“My dream is to dress Angelina Jolie.” Interview with Foggia designer Francesco Paolo Salerno

“Cinema has always evoked an exciting, dreamlike atmosphere, and dressing great actresses, Italian and Hollywood divas for me – as I imagine for any stylist – represents a paramount ambition and an important career goal.” Francesco Paolo Salerno is a couturier frozen in time, his inspiration drawn from the past and the artisanal traditions of southern Italy (extreme attention to detail, choice of fabrics and fabrics of great value, craftsmanship that is becoming an increasingly rare commodity, even among the elite of haute couture) to reread and change them in a modern way, making “every woman a goddess” (quote from Luca Carboni). Sensuality, the exaltation of femininity and individuality, glamor are her imprints, which can be traced collection after collection and creation after creation. We interviewed him after the red carpet at the 80th Venice Film Festival at the premiere of The Palace (Roman Polanski’s highly anticipated new film, produced by Luca Barbareschi) by Lucerne actress Martina Difonte, who has captivated industry insiders with her work and photography. , the trade press and spectators with a dress he created “with a strong personality and a strong dark hue, made of chiffon, lightly draped at the front and slits that flatter the figure.”

What’s the line between being bold and wanting to be talked about through a dress?

For me, this is dictated by elegance and good taste, which should never be lacking and which should clearly delimit any possible intrusion of vulgarity. Red carpets always require more attention as there are additional aspects to consider beyond guaranteed visibility, but this can boomerang if the creation doesn’t fit the context or suit the actress who will be wearing the red carpet. creation: light, frames and different angles, to name just a few examples. Martina and I, who came to Venice for the first time last year, chose a strawberry mermaid dress and were both very pleased with the feedback we received. This year we raised the bar even higher and dared to use cutouts and transparency, but the idea was to convey complete self-awareness and affirmation, rather than simply seeking opinions on social media and controversies in the media: she conveyed that beautifully.

You’ve dressed a variety of actresses: from Sabrina Ferilli to Ambra Angiolini, from Claudia Gerini to Sveva Arviti, from Rossi De Palma (one of Pedro Almodóvar’s icons) to Molly Parker (one of the stars of House of Cards) and Amanda Lear. What do they have in common?

Each of them had a multiplicity of nuances, never finding refuge in a comfort zone, a courage to take on new challenges, an individuality with which they managed to break prejudices and constantly reinvent themselves, going beyond the barriers with which critics might have tried to limit them. They are “cutting edge”, very good at their jobs, but willing to compete in different fields with the same passion and tenacity. And women whom I greatly admire, even in private, precisely because they are no different from what they appear to be in public, and therefore easy to get along with.

What’s the biggest compliment you’ve received from one of them?

Probably the oneyou remind me so much of my Gianni what Sabrina Ferilli once told me after seeing one of my models, referring to Gianni Versace, with whom she was very close. It was the most important certificate I could receive, although I admire him – I can’t talk about it in the past tense because his art left a deep mark that will remain indelible – for me too.

Who would you like to receive your dream phone call from?

From Angelina Jolie, a true diva of our time, charismatic, charming, seductive, beautiful, but also a global standard for humanitarian commitment in many battles, and a mother who puts the well-being and happiness of her children above all else. Each of her appearances is an event, and she makes it such, regardless of the context. Someday I will wear it and it will be an Oscar that I will treasure jealously for the rest of my life.

A curiosity related to the world of entertainment: you dressed Ilari Blasi and Greta Scarano, who played Ilari Blasi in the series. I hoped he would die soonerdirected by Luca Ribuoli, dedicated to Francesco Totti.

Yes, the request, coming directly from the production, to make the actress’s commitment to the character she played even more obvious. It was also strange for me to see the same clothes on two different women, but Greta Scarano was very good and, after getting over the initial amazement and embarrassment, I saw the various scenes through the eyes of an audience member rather than a stylist/costume designer. on this occasion.

You also got to try your hand at maternity lines.

Yes, twice: with Antonia Truppo, winner of two David di Donatello awards for best supporting actress: the first in 2016 with They called him Jig Robot.second next year for indivisible. She was six months pregnant when she received the second prize, and for me it was an opportunity to talk and celebrate the beauty of the body giving birth to new life, the most intense experience a woman can feel within herself. life, life and the greatest emotions it can convey. Also for Francesca Sofia Novello, partner of Valentino Rossi, in 2021 I created two creations in which she wore on the red carpet and at the Amfar Gala, also in Venice, and it was great to see her one day so smiling and at ease. so special.

Would you like to work on a film or TV series?

It would be a challenge and an honor, just like for the theater. We grow professionally and humanly only by renewing ourselves, comparing ourselves with reality, which is only at first glance distant, opening up to new perspectives and experiences and looking for new challenges. Otherwise, you risk falling into a rut, and I would never want that to happen to me.

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