Documentary on Elio Fiorucci to Be Celebrated at Fashion Film Festival – WWD

MILAN – Fear: A concept as ancient as the world certainly affects the behavior of humans and animals alike.

Each person’s relationship with feelings is personal and, given today’s context, increasingly becomes an object of self-discovery and study of coping mechanisms.

While many people are looking for motivational quotes on social media or seeking inspiration from the gestures of their favorite athletes, a little encouragement can also come from the words and the world. the tech world depicted in “Free Spirit,” a documentary about Elio Fiorucci will be celebrated with a special screening on Monday, as part of the eighth edition of Milano Fashion Film Festival The event opens on Friday.

“The end of unnecessary fears, [is] the beginning of life,” is one of the visionary designer’s mottos, passed away in July 2015 at the age of 80, shared with his signature smile in the hour-long film.

“That was one of his biggest lessons, for me,” says Andrea Servi, who, along with Swan Bergman, is on the other end of the camera, both acting as author and director. acting on this project, which started in 2008. “The way he thinks about the future, is always creative and imaginative, not scared like today. He used to unmask his fears, banishing them with his work and colorful world. And you can see that in this documentary,” Servi said, adding that the film’s goal is to infuse viewers with the same energy to act and react fearlessly.

However, nostalgia can also be activated: rather than simply celebrating Fiorucciabout their lives and careers, the series intends to recount key episodes and decades of change and explosive creativity through the designer’s filter and memories of the inner circle. his.

The first part of the documentary features a series of interviews divided by subject and historical period – spanning the 60s to the late 80s – and supported by archival footage, in when part two is a more poignant portrait of Fiorucci displayed, as he freely shared his thoughts and memories.

In addition to the designer, the interviewees included Vivienne Westwood, who shared glimpses of the first time she heard about Fiorucci, to collaborators like the photographer Oliviero Toscani; stylists and artists Maripol, who doubled as the artistic director of Fiorucci’s popular New York boutique; landscape designer and painter Franco Marabelli, who has served as the creative director of the brand’s stores; curator Daniela Morera, and Fiorucci’s former sales assistant, Biba Acquati, among others.

These figures focus on the vast and eccentric world of the designer, father of avant-garde ideas, from creating fashionable denim and introducing logos to revolutionary retail concepts. .

He was the one who imported the energy and sense of freedom of Swinging London into Italy in the 60s, when he opened his legendary auditorium in Milandowntown San Babila, predict the modern definition of an idea store.

A playground for experimentation, the venue is a chaotic yet enchanting bazaar of all sorts of objects, references and figures, presented in a flashy, colorful and fun way, conflict with the background of the 70s, when terrorism and political tension broke out throughout Italy. .

Spontaneous, generous and open-minded, Fiorucci has also become a patron of young artists, architects, graphic designers and performers, including Keith Haring who took over the store and completely covered it with his graffiti art during a live event open to the public in 1983.

Elio Fiorucci and Andy Warhol.

Elio Fiorucci and Andy Warhol
Courtesy of “Free Spirit”

The documentary also vividly recreates how, after launching the New York fleet in 1976, Fiorucci integrated and enhanced the vibrant scene of the city at the time, as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Jean-Michel Basquiat was one of the characters who gathered at the location, which is often described as “Studio 54 by day” because of its vibrant atmosphere. For example, Warhol chose to launch his Interview magazine with an event and signing while Donna Jordan and Pat Cleveland modeled for the live-action window concept, among others. For the real Studio 54, Fiorucci threw a bash there to celebrate the brand’s 15th anniversary and invited a young Madonna — at the time a DJ — to shoot records, as he recalls in “Free Spirit.”

The documentary was quietly released on a small scale in 2017. The inclusion Milano Fashion Film Festival will mark its actual debut, as the directors say the film will have a wider release starting in the spring.

The screening will be held digitally on the MyMovies platform, with 500 tickets available for the event. Originally, this format was supposed to support a physical event held in The Triennale Museum in Milan, but this has been postponed to Milan Fashion Week next month due to an increase in Omicron variation in water.

The choice of location was not random, as the film project originated in the white halls of the location. While visiting an exhibition dedicated to the 70s, Servi and Bergman entered a pavilion dedicated to Fiorucci, which highlighted his artistic connections and cultural influences.

“We were astounded: we discovered so many things about him and thought that many Italians don’t really know all that he has done and that this would be a movie worthy. So that same day, we found a contact and called his press office to talk about the idea, and they passed the call to Fiorucci himself right away, which was real. hard to believe,” Bergman recalls. “He told us he was extremely honored. I mean, him? Honored by us? We were in shock,” said Servi.

Things quickly escalated and production went smoothly with no plans or schedules. “He was an anarchist and we wanted to do something that was in line with the spirit of those years and was extremely authentic, so it was very rock ‘n’ roll. We didn’t prepare the questions, just watched the flow, and we had a lot of fun during the process,” Bergman said, noting that the shot reflects this raw and unpolished style.

“He never makes appointments because he believes that scheduling a date creates performance expectations,” he continued. “Plus, he often shares his agenda with us, all his patriarchy, with those he knows, without any envy,” added Bergman. , highlighting how this attitude informed his personal and professional path in the years that followed. “It was natural for him, and if you think about it, his stores weren’t for selling products but meeting points.”

A WWD report on the opening of the Fiorucci store in New York, 1976.

A WWD report on the opening of the Fiorucci store in New York, 1976.

With an unprecedented blend of elements that ignite the imagination of its audience, the San Babila store has become the epicenter of a cultural revolution, introducing and promoting language, attitudes and lifestyle that the younger generations at that time were waiting for. A community of young consumers gather around the venue as they can identify themselves in the dynamic young staff, music selection and cosmopolitan feel.

As a music video director in Bologna, Bergman often travels to Milan to work and always stops by the store for inspiration. “I usually go there to stimulate my inner thinking to create a story that starts with an unusual object – and there’s a lot going on – rather than being academic in making something. it’s from the lyrics. That place pushed you to use your imagination, and I believe many of the videos I created were rooted in the subconscious of Fiorucci’s world, prior to making this documentary,” says Bergman.

When asked about the most challenging part of realizing “Free Spirit,” the directors pointed to Fiorucci’s death in the final stages of production. “Beyond the sadness of losing a friend, our big task was to create a common language and meaning for the footage we have,” says Servi.

While the documentary turned out to be a compendium of first-hand recollections, Servi revealed that the original project was the realization of a miniseries à la Netflix’s. Halston. The authors said there was already a full script developed under Fiorucci’s guidance and that was ultimately set aside because they wanted to start gathering material from the interviews instead.

“But the story is still there, we have all the ideas, even about casting, we are only a few million short to produce it,” joked Servi, who, on a more serious note, indicates the project is on the table. with several companies and is being discussed.

In addition to this, the duo are busy on other fronts – including two other documentaries and a feature film – as well as looking for another project that would recreate “Free Spirit” and the crossover. of topics related to fashion, culture and society.

“But these days it is very difficult to find the wrong people. There is no one like Elio now,” concluded Bergman. Documentary on Elio Fiorucci to Be Celebrated at Fashion Film Festival – WWD

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