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PARIS – All roads will lead to the Roma Etoile when film and fashion collide at Louis Vuitton’s brand new shop the Etoile Maison that just opened its doors in the Italian capital. The Roma Cinema Etoile, a historical cinema that has been closed for more than twenty years, has finally reopened as a Louis Vuitton store complete with in-house screening room.
The venue has been completely reinterpreted by architect Peter Marino and features art by Georg Dokoupil and an elliptical staircase paying tribute to baroque Italian architecture overlooking the vast space. The new shop sells luggage, leather goods, men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections, shoes, watches, jewelry and accessories.
The shop houses a screening room where Vuitton plans to screen different short films every month and host movie premieres. Documentary Handmade Cinema will be the fashion house’s first foray into film. The doc, produced by Luchino Visconti di Modrone, directed by Guido Torlonia, written by Laura delli Colli and narrated by Franco-Italian actress Chiara Mastroianni, will focus on the craftsmen of Italian cinema.
“In our small little world, it’s a small little tribute to people who are very special to an industry that is very special,” Visconti di Modrone said in an interview of his passion project. While Vuitton helped to fund the project, don’t expect to see the fashion house’s legendary monogram popping up everywhere. “It’s important not to flash a brand of consumers’ faces. People aren’t stupid. This is a very subtle and more refined way of doing it,” Visconti di Modrone explained. He added: “It’s very rare to go into a relationship with a company who will financially support your project and not meddle at all in it. It’s quite fantastic.”
So fantastic that Visconti di Modrone and his production team delved into the project before they could secure distribution. “It all began as a spur of the moment passion project. We were focused on that and are just starting to work on the distribution now. We didn’t have the time before – we were too taken by all of the excitement,” the producer explained.
Handmade Cinema’s team is hoping that some star power added by the film’s narrator Franco-Italian actress Mastroianni will add more global appeal. “Chiara was the director’s idea. To them, it was a natural way of tying in the two countries. She came on because naturally she was very excited about participating in a project about people she’s known since she was little and she visited her father on set,” he said of the offspring of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni.
The film focuses on the small artisans responsible for work on epic titles like Cleopatra, Ben Hur, The Name of the Rose and Gangs of New York. “It’s somewhat of a natural progression. Louis Vuitton has been a patron of the arts for the long time, so it’s not surprising to me that they’d invest in this,” Visconti di Modrone said.
Louis Vuitton has also begun a three-year partnership with Italy’s top film school the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia to encourage the development of new talents and discover future filmmakers, set designers and costumers. LVMH will continue to expand its empire in Italy with another store in Venice later this year.
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