Warning! This article about “House of Gucci” may contain minor spoilers
Janty Yates was attracted to Gucci House by more than the fashion. The costume designer was more interested in telling the story of the shocking murder at the hands Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci by his ex-wife, Patrizia Regigiani, through the looks of the film. She says, “Who wouldn’t want to tell the story of Maurizio’s murder?”
Ridley Scott’s film stars Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. It follows the rise of Gucci from when Maurizio (Driver), met Patrizia in the ’70s until his death in 1995. The film’s focus is on Patrizia, who was born to a family without social standing and is often blamed for causing a rift within the family. She is different from the Guccis because of this. Reggiani, who is part of one of Italy’s most wealthy clans, wears elaborate suits, expensive watches and shiny leather shoes. Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino), once-patriarch and son of the Gucci families, as well as his son Paolo Gucci(Jared Leto), and others, all of which are dressed in sophisticated suits.
Yates was closely involved in creating Reggiani’s costumes. She worked with Lady Gaga when she was selecting the looks for each scene. The actor-singer even let Yates access her personal archive, all preserved in a temperature-controlled room. Yates laughs, “Imagine Bobby, her manager gave me the key!”
Gaga was also present on the set. Gaga chose the pink-and black polka-dot dress from Yves Saint Laurent for her character. Gaga wears a black turtleneck with layers of gold necklaces and a fur cap in a scene from the movie. Even though it was just the second day of filming Yates and Gaga had formed a strong bond that allowed Gaga to say, “Let’s put four [necklaces] onto,” after Yates only put on two.
Yates had the opportunity to work with other designers such as YSL. However, a Gucci movie without the double-G logos would be incomplete. Yates began her search for looks at the heritage house by visiting the Gucci Museum in Florence. There she saw footage and costumes that date back to the 1970s. Yates was allowed to borrow some pieces from the museum, but she needed to find other items at places like Tirelli Costumi in Rome, which houses costume houses. Yates created the rest of the looks from scratch. As a result of the pandemic Yates was quarantined at a hotel in Italy. She and Stefano De Nardis, her assistant designer, transformed monogrammed Gucci fabrics to some of the most memorable looks in film. This included a tunic-and–trousers combination Lady Gaga wears during the now-viral “Our name is sweetie” scene.
House of Gucci examines the true story behind one of fashion’s most famous crime stories. It also shows how the brand evolved from a luggage and leather goods business to become a fashion empire capable of competing with Versace’s Gianni Versace and Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld. Reeve Carney plays American designer Tom Ford, who is featured in the film. This 1995 collection was what launched Gucci to international fame. Yates and De Nardis attempted to find pieces from the actual collection for the film but were unsuccessful. Yates says, “I believe somebody must have purchased it all up.” De Nardis reconstructed looks from Tom Ford’s other collections including a 1997 Gucci Gstring, which is still one of Ford’s most iconic pieces from the Gucci era. De Nardis also created a runway collection for Paolo Gucci (the family’s failed designer). Yates joked that it was “a bit tasteful” for Paolo, who wasn’t the most tasteful.
Yates stated that House of Gucci was her mission. Let’s take, for instance, a scene in which Pina (Salmahayek), Patrizia’s best friend, and psychic, advises the Gucci heiress that she should wear green and red — Gucci’s signature colours — to bring good luck to her quest to win the top spot with her husband. Patrizia prefers red but she says she doesn’t like green. She also refuses to wear it with her lipstick. Patrizia then opts for bright ensembles, including a scarlet, gold-buttoned, skirt suit paired with a flamboyant fur jacket and a red snowsuit (both shown in the trailer). This is a sign that she has larger ambitions than being the wife of a Gucci heir. Her plans go sour and she is expelled from Gucci. She’s served with divorce papers. After this, her wardrobe becomes black. This is a premonition about the death to come.
More than fashionable, the costumes in this film are set to take audiences on a journey inside the stranger-than-fiction events surrounding Maurizio’s death: “And if they do like the costumes, then that’s an added bonus.”
House of Gucci is currently in theatres.