Welcome to Look Around, a new section of Mari Go Round that lets photography drive the narrative. Tune in every week as I visually take you along with me to cool, far-flung attractions, events and happenings in Southern California and beyond. And stay in touch by following me on Instagram!
To walk through the “House of Gucci” costume exhibit at the FIDM Museum is to visit where the true-crime drama’s secrets are kept — pockets of detail that are often too small, too blurry and rushed to notice on screen. It is to pause a scene and walk up to its characters, to stand in direct confrontation and give them proper, leisurely examination. Take, for example, the outfit Patrizia Reggiani (played by Lady Gaga) wears in the Italian Alps — a skin-tight patent-leather ski suit paired with matching red ski goggles and a fur hat. Watching the film, you might notice its color, especially when contrasted with everyone else’s white jumpers — but not in the way you see it in this space. Here, it’s a bloody, venomous red. My eyes are pinned to it immediately.
Inch closer, and you’ll read the letters on the gold buckle of Reggiani’s belt: YSL. The socialite actually favored Yves Saint Laurent over Gucci, and wearing the logo loud and proud during a pivotal moment in the movie — a turning point in her relationship with Maurizio Gucci (played by Adam Driver), seems like a significant statement. “Oh, I noticed that when I pulled the outfit out of its storage case,” Kevin Jones, curator at FIDM Museum, tells me on the phone, a few days after my visit. “And I was like, oh my god, it’s a YSL belt.”
These are the kinds of details — carefully placed by costume designer Janty Yates — you’re able to witness here with intimate proximity. Yates looked far and wide, spent months and months researching and digging into archives to find, source and dream up these iconic looks. Like, L.G.’s pearl-embroidered evening gown — an almost-exact recreation of what Reggiani actually wore. The bow-strapped, va-va-voom red dress L.G. wears when she establishes herself at the bar and first strikes up a conversation with Maurizio, flirting with intensity of a burst dam. (The original dress was pink and long, but director Ridley Scott wanted L.G. to show more leg in the scene.) Paolo Gucci’s pink jumbo cord suit. Jeremy Irons’ pale lemon suit, with its suede GG waistcoat and a neckerchief, which is one of the few period-original pieces.
Standing tall in the middle, anchoring the exhibit, is the wedding dress with its cathedral-length veil and lace scalloped hem. “There were actually two wedding gowns created,” Jones says. “Janty created the actual wedding gown, a recreation of it as seen in the photos from the ceremony.” But Reggiani’s more traditional dress didn’t really “sing” on screen. So Yates reimagined it. When L.G. stepped into the cleavage-bearing, bell-shaped gown, it felt right. “It jumps off … the screen,” Jones says. “It’s one of those aspects of, OK, how historical do we actually go … or are we telling a story?
That’s what separates costume from clothing. That’s the beauty of it. “This is a movie; they’re telling a very specific story,” Jones says. “The clothing must reveal the characters and also push the action forward. That’s not always possible to do if you’re dealing with ‘real clothing’ as opposed to costume in a film.” It’s true: There is undeniable power in costume, and FIDM’s exhibit brings that into clear focus.
The “House of Gucci” exhibit at the FIDM Museum is open till Dec. 4 and also includes incredible photo stills from the film.