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“With the cinema, clothes come back to life,” Alessandro Michele and Gus Van Sant unveil a mini-series of films


The artistic director at Gucci has joined forces with the cult director of “Elephant and “Harvey Milk, to make a miniseries of seven films, presented this week during GucciFest, a digital film and fashion festival. Last Friday, Alessandro Michele and Gus Van Sant spoke via Zoom about the origin of the project, its filming in Rome and their shared love of the movies.


Currently being shown on YouTube between November 16th and 22nd, the miniseries of seven films made in Rome by Alessandro Michele and Gus Van Sant is composed of suspended and poetic moments in the life of actress and artist Silvia Calderoni, who we first saw in 2016 at the Théâtre Paris-Villette. In the powerful performance of her play MDLSX she evoked her own androgyny, intertwining autobiographical and literary fictional experiences. The first episode made by Van Sant and Michele, unveiled on Monday November 16th, offers a glimpse into the fictional intimacy of Silvia Calderoni, in a carefully styled apartment: vintage rugs and sofas, designer furniture and esoteric paintings… The Gucci universe unfolds with elegance. 



“I wanted to develop a story over a long, slow period of time, 
like a pregnancy." Alessandro Michele



"When I wrote this story," says Michele, "I wanted the ambiguity between fiction and reality to be absolute. I wanted to follow Silvia in everyday, timeless places and moments, and when she meets people too. Neither the time nor the places are defined. I wanted to develop a story over a long, slow period of time, like a pregnancy". Among her "encounters" are the philosopher and gender specialist Paul B. Preciado... but also the pop stars Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and Florence Welch. "It's a journey," says Gus Van Sant, "in which various people have the opportunity to talk about their discipline. But above all it’s about following the daily life of a woman in Rome, at home, in a vintage shop, in a café, at the theatre... The story written by Alessandro has obvious links with my films such as GerryElephant or The Last Days. Recounted in an oblique way, things happen before your eyes in a kind of slowed-down temporality."

The short films are an opportunity for Alessandro Michele to present his new collection, which, like the series, is called Ouverture Of Something That Never Ended. "Fashion must be allowed to free itself," explains the artistic director. “To free itself from the catwalks, from the expected places. Thanks to cinema, clothes come to life, they are worn and not confined to a shop or a wardrobe. Clothes return to where they came from: they come back to life. Cinema has had a major impact on my own life, with both Hollywood and Italian neo-realism films. I watched Daniel Mann's The Rose Tattoo with Anna Magnani more than 20 times [a 1955 adaptation of the play by Tennessee Williams]. Watching Björk in Dancer in the Dark was a real shock, while discovering Gus's My Own Private Idaho, 30 years ago, was liberating. That film helped me to understand who I was, in a way that was unconventional, brutal yet delicate." 



Thirty years ago, Gus Van Sant shot some of the scenes from My Own Private Idaho in Rome. He also has fond memories of another trip, in 1975, when he visited Pasolini at his home just before he was murdered. And the film set of Fellini’s Casanova, where he’d been taken by an American journalist. "When I was young," continues Alessandro Michele, "I didn't want to be a fashion designer, but a costume designer. I am often asked today if I am one or the other but I remain unable to answer. It is this very ambiguity that fascinates me. My work is based on the idea of never closing a door. Creativity is not something you can limit, categorise or stop. Clothes are strange and ambiguous objects too. You find them in films, in washing machines, on beds, in shops..." And now in a series of seven films available on the YouTube Fashion channel and Gucci’s social media.



Find the festival's full program at www.guccifest.com