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The racy lingerie and floor-sweeping gowns aren’t the only fashionable elements of Rob Marshall’s film musical extravaganza “Nine,” opening in limited release on Friday and nationwide on Christmas Day. Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana make a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo early on, as a pair of actors on break from playing priests in another film-within-the-film. Meta enough for you?
It’s actually not the first time the duo has taken to the big screen — in Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1995 “L’Uomo delle Stelle,” they made an appearance as Forties bus passengers.
“Domenico was a Sicilian guy, and I was a Milanese photographer,” recalls Gabbana. (According to IMDB, Dolce played a “peasant on bus.”) “At that time, we acted: I talked and Domenico, too.”
They don’t speak in “Nine,” but Gabbana found plenty to chat about with WWD, from religious gear to his nascent movie star dreams.
WWD: Congratulations on your cameo in “Nine.”
Stefano Gabbana: Thank you [laughs]. It’s really, really a cameo.
WWD: How long were you on set?
S.G.: The call time was eight o’clock in the morning, and we finished at four o’clock in the afternoon. The director explained everything to us; we talked about the movie. Then we take a little makeup and hair. We dressed up as priests, and we started to act. No, we don’t act, it’s acting, but you know….[In the scene] Daniel Day-Lewis walks from one studio to the other one. He walks in front of us, and I talk with Domenico and I drink the coffee.
WWD: It’s not too different from a fashion show: You spend so much time preparing and then it’s only 15 minutes long.
S.G.: Yes, it’s the same. We work, work, work a lot for just 15 minutes. The image for a movie: for five seconds, we repeat the same thing for three hours.
WWD: Has Fellini inspired any specific collections for you?
S.G.: He’s one of the most creative directors. We took inspiration for two fashion shows. One [fall 1996] was from “Le Notti di Cabiria.” It was the printed chiffon dresses with the cherries. And another [fall 1997], we took inspiration from “Satyricon” [and “Roma”]. We make a collection like a priest, all the girls in priest dress [laughs].
WWD: You often use religious iconography in your designs: What was it like to be dressed as priests?
S.G.: It was really strange for us, because we are Italian. “Nine” is about Fellini’s “8½.” The priest is a very bourgeois [figure] for Fellini. And us, we talk about religion in our collections and it’s a strange connection. But it was nice — it was a perfect cameo.
WWD: Do you have a film career in your future? Are you going to do more?
S.G.: Many people ask us to do little parts in movies, and it depends on the time. Domenico is not so comfortable because he’s really shy, but I love it. My dream when I was young was to become a movie actor. I never studied acting, but I did a TV program five years ago. I was a guest many times on TV, and I have my program on the radio [for the popular Radio DJ Italia]. And I do many advertisements on TV: for cars, for ice cream [Cornetto Algida]. The last three years, I’ve made three commercials for [car company] Lancia.
WWD: So you already have a dual career.
S.G.: No, no. My career is fashion designer. If you want to make something really well, you need to spend a lot of time. I don’t have a lot of time to make movies or act. I would love [to], but it depends. Maybe a famous movie director [will] offer me a really big part. You never know.