Pope's Tailor Prepares for New Customer

A steady flow of men in white collars today headed down a narrow shopping street of Italian designers to one particular modest storefront -- Gamarelli's.

Neighborhood competitors may have more floor space and more flamboyant window displays. But Gamarelli's has always had the top client -- nearly every pope of the last century.

For a cardinal called to Rome or a parish priest just passing through, a visit to Gamarelli's is a must. A full cardinal's regalia can cost thousands of dollars.

The vestment makers have clothed the clergy since 1798 and outfitted Pope John Paul II throughout his 26-year tenure.

Each time a new pope is elected, he traditionally appears within the hour on the balcony overseeing St. Peter's Square, wearing the papal robes.

Many Contenders, Many Vestments

But until the new leader is chosen, no one knows what clothing size will be required. So as Fillip Gamarelli, who now runs the family business, explained -- they make several versions.

"What is to be done is to make three complete sets for the vestments of the new holy father ... in different sizes," he said.

To keep it simple, they make only small, medium, large variations.

Gamarelli says they will start working on the robes soon and display them in the store's shop window when complete. But today, the display features a simple, eloquent memorial to a deceased pope by the man who dressed him.

That understated style is typical Gamarelli.

ABC News' John Donvan filed this report for "World News Tonight."

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