Movies and shakers: cinema meets couture at Milan fashion week

Milan fashion week focuses on the relationship between fashion and cinema, writesDario Thuburn

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 September, 2013, 8:28pm

A film reel whirrs, the soundtrack starts, then action! Roberto Cavalli paid homage to cinema, a two-way relationship that has been one of the themes at Milan fashion week, which ended on Monday.

"Welcome to my movie set!" the silver-maned Cavalli, dressed in a black suit and sunglasses, greeted journalists at the start of the catwalk show, sweeping his arm across a vast marquee tent with spotlights and celluloid decorations.

Models dressed like glamorous 1930s film stars paraded in an array of shimmering figure-hugging gowns with furs thrown over the shoulder.

Whites, blacks and silvers dominated the spring-summer 2014 collection, which conveyed a sense of high elegance, plus Cavalli's signature sensuality with see-through and backless lace dresses that left little to the imagination.

Cavalli, whose German Shepherd "Lupo" (wolf in Italian) kept inquisitive reporters in check, said he wanted an "eccentric, romantic and exuberant" look.

There were also jackets and trousers made from a patchwork of python, iguana and crocodile skins along with denim, a return to wildlife themes for Cavalli, who is known for his leopard-print clothes.

Cavalli said he had looked to the film world because fashion and cinema shared the same inspiration - "an artistic vision that uses the best artisanal techniques to give life to a place where dreams become possible".

French-owned Italian fashion house Fendi also paid homage to the symbiotic relationship between the two worlds in an exhibition unveiled last week entitled "Making Dreams" at the Teatro Manzoni - a classic 1940s cinema.

"Our catwalks are like canvases through which we tell stories," said Silvia Venturini Fendi at the exhibition, which highlights Fendi's relationship with directors from Martin Scorsese to Wim Wenders and Luchino Visconti.

A variety of Fendi fur coats could be seen on mannequins in the cinema's red velvet seats and included the ones worn by Michelle Pfeiffer in The Age of Innocence (1993) and Gwyneth Paltrow in 2003's The Royal Tenenbaums. There were also sketches by costume designer Piero Tosi for Fendi outfits worn by Silvana Mangano, who starred in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Theorem (1968) and Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice (1971).

"Fashion will never stop clothing cinema," Milan's Cineteca film archive said. "Cinema has always been intricately connected to fashion. Divos and divas helped create styles and trends, and the celluloid catwalks handed fame to the main brands, turning them into true icons."

The series includes the vintage Vogues of 1938 about the fashion models of the era, Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008), and The September Issue: Anna Wintour and the Making of Vogue (2009).

Agence France-Presse