MILAN — Giorgio Armani’s hands-on approach is no secret in the industry, so letting a pool of talents work on a short film he produced without being involved in the details was a leap of faith for the designer. It turned out he enjoyed the experience and the final product — although he pointed out that he was personally engaged in the teaser film. This was screened ahead of the short film titled “A Jacket” at the Armani Theater on Saturday, following the designer’s namesake fall show.
The film, directed by celebrated Italian actor and director Michele Placido, was conceived for the first edition of Armani/Laboratorio, a new initiative to support the next generation with a workshop dedicated to film students that took place at the designer’s Silos space in Milan from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6. The competition was launched at the end of August last year and nine mentors selected student candidates and accompanied them through the process from theoretical lessons to shooting and editing the film.
Confessing an initial moment of hesitation, Armani said he “enjoyed providing these young talents with the tools for the future.” This was also the first time the Silos became the location of a shoot.
The fact that the film centered on the item of clothing that contributed to building his global fashion group certainly helped, said Armani, highlighting once again its importance. “The jacket emphasizes the body and also gives a sense of power,” he said — a point also made by the film. “It represents one of the fundamental elements of my aesthetics and transforming it into a narrative theme was undoubtedly a challenge. But I was surprised by the result, I liked it.”
Armani spoke of his relation with the movie industry and his interest in films over the years, which was key for accepting this project, “giving another perspective to it all — I’m not saying that I will become a producer or a director, but you never know,” he said with a smile. Armani has dressed countless actors on and off the red carpet and created the costumes for a wide range of movies, including “The Untouchables,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” ” The Social Network,” “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” to name a few.
Mentor and screenwriter Francesca Marciano said she selected the story as “the one that most related to Armani’s aesthetic while maintaining a narrative. The jacket epitomizes Armani’s creativity and goes deeper into the meaning of fashion rather than by merely celebrating it.”
The narrative unfolds through a series of flashbacks and switching between black and white and color images, fronted by two professional actors, Sara Serraiocco and Lorenzo Richelmy.
Other mentors include Alessandro Lai and Oscar winner Gabriella Pescucci; and cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, who won seven David di Donatello awards. Paki Meduri and Patrizio Marone held set designing and editing courses, and Maurizio Silvi and Aldo Signoretti gave makeup and hair styling classes.
Armani said he hoped this Laboratorio film would be the first of a series.
This project is also in line with Armani’s ongoing support of emerging talent in the fashion industry. For several seasons, Armani invited young designers to present their collections at his Teatro space in Milan. The latest was Chinese designer Xuzhi Chen in February, who followed Vivetta, Andrea Pompilio, Au Jour Le Jour and Miaoran, among others.