MILAN — “E’ pronto!’” is a popular Italian expression which in English translates to “Dinner is served!”
No news if it’s the average mom calling her family around the table, but the wow effect is guaranteed when it’s Sophia Loren uttering the phrase.
The Italian movie icon is the guest star of a short film that Italian streetwear label GCDS developed with pasta maker Barilla and which made its debut during an exclusive dinner in Milan on Wednesday night.
In an industry populated by plenty of collaborations, the partnership between the brand founded by brothers Giuliano and Giordano Calza in 2015, known for its unapologetic, sometimes a bit outrageous collections, and a traditional food company like Barilla appears particularly unexpected.
“When the two GCDS brothers arrived at our headquarters in Parma, their energy, charismatic attitude and desire to face new challenges immediately captured our attention. In them, we see many of our peculiarities, including the constant need to renovate ourselves, our attention to quality and details, as well as our passion for what is beautiful,” read a statement released by Barilla.
After teaming last February on a capsule collection of sweatshirts, beanies and socks, peppered by the Barilla logo, GCDS has also created a customized version of the world-famous Barilla Spaghetti N5 box, wherein the classic blue tone was replaced with hot pink. The limited-edition pasta pack will be available for two weeks in 90 Esselunga supermarkets across Italy.
A message of inclusivity with a diverse cast is embedded in the short movie, which was filmed at the Hollywood Studios by director Nadia Lee Cohen.
Infused with the retro Sixties’ atmosphere of Douglas Sirk and Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, the film is populated by a range of characters interpreted by a high-profile cast, including Anna Cleveland, Lindsey Wixon, Nikita Dragun and Violet Chachki, captured in different scenes connected to each other.
Opening with a close-up of people walking on a sidewalk running behind a brick wall, the lens moves to the train of an imaginative subway, which is bringing Cleveland from Hollywood to Naples. Then, the set changes into a retro hair salon where Chachki gets a phone call. The same happens to Wixon while performing in a Jazz Club, while Aweng Chuol and Hana Cross are captured driving on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais.
All the characters are directed to a family reunion, where the head of the clan, Loren, who is also the author of personal cookbooks, serves spaghetti with tomato and basil for dinner.
“We had a lot of fun on the set and I hope this message is that of all young Italian creative talents,” said the Oscar-winning actress, who during the latest edition of the Green Carpet Italian Fashion Awards in September handed the GCFA Legacy Award prize to Valentino Garavani.
“The first time I visited the Barilla headquarters in Parma, I had the feeling I was in an historic archive. Among the pages of a book, I found a picture of her on the set of an old movie,” said GCDS creative director Giuliano Calza, explaining the reason why he wanted Loren in the short movie. “Then there is my personal story…Naples [Calza’s hometown] and a restaurant in Shanghai, called ‘Sofia.’ For me, Sophia represents the quintessence of being Italian. When with Nadia we started thinking about the short movie, the name Sophia kept coming up in my mind, like it was my instinct pushing me to her and to what she represents in the world.”
Traditionally connected to a more classic and conservative image, this project developed with GCDS reveals Barilla’s intention to attract a new, younger audience. In its long history, dating back to 1877, Barilla, which is also one of the main sponsors of 15-year-old tennis champion Coco Gauff, has never collaborated with a fashion brand before.
GCDS, which has expanded its beauty offering with the introduction of nail lacquers, sells its collections to 400 stores in the world, along with operating a flagship in Milan and mono-brand stores in London and Hong Kong.