‘Lion’ queen’s got new pride

Taymor exhib merges film, fashion

ROME — After slaying Broadway with her eye-popping production of Disney’s “The Lion King,” director Julie Taymor will shift her focus to the catwalk with an extensive exhibition on the crossover between fashion and film that is being mounted for the upcoming Costume and Fashion Biennale in Florence.

The site of the exhibition, which opens in September, will be a cavernous, long-abandoned railway station originally built for Grand Duke Leopold in the 18th century.

Work is being specially commissioned from several young, avant-garde designers for the exhibit, inspired by a series of films and film-related themes chosen by Taymor.

The groundbreaking director’s principal collaborator on the project will be set designer Dante Ferretti, who landed two Oscar nominations this year for his art direction and costume design on Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun.”

Ferretti also will be designing sets for Taymor’s feature adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” The director told press in Florence she expects to start shooting the film in Rome in the coming months with Anthony Hopkins in the title role. Sources at Cinecitta confirm that negotiations are under way for studio space on the lot.

The Costume and Fashion Biennale, the first edition of which was held in 1996, aims to bring fashion into the museums and historic buildings of Florence, and includes several major exhibits and events throughout the city involving some of the best known Italian and international designers.

Taymor is no stranger to Florence. She previously scored a major success at the city’s opera and music festival, Maggio Musicale, in 1993, with her direction of “The Magic Flute” conducted by Zubin Mehta, for which she also designed the masks and costumes.

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