The year 1980 marked a turning point for Giorgio Armani, when his soft tailored suits for Richard Gere in “American Gigolo” made history. It makes sense, then, that more than three decades later, the designer would dress Jessica Chastain in “A Most Violent Year,” set in New York in 1981.
The title refers to the statistics that point to that year as the most violent one in the history of the city. Bowing in U.S. cinemas on Dec. 31, the crime drama is directed by J.C. Chandor, and Chastain plays the role of Anna, the wife of Abel Morales, a Colombian immigrant played by Oscar Isaac. In the movie, the couple is seen trying to develop a heating-oil company against a backdrop of political and industry corruption.
This story first appeared in the December 3, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Armani, in collaboration with costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone, designed a range of Eighties-inspired, custom looks for Chastain. These include a wrap trench coat cinched at the waist with a bold graphic belt and chic sheath dresses, along with separates for the day. One evening look is a strapless gown paired with a bead-encrusted jacket. In the movie, Chastain also sports original Armani outfits from the period.
Armani described working with Chandor and Walicka-Maimone as a “high honor,” adding, “This wonderful film project had great appeal to me because it is set in a time frame when women’s clothing was being revolutionized. Minimalism was a shocking new concept. The power suit was just beginning to find its way into the wardrobes of the most confident women. Jessica Chastain is a very charming woman and I find that she always wears my clothes perfectly, with great, nonchalant ease.”
The actress has worn the designer’s gowns on several red carpets, including the Academy Awards last year.
“Giorgio Armani’s clothes combine a sense of style, class and power, which are all traits I wanted Jessica Chastain’s character to convey,” said Chandor. “With Kasia Walicka-Maimone at the helm and access to Armani’s amazing vintage archives, we had the perfect collaboration for bringing my vision of 1981 to life.”
“The script describes Anna, Jessica’s character, as a woman who came to great means and had natural great taste,” said Walicka-Maimone. “Jessica’s friendship with the Armani family opened a door to a great collaboration. We met with Jessica and the Armani team in Milan. It was fascinating to have access to the Armani archives from the Eighties. The Armani design team was very open-minded to create new combinations of pieces from the archives and timeless pieces from more recent collections. Our film team followed with an extensive search in the U.S. and Europe for vintage Giorgio Armani casual pieces.”
This is the latest film Armani has worked on, with past projects including everything from “The Wolf of Wall Street” to “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Ocean’s Thirteen.”
The premiere of “A Most Violent Year,” which will be sponsored by Armani, will
take place in New York on Sunday. The screening will be followed by an after party hosted by Chandor, Isaac and Chastain at Armani/Ristorante on Fifth Avenue.