The worlds of fashion and film have been winking at each other more and more in the past few years. Every designer from Prada to Kate Spade to Gareth Pugh has debuted an artsy short film to sell a collection, handbag or limited-edition perfume. Last spring, Miu Miu kicked off a series of shorts directed by women with a moody piece by Hollywood film heiress Zoe Cassavetes. But it’s the venerable house of Gucci — turning a mature yet spirited 90 this year — that has stepped up as the premiere stumper for celluloid.
At the upcoming Venice Film Festival, Gucci will fete females with a new award honoring Women in Cinema. The finalists are refreshingly diverse, with up and coming American actress Jessica Chastain (“The Tree of Life”) vying against Italian screenwriter Federica Pontremoli (“The White Space”) — it’s a gracious nod to the less glamorous behind-the-scenes business of film to include a producer and costume designer among nominees. Gucci also supports documentaries by offering a finishing fund for works in progress with the Tribeca Film Institute.
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But Gucci’s major dedication to film — restoration and preservation — shows that the design house is truly acting its age. In the past five years, Gucci has donated more than $1.7 million to Martin Scorsese’s non-profit passion project the Film Foundation. Its most recent overhauls include a digital facelift for Luchino Visconti’s 1963 “The Leopard” and Federico Fellini’s 1960 “La Dolce Vita.” Both movies feature standout costumes, but it’s Anita Ekberg’s famous black dress from the fountain scene of Fellini’s romp that launched a slew of copycats.
In fact, the courtship of fashion and film is much like the marriage of two gorgeous superstars. Designers fawn over lush films, which in turn, showcase stunning clothes. Gucci designer Frida Giannini, who based her last men’s collection on the chic ’70s look of “The Way We Were,” isn’t the only fashion maven to name-check film as inspiration. Marc Jacobs has referenced Bernardo Bertolucci as an influence and the Mulleavy sisters, behind the avant-garde Rodarte label, based one of their runway collections on obscure Japanese horror films.
One film that Gucci definitely won’t be touting is the much-talked-about biopic of Patrizia Reggiani that Ridley Scott has been threatening to make since 2007. It’s been bandied about that Angelina Jolie could play the femme fatale, who ordered the killing of her ex-husband, fashion titan Maurizio Gucci.
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