Even before it became, House of gucci, a Ridley Scott production starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, the Gucci family history it was part of Hollywood.
The founder of the brand, the flamboyant Guccio gucci, built his empire in Florence with luggage inspired by a period working at the Savoy Hotel in London as a bellboy. Raised several children, who competed throughout adulthood with a ferocity that would surprise in the writers room of Succession.
But it was one of the Gucci grandchildren, the gentle Maurizio, who somehow ended up in the eye of this dynastic storm. He fell in love with a beautiful, yet ostentatious, Elizabeth Taylor-like woman named Patrizia reggiani, who was conveniently on a mission to marry Italian royalty. With the support of his father, Maurizio began to plan his own domain of the company, surpassing even the ambitions of his uncle Aldo, the bravado de facto heir to the company, who helped get Gucci into the uniform of Wall Street and was eventually jailed for tax evasion in the United States.
Maurizio had plans to make Gucci the most modern luxury company in the world. But instead, his conspiracy ended with the loss of the entire company, and several of the figures Maurizio installed, along with the new Gucci owners, took over the business and made it one of the most successful fashion comeback stories of the 1990s.
And then one morning A few years later, when Maurizio walked into his office after Gucci, was murdered in broad daylight. And it seemed that Patrizia, at that time your ex wife, hired the hit man that did it.
Of course it would be an amazing movie and indeed it quickly became a great book. “I think this was a story where life is stranger than fiction,” he said. Sara Gay Forden, whose 2001 book, The House of Gucci, is the basis of the film, in a recent telephone interview. “And I often thought that if he had tried to write a novel and put all these elements in, no one would have found it credible.”
Your coverage in WWD on the problematic change of Gucci in the 1980s, under Maurizio, was the genesis of the project. “The story was so sad. The company was going under, Maurizio was expelled and then he was assassinated. And it was this story of anguish and tragedy, ”he said. “But it wasn’t untiland Tom Ford took off, and had his wild collection in 1995, and then the company returned with vengeance”Who saw history as a book. “It was like this going up and down, and back up.”
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The House of Gucci covers a time before luxury conglomerates, when many fashion companies were still family businesses. Forden compares the Gucci family to the Rockefellers or the Kennedys, one of those clans that “have that mix of family and business mystique.” Gucci was not yet part of PPR, which was renamed Kering in 2013 and now includes Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta.
In fact, what Maurizio was trying to do with Gucci (installing a designer that would allow Gucci to compete with Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace, but with the high price and exclusivity of Hermès) is, in essence, lor that would eventually happen once he was removed. Domenico De Sole, who joined Gucci in the 1980s, took the reins after Maurizio and oversaw Gucci’s resurgence as a sex-driven brand with huge red carpet appeal under Tom Ford.
The forden book focuses for the most part on the unsuccessful restructuring attempt and eventual departure of Maurizio; You will spend much of the more than 300 pages wondering if Lady Gaga will have enough to do in the big screen adaptation. But when Reggiani appears, she dominates. Although dedicated to “her Mau”, as she calls Maurizio, she is an almost destructively glamorous presence. Forden corresponded with Reggiani while in prison, where he wrote about “how he first met his Mau and how he loved him, but also thought he was weak,” says Forden.
After being released in 2014, she was occasionally seen shopping in Milan with a parrot on her shoulder. “I think I am a very strong person because I survived all these years in captivity,” he told The Guardian in 2016 about his time in jail.
Fashion companies, always protective of their image, tend to be cautious With projects like Forden’s: one can count on one hand the number of fashion projects carried out with the participation of their subjects. (There was a lot of noise about whether Donatella Versace endorsed American Crime Story Ryan Murphy’s 2018, centered on the murder of his brother, for example. The family finally said shortly before the show’s launch that it was unauthorized and should therefore be considered a work of fiction, although Donatella gave her friend Penelope Cruz her blessing to play it.)
Gucci kept what Forden called “a respectful distance” of the project. While interviewing former employees, he explained, the brand was eager to overcome the scandals and tragedy that had defined the company in the 1980s and early 1990s. The book, plus the film adaptation opportunities that immediately followed, sparked its I’m suspicious, but it ultimately provided a means for the brand to overcome its difficult history. He noted that he once saw a stack of books in Gucci’s press office.
Forden describes the family’s reaction to the book as “mixed, but honest.”
“I think they appreciated the context and the story,” He said. “You know, how his family came to create this brand, which is now in its third rebirth in a hundred years.”
(Reggiani also seems to be upset. Gaga has not met her: “The producers were well aware of not wanting to endorse or support the terrible crime that Patrizia committed,” a source told the Mirror in March, which Reggiani perceived. like a slight. “It’s a matter of common sense and respect,” he said in early March.)
But the house of Gucci, the brand itself, is offering something more akin to cooperation.. Earlier this year, CEO Marco Bizarri told WWD that the company had made its files available to production; In a statement, the brand told GQ that “Gucci is collaborating with MGM and Scott Free Productions by providing access to the house’s historical archive for wardrobe and accessories and allowing the filming of a scene at its Rome flagship store, Via Condotti. ”
Salma Hayek, who is married to the CEO of Kering, Francois-Henri Pinault since 2009, also stars in the movie as a clairvoyant friend of Reggiani, suggesting a corporate approval most open part of the film. After all, it is the ctwentieth anniversary of the brand this year. Wouldn’t a themed collection from the 1980s, modeled by Lady Gaga, be a nice note of celebration?
Conveniently, the film, which began production in late February, is scheduled to leave in November 2021, with enough time to commemorate that anniversary. And production is moving forward, if the pace at which Lady Gaga appears to change outfits is any indication, indeed, it was announced that filming concluded this week. (As we learned from A Star Is Born, Gaga cleverly builds a narrative around her films.)
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The family was less pleased when it became clear that the book was juicy cinematic material. Shortly after Forden published the book, Martin Scorsese expressed interest in making an adaptation, and the family immediately raised objections, the New York Post reported at the time. More recently, the family spoke out against Scott’s production and the paparazzi images flooding the internet. “We are really disappointed”, Patrizia Gucci, Maurizio’s second cousin, told the AP last month. “I speak on behalf of the family. They are stealing a family’s identity for profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system “.
More specifically, the family seems concerned about the film’s focus on Reggiani, but also about the casting choices. “My grandfather was a very handsome man, like all the Guccis, and very tall, with blue eyes and very elegant,” Patrizia Gucci told the AP. “He is being played by Al Pacino, who is no longer very tall, and this photo shows him fat, short, with sideburns, very ugly. Embarrassing, because it looks nothing like him. “
In March, a Italian photographer who sold several images of the making of the film told me by email that while film crews often try to keep away to the paparazzi, this team has not been “particularly ‘severe'” with the presence of photographers. In addition, he explained that Scott has filmed on locations in various areas of Rome, such as Piazza di Spagna and Via Condotti, which are almost impossible to completely close to the public.
The photographer said the images are not priced much higher than usual, “but hope is the last to die,” adding: “The interest of this set is undoubtedly the great cast, Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Al Pacino….“ In other words, the main stars of American cinema, one of the largest exports of our country. Like Gucci, the movie knows exactly what it is selling.
* This article was originally published in the US edition of GQ.
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