but it's not about the publicity," he said to HuffPost.
Martin Greenfield, now 84, has dressed presidents Eisenhower (whom he met during his liberation from the death camp), Johnson, Ford and Clinton, according to the Brooklyn Eagle. He had an appointment with George W. Bush that was canceled -- on the day of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He also has taken a tape measure to Paul Newman, the Rat Pack, Patrick Ewing and Colin Powell.
“He simply does outstanding work,” another famous client, New York Mayor Bloomberg told the New York Times.
But Greenfield's greatest work might have been stitching together an existence during the Holocaust. According to the Times, he was transported to Auschwitz at age 14. While washing his captors' clothes in the camp’s alteration shop, he accidentally tore an SS officer’s shirt. The mistake cost him a beating but gave him an idea. He sewed the shirt back together and began wearing it instead of his prison uniform. His new attire won him respect from both the guards and fellow inmates, he told the paper.
Greenfield immigrated to the United States in 1947. He got a job at GGG Clothing in East Williamsburg and climbed the ranks from stitcher to fitter to eventually buying the business in 1977 and naming it after himself, the Post wrote. These days his custom-made suits range in price from $1,800 to $2,700 for presidents and citizens alike.
"Fashion comes and goes," Greenfield told The Daily. "Style is constant.