Anna Magnani’s ‘petite robe’, the partnership with the Gattinoni maison

‘Simply Anna’ is the exhibition dedicated to the great actress on the 50th anniversary of her death inaugurated today at the Parco della Musica at the opening of the Rome Film Festival. Anna Magnani left the brand when Roberto Rossellini met Ingrid Bergman, rival on the set and in private life

“Sheath dresses are always black, in silk cadi, velvet or taffeta. Often unique, very simple models, like Mademoiselle’s ‘petite robe’ to show off her fabulous jewels by Bulgari or Cazzaniga. ‘I can’t be eccentric, I have too much personality, I have to be chic so as not to seem like a woman of the people’, was the advice that Roberto Rossellini gave her”. Stefano Dominella, president of the Gattinoni maison, remembers with these words Anna Magnani to whom the famous Roman brand dedicates an exhibition, ‘Simply Anna’, inaugurated today at the opening of the XVIII edition of the Rome Film Festival at the Auditorium Parco della Musica on the 50th anniversary of passing of the great actress, protagonist of the official image of the historic event.

“The great actress was Madame Fernanda’s client for some years, but she also adored Emilio Schubert, whom she had nicknamed ‘Schubertino’, but in her opinion he was too extravagant – adds Dominella, owner of the precious archive – Another actress accompanied her to the atelier , Marisa Merlini. She was at the height of her career, very much in love and engaged to Roberto Rossellini. She had already filmed ‘Roma Città Aperta’, ‘L’onorevole Angelina’, later ‘Bellissima’, ‘La carrozza d’oro’ would arrive, ‘The rose tattoo’. But from the story of some premieres – he continues – Anna Magnani did not like to waste time with rehearsals. She often arrived accompanied by her then partner Roberto Rossellini, always very elegant, in a jacket and tie and camel coat. Fashion does not he was interested and would sit comfortably on the sofa and read the newspaper.”

“Direct, sincere, without mincing words, she addressed Fernanda Gattinoni with very clear words. ‘Don’t make me come 20 times and try on a dress – she said – I’m not one of those ladies who play canasta in the afternoon. I have much else to do “. ‘Simply Anna’, which will be inaugurated in the Foyer of the Sala Petrassi of the Auditorium, was born from an idea by Annamaria Cuzzolaro who signed the exhibition alongside Stefano di Tommaso and Francesca Piggianelli, and is produced by the Fondazione Cinema per Roma. The clothes that marked Anna Magnani’s cinematographic career are on display, those worn on private occasions, but also on sets, such as the famous stage costume from the films ‘We are women’, directed by Luchino Visconti in 1953 and ‘Risate di Gioia’ by Mario Monicelli with Totò.

“A partnership, the one with the Gattinoni fashion house, which lasted only a few years. Anna Magnani and Renzo Rossellini broke up, Ingrid Bergman took her place. An unsustainable affront, a rival for her, on the set and in her private life – Dominella continues – And he never stopped attacking her, denigrating her with Fernanda Gattinoni. ‘But how can you dress someone who has 44 feet?’, he told her. Yet if I decided to dedicate myself to fashion, I owe it to Anna Magnani – confesses Stefano Dominella, at guide of the fashion section of Unindustria – I went to visit her at Palazzo Altieri, where she lived, black trousers and her face hidden inside the roulé of a black sweater. A house full of cats, animals that she adored, a very classic apartment, furniture antiques, green velvet sofas, a large bookcase. He looked me in the eyes and said: ‘Do you guys do theatre? With that little face? You must be very gifted and devoted to sacrifice, otherwise you risk acting for the rest of your life.’ Lunch is served’. I changed my mind and decided to leave the theater”, concludes Dominella. The exhibition ‘Simply Anna’ will be open to the public until 29 October.