Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc.

by Ridley Scott Gucci House officially landed in theaters around the world. An adaptation of the 2001 book The house of Gucci: a sensational story of murder, madness, glamor and greed by Sara Gay Forden, the film is filled with things that we are very passionate about: Lady Gaga as Machiavellian Patrizia Reggiani; Adam Driver as her husband, Maurizio Gucci; Salma Hayek as a tarot card reader; Jared Leto in truly grotesque prosthetics; Al Pacino (enough said); and, of course, tons of capital from the 70s, 80s and 90s –F Fashion.

We caught up with iconic costume designer Janty Yates (Gladiator, All the Money in the World, The Martian, American Gangster) by phone last week to learn more about the movie’s costume design, what it was like working with Lady Gaga, and how fashion today is a far cry from the fashion we see in Gucci House.

Janty, your work is enormous. You’ve done a lot of period and science fiction plays, Gladiator To Prometheus. Obviously, Gucci House is inspired by a really defining period in fashion history, the ’70s and’ 80s, so how was working on this one different?

Well that was different because Ridley and I lived through the 70s and 80s!

How was your research process for this film?

I went to the Gucci museum in Florence, and it was the best thing in my life. They have 70s costumes in there. They have pictures of men making shoes and bags in the 40s and 50s, all family portraits, so I took four million pictures and put them together in these huge files. There were also characters in the script that we had to research specifically, like Marlon Brando. I compiled all this research and sent it to Ridley, and this was the first time I had received an email from the president of MGM saying, “Well done.”

g04442rcactor lady gaga and director ridley scott on the set of the house of guccia metro goldwyn mayer photos filmphoto credit fabio lovino © 2021 metro goldwyn mayer pictures inc all rights reserved
Lady Gaga and director Ridley Scott on the set of Gucci House.

Fabio Lovino

How did the collaboration with the current “House of Gucci” go?

They let us go into the archives, and we took out about 15 or 20 outfits. We used all of their archive bags, sunglasses and belts.

Did you end up using archival Gucci pieces in the movie?

We barely touched them. They were in a locked room at our hotel and kept there all the time. We’ve only used two in the movie – when we see Lady Gaga in a Double G tunic and leather-trimmed pants on 42nd Street finding cheap fakes, and when she’s in a Double G silk blouse and a leather skirt when she receives her divorce papers.

g00924rclady gaga plays the role of patrizia reggiani in guccia de ridley scott's house metro goldwyn mayer photos filmphoto credit fabio lovino © 2021 metro goldwyn mayer photos inc all rights reserved

Fabio Lovino

For Patrizia’s costumes, did you try to create replicas of what we know she was actually wearing, or did you change the costumes to showcase certain parts of the character?

It’s a mishmash of things. I was able to dig through several archives in Italy and put together some vintage YSL and Dior tracks. Patrizia didn’t dress in Gucci at all. We took a couple of looks in the actual Patrizia archives. There is a pink evening dress that we translated into red satin for the first meeting with Maurizio. We also changed her wedding dress. We had narrowed her down to two and decided which one she would wear on the day. We had the traditional wedding dress in the photos, but the one we selected was much cuter. The one we selected was gorgeous and showed her calves, and was covered in beautiful lace all hand-sewn. The dress that Patrizia wore was very simple, Gucci, but with a high collar and sleeves, and just wasn’t very exciting. It was very “convent”.

So Patrizia Reggiani was never a big carrier of Gucci, even when she married the Gucci family? Why do you think it was?

I think Gucci is a wonderful company – shiny belts, shiny shoes and bags – but their fashion back then was conservative. When Tom Ford walked in he cut it like a hot knife in butter, and that’s when it got so sexy, it was ridiculous. I don’t think ready-to-wear was Gucci’s strong suit back then. And Patrizia was a very sexy woman. She dressed to impress, hence all the jewelry. She wanted to show off her breasts, her slim waist and her voluptuous figure. … I have always described the Gucci of that time as “round and brown”. Patrizia wore a lot of YSL and Dior.

g07162rclady gaga plays the role of patrizia reggiani in guccia de ridley scott's house metro goldwyn mayer photos filmphoto credit fabio lovino © 2021 metro goldwyn mayer photos inc all rights reserved

Fabio Lovino

I think of today, if we saw the spouse of a great designer wearing a competing brand, I’m not sure it would fly.

Well, there wasn’t even a phone back then! There was certainly no social media. It was really what the papers would publish, and they didn’t really care as long as she looked voluptuous and lovely. It wasn’t until the late ’80s that you saw Armani and Versace go out there and become these powerhouses, and then Tom Ford turned around in the’ 90s and created another great fashion house. It was then that these “mega-houses” started to develop.

Lady Gaga was amazing in A star is born, but this movie looks like the role she was born for, because besides her music we really know and love Gaga for her fashion. How was working with her different from working with other actresses?

Normally with the actress you just make sure the thing fits and you do the jewelry the same day. With LG, it took longer. It was great, don’t get me wrong. She was completely in her character with each fitting, and each fitting lasted three or four hours. We would only have sorted three outfits, but she would do it right down to the earrings, the bag, the gloves, the hat, down to the nth detail. We played the scenes in the fittings; I would be Paola and she would be Patrizia, and between the lines she would say, “No, we need a shorter wig, a longer wig, a thicker eyeliner,” or whatever.

I imagine his experience in showbiz helped as well.

LG has a huge body of work. She’s used to a million snafus every night in Las Vegas or elsewhere, and she’s used to making dresses in a day. She is beautiful like that.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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