Fighting for a promotion in one of the world’s largest and most well-known fashion houses means not only obtaining creative control over the brand’s line, but also receiving the attention for having the ability to maintain the company. But Gucci’s creative director, Frida Giannini, would much rather forgo the glamor and publicity of working for such a respected brand, and instead keep her personal and professional lives separate. To showcase the director’s equally creative and private lives, filmmaker Christina Voros helmed the new documentary, The Director: An Evolution in Three Acts, which maintains Giannini’s delicate balance of successfully doing her work, without constantly thriving on the press and publicity that surrounds the company.
The Director, which is split into three sections, including The Past, The Future and The Present, follows Giannini after she joined the House of Gucci in 2004 to take charge of the women’s accessories department. Two years later, her modern vision and talent promoted her to the position of the brand’s creative director. For 18 months, Voros follows Giannini, and chronicles the behind-the-scenes happenings of the director of one of the largest and most famous fashion houses in the world.
Each segment offers insight into Giannini’s world and creative process for several different collections. The Past, which focuses on the men’s collection, shows how the Gucci archives have provided the director with many of her inspirations. The Future shows the growing importance of China in the fashion world, and how its demands for luxury brands is transforming the entire industry. The Present give s a rare glimpse into Giannini’s background and personal life, including the fact that she was expecting a baby with Gucci CEO Patrizio Di Marco.
Voros generously took the time recently to sit down in a New York City hotel during the Tribeca Film Festival to talk about shooting The Director, which was produced by the filmmaker’s frequent collaborator, James Franco. Among other things, the director discussed how her working relationship with James Franco, one of the film’s producers, and her experience convinced her to become involved with the documentary, and how it took patience and research to form a deep connection with the private Giannini.
Check out the full interview below.
WGTC: The Director offers an intimate portrait of Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini, and the film spans 18 months behind the walls of the iconic Italian fashion house. Why did you decide to make a movie that explores the intricacies and inspirations of Frida and the fashion house?
Christina Voros: The film came about organically. James (Franco) had been working with Gucci, and his relationship with the house has been going on for about as long as my relationship with him. So he had an idea to do a piece on Frida.
We had just finished a film on Saturday Night Live together (Saturday Night), and he was very interesting in understanding the creative process in general. So having worked on that film together, and the fact that I come from a fashion background – some family members on my mother’s side worked in a Courture Shop on Lexington Ave. in the 1960s, and I grew up there – made him want to work on this film.
James was also fascinated by Frida and what she does. Also, as someone inside that world, he was perhaps the best person to explore it. I have an understanding of that world, but am still on the outside of it. So when he approached me with the project, it was right up my ally. I was looking forward to chronicling a strong woman in fashion.
WGTC: Speaking of James, he served as a producer on The Director. What was the process of working with him again on this film?
Christina Voros: We’ve been working together for about five years now. I started out shooting films for him. This year, we’ve had two documentaries that he’s produced and I directed (the other being Kink). He’s an incredible collaborator, and he’s very supportive of his fellow artists and friends. We’re both interested in documentaries, and were both taught the Maysles Brothers-style cinema verité. So he was incredibly supportive of the film, and gave me a lot of freedom to take it and run with it.
WGTC: What was the process of determining which footage you shot over the 18-month period would be included in the final film?
Christina Voros: It was hard, but I was lucky that I had some really great help. My editor, Flippo Conz, is a really talented Italian editor. He edited a film that was at Cannes last year. Since there was so much footage, I also brought on two associate editors. One of the nice things about the film is that it’s episodic. I would say, “You take Asia,” and “You take the men’s show,” and the editors would start working on different pieces at the same time. Then we’d bring it all together and see what was working.
The film has three acts, and each one is structured to feel different. But that may not have worked for something you need a coherent structure all the way through. But it was fun, and I got to work with some extraordinarily talented people on this film. One of the upsides of doing a feature is that it is a lot more work, and you need a lot more help. I was lucky enough to have some explementary help.
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