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Italy on Film

From La Notte to A Bigger Splash, we revisit three of the most stylish Italian-cinema-inspired womenswear looks.

Whether a sun-soaked Neapolitan caper or a sultry Milanese thriller, there is always a sense of sophistication in an Italian production that's often lacking elsewhere. It's no doubt the reason why Rome's film industry has flourished in the post-war era, with stars from Sophia Loren to Monica Bellucci becoming international treasures, and foreign actors from London and Hollywood clamouring for a secondment in Venice or Sicily. From the sun-soaked cliffs of the Amalfi coast to the Baroque splendour of Rome, Italy plays a lead role in some of the most stylish films put to celluloid (or indeed, hard drive). Here, we revisit three of our favourites and the fashion that makes them irresistible.

La Notte

The central film in a thematic trilogy by Michelangelo Antonioni, La Notte made a star of a young Monica Vitti. Wide eyed and alluring, she appears opposite the always-impeccable Marcello Mastroianni as the young socialite to his faltering married man. Throughout, she is dressed in custom Valentino – spaghetti-strapped, crepe-frilled and oozing with timeless glamour.

The Talented Mr Ripley

Though The Talented Mr Ripley is an American production (filmed on location around Naples, Rome and Venice), it remains the standard-bearer for Italian sprezzatura. A fresh-faced Gwyneth Paltrow plays Marge Sherwood, always impeccable in high-waisted bikinis, open-collared shirts and pleated midi skirts. Ann Roth and Gary Jones won an Oscar nomination for their note-perfect costume design, which 20 years later still feels fresh.

A Bigger Splash

Tilda Swinton cuts a dramatic shape against the quiet streets of Pantelleria throughout A Bigger Splash, dressed exclusively in Raf Simons' Dior. Costume designer Giulia Piersanti collaborated with the house for Luca Guadagnino's sun-soaked, erotically charged thriller, adapting and creating custom looks for Swinton's troubled rocker.