Why is Adam Driver in the Alps, wearing an Aran sweater and porny glasses with Lady Gaga?
In these times, you may be forgiven for thinking that they’re just playing elaborate dress-up for Instagram, or perhaps even starring in a new vintage-ski-inspired Gucci campaign. But in fact the two are in the early stages of filming House of Gucci, an upcoming Ridley Scott film based on the 2000 Sara Gay Forden book of the same name.
The film covers a scandalous saga that may seem unimaginable to those more familiar with the genderfluid dreamworld of Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele. In fact, there was a major period of drama in Gucciworld, to put it lightly. In 1995, Maurizio Gucci, then-head of Gucci and grandson of the house’s founder, was murdered by a hitman on the way into his Milan office. Patrizia Reggiani, his eccentric Italian socialite ex-wife, was convicted of hiring the hitman. She became known as the “Black Widow” for her over-the-top style and gallows humor; when a reporter asked her why she didn’t just shoot Maurizio herself, she replied, “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.”
She was released in 2014—she turned down an offer of release in 2011 because she had never worked before, and the idea horrified her—and has since worked as a jewelry consultant in Milan. She told the Guardian in 2016 that she longed to return to Gucci, which was acquired by Kering (then PPR) beginning in 1999. (Maurizio had made a series of unwise financial decisions throughout the 1980s, which will undoubtedly be covered in the forthcoming film). “They need me,” Reggiani told The Guardian. “I still feel like a Gucci–in fact, the most Gucci of them all.”
In addition to Driver and Gaga, playing the central couple, the film also stars a veritable fantasy cast of American stars: Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Jared Leto, all of whom are playing Gucci family members. Leto, of course, is a close friend of Michele’s and regular Gucci model.
Gucci—the brand—has not commented publicly on the film, though Leto’s role seems like a friendly enough acknowledgment of its existence. (Back in 2017, when Ryan Murphy directed a miniseries based on the 1997 murder of Gianni Versace, Donatella Versace gave her friend Penelope Cruz her blessing to portray her, though otherwise the brand stayed out of it.) The Gucci murder happened around the same time the brand began its reinvention under Tom Ford, and only a few years before that much better known killing of Versace, yet it somehow remains one of fashion’s lesser-known tragedies.
Still, one imagines that the buzz around the movie will somehow make its way onto Gucci’s runway. Reggiani’s chinchilla furs, layered gold jewelry, and forthright humor—especially contrasted with her then-husband’s rich European interpretation of good taste—are too extra for a romantic like Michele to pass up.