LOS ANGELES — As the creative director of Charles David and Guess Footwear, Nathalie Marciano has been hoofing around Hollywood for years. But now she’s a player. Her production company, 26 Films, has just wrapped its first feature, the romantic comedy “Something Borrowed,” starring Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney. “It’s a little ‘Pretty Woman,’ a little ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and a lot of fashion,” she says, occasionally sipping a mug of tea and patting her cat, Kiwi, in her Beverly Hills home.
Marciano developed the script with screenwriter Dana Fox for two years, then promptly cast Messing as the lead, an airline exec who hires a handsome escort to accompany her to her brother’s wedding in order to show up an ex. “I knew there was no one who could do this like Debra, and she also loved the script, so we got lucky,” says Marciano.
But not everything has been so easy in Hollywood. “I feel like a lot of people are waiting to see if I can do it,” she says. “I understand that being a shoe designer and a wife of, it’s a challenge.”
Marciano met her husband, Maurice, 17 years ago at her own brother’s wedding in Spain. They married two years later, but she’s shied away from playing the role of celebrity wife. “I have stayed out of the spotlight because it’s not something I choose for myself,” she says. “My husband’s family has gotten a lot of attention because of their success, but I don’t feel as though they seek it out, either. People are drawn to their story because it’s the American dream. It’s actually what inspired me to try movies, which I’ve wanted to make since I was 13.”
Although she took a few film classes in her native Montreal, Marciano initially chose the family shoe business over Hollywood, moving to California in 1987 to start Charles David with her father, Charles Malka, and his uncle, David. When she married Marciano, she began working in a new family business, Guess, which Maurice runs with his brother, Paul. She still conceptualizes the company’s print ads and approves designs. Still, the allure of film was too strong to resist, and last year, Marciano began devoting more time to 26 Films.
“Four years ago, there was a book that came out in France called ‘Stolen Lives.’ I knew when I read it that I wanted to make a movie,” she says. “I’m still trying to get the rights, and it will probably be one of those movies that takes 10 years to make.” In the meantime, she has another comedy, a thriller and a sci-fi film in the works, and is thinking of ways to promote “Something Borrowed” using her background in the family business.
“I’ve definitely brought fashion to the film,” she says. “Why not? There are a lot of people I know.”
In addition to her own shoe lines and Guess clothing, Vera Wang, Valentino, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Lacoste, Pringle of Scotland and Carolina Herrera loaned clothes to the wardrobe department. “Debra was very open to the fashion side of it,” Marciano notes. “You know, she’s like a fashion It Girl these days.”
Marciano herself is something of a clotheshorse, admitting she’s filled her closet this fall with Marni, Prada and Balenciaga. Of course, as a mother of three daughters, ages 13, 11 and 5, Marciano works a more casual look, mixing those designer finds with Guess and Joie jeans.
“If I didn’t have kids, I’d probably wear a suit to work, but that’s impossible when I have to take them to school, go to a meeting, and then go to their basketball games,” she says. “But funnily enough, my daughters all want to go into fashion.”