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12th December 2021

House of Gucci: Decade defining fashion film

House of Gucci is an aesthetically pleasing portrayal of the Italian high-end luxury fashion house in the 70s and 80s.
House of Gucci: Decade defining fashion film
Photo: Singmau Limadlue @ Wikimedia Commons

Ridley Scott’s latest hit, House of Gucci was different from his normal sci-fi dramas, but maintained his signature elements of visual style through the flamboyant costumes.

House of Gucci depicts the life of Maurizio Gucci, and the legacy of the Gucci family.

Casting Lady Gaga, Adam Driver and Al Pacino, the film explores the relationships that have led to the popular fashion house brand we know today.

It established itself as one of the defining fashion films of the last decade – the costumes and glamorous fashion parades allowing for this title. Janty Yates, the Oscar-winning costume designer, created around 500 costumes for the film, which become part of the narrative for the characters progression, whilst upholding the elitist Milan fashion culture.

Excessively glamorous, Lady Gaga’s Patrizia’s conniving nature was embodied by her varying fashion choices throughout the movie.

Her initial image appears to be modest and naive, pairing a pink v-neck jumper with a pair of blue jeans at home as a newly-wed. As the plot progresses, her outfits become increasingly extravagant and opulent – symbolic of her inflated ego from money and status.

The height of her self-absorbing glamour resides in their ski trip to St. Moritz, where she wears a fitted red ski suit with a fur hood, and vintage Christian Dior goggles, reflecting her enraged state. The physical activity did not stop Patrizia from wearing excessive amounts of jewellery – her signature look in real life, displaying huge earrings and multiple layered necklaces.

Lady Gaga even had access to some archival Gucci pieces – including the two piece suit she wears when she discovers the fake Gucci bag being sold at a street market. This only made her character even more realistic and set the scene for the luxury and class of married life with a fashion CEO.

She also had access to vintage YSL, Dior, and many other high end brands through the Tirelli Costumi house in Rome. The 80s style pink and black polka dot dress she wears to manipulate Paolo accentuates her feminine strength and seductiveness in its fitted shape, with a low cut.

Gaga was a perfect casting choice for the movie, as she has been known for her iconic red carpet moments – ranging from meat dresses to regal gowns. Gaga gave Yates access to her own personal wardrobe and was also involved in many of the costume decisions for her character, including the polka dot dress.

She also expressed her wish to honour her mother’s love for fashion, who would wear an impressive outfit even when going to the shops. The emotional connection that Gaga holds with fashion makes her an ideal candidate for a movie where fashion is inextricably linked to love, scandal and family. 

The real life Patrizia Reggiani was a New York socialite, known for hosting flamboyant colour-themed parties where everything would be monochrome.

One of the most blatant displays of her materialism was on the day of her arrest, where she changed into a floor length mink coat, diamond and gold jewellery, a pair of fashionable sunglasses and boldly, a Gucci bag.

Her prioritisation of appearance and status coincides with her moral decline, which the film powerfully depicts through her unnecessary extravagance and greed. She was a money-chaser, like her mother who had married a man purely for his money.

Patrizia once famously declared “I would rather cry in my Rolls-Royce than laugh on a bicycle” – an amusing demonstration of her values. 

Lady Gaga’s character is not the only fashion icon in House of Gucci – Adam Driver’s character, Maurizio Gucci has his own version of Italian high fashion.

Maurizio’s fashion, whilst less opulent, maintains a sophisticated business vibe, wearing around 40 suits throughout.

Maurizio’s intentions were less revolved around parading his wealth, and more to maintain the Gucci reputation. Being born into a wealthy family, his fashion sense was more candid than Patrizia, who over-compensated with extravagance.

The trip to the ski resort is where one of Driver’s most popular outfits derived – his Aran cable knit. This simple sweater exudes confidence and an organic old money appearance. It is in this scene where Patrizia appears most out of her depth, surrounded by Maurizio’s friends who were born into wealth.

Her black, heavily accessorised ‘apres-ski’ look stands in direct contrast to the minimalist white outfits of the elite group. This fashion clash signifies the downward spiral of their marriage.

The expectations of House of Gucci as “one of fashion’s most prominent dynasties”, according to TIME, were certainly fulfilled by every character.

The movie spans Gucci’s progressive stages – ending with Tom Ford’s revolutionary reinvention to sexy and sophisticated clothes.

Gucci remains one of the most popular fashion houses today, and the movie recognises the Gucci families contribution to the brand, despite their ultimate downfall. 

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