LA JOLIE VITA
Byline: Merle Ginsberg
LOS ANGELES — Angelina Jolie has always been a one-man woman but in the case of her new movie “Life or Something Like It,” she is definitely a two-timer. Don’t freak out, Billy Bob — those two guys are Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who created an entire wardrobe for Jolie’s ambitious newscaster character, Lanie Kerrigan, in the romantic comedy that opens Friday.
“We met Angelina a year ago when she wore our white tuxedo to the Oscars — and even though she doesn’t speak any Italian, we got along immediately,” said Gabbana from Milan. “We got a phone call from Angelina and the producers to make her a full wardrobe, complete with accessories, which we happily accepted because the clothes were in sync with what we do: sexy and feminine. We’re not costume designers, but we’re happy to do these things as long as the requests aren’t too banal, but reflect what we design. We’re not interested in designing a long silk chiffon pailetted gown because there are many other designers that do that.”
It’s the first time the seemingly wild child Jolie has played a woman whose lifestyle is so antithetical to her own. Her character comes from blue-collar roots but when she hits Seattle and becomes a big-time TV reporter, she dons the requisite aspiring wardrobe to prove it: perfectly cut suits and trenchcoats.
“I’ve never done a comedy,” says Jolie, “and when I read it, I was thinking there’s no way I could possibly play a woman like this because I’m far too serious. Then I started to play with the idea of how she’d look, and I couldn’t get the story out of my head.”
“Life or Something Like It” costume designer Aggie Rodgers (“Rock Star,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” “Holy Man”) transformed Jolie from a brunette to a platinum blonde Fifties’-style bombshell. Sure enough, the final Lanie is reminiscent of the very first platinum-teased “Bubble Cut Barbie,” who wears body- conscious clothes like pencil skirts and jackets with narrow rib cages.
“Angelina was clear from the beginning that that’s how she wanted to look and to wear Dolce & Gabbana, and it was a really good choice,” says Rodgers. “They’re beautiful suits, strong colors and great textures that fit her just perfectly.”
“Angelina is a perfect size 40 [size 8],” adds Gabbana, “We were able to pull many looks from the spring-summer 2002 collection, and the rest we took from the archives and made especially for her. There are white linen skirt suits, animal-printed knitwear and pistachio-green coats.”
Due to the film’s tight shooting schedule — Jolie is a woman much in demand these days — one of the challenges for Rodgers was to make sure the Italian special deliveries arrived precisely on time. “There were a couple of instances,” she recalls, “when literally the Fed Ex arrived, Angelina’s clothes came out of a box and then she’d slip into wardrobe and speak her lines.”
Obviously, the results were worth it. Finally — fashion on the big screen worth leaving the couch and your “Sex and the City” reruns for.