direttore Paolo Di Maira

STAR WIGS/A sign of Italian Handicraft

The monumental structure of curls, feathers and small birds in “Marie Antoniette”, the golden helmet of  “Cleopatra” and
Federico Fellini’s 18 th  century head of “Casanova” (as well as the more recent one of Lasse Hallstrom played by Heath Ledger).
The long ash blonde mane of Anita Ekberg in “La Dolce Vita”, the flirty  coiffures  of  Nicole  Kidman  and  the  ballerinas  in  Moulin Rouge!  Remade  wigs  based  on  those  from  Roman  Polanski’s  “Pirates”, and very normal wigs, like the one worn by Thekla Reuten in “The American”, three in all, although nobody could tell.  “Because a wig, like good make-up, cannot be seen if it is well made”, says  Manlio  Rocchetti,  whose  historic  Roman  workshop  –  Rocchetti  Parrucche  –  ‘designed’  all  the  creations  described  above which  are  on  display  at  the  Italian  Embassy  in  Washington  DC from  April  30 th   to  May  6 th   in  “Star  Wigs:  La  Mano  Italiana  Crea”.
“Weeks of work go into each wig: they are made by hand, hair by hair, and modeled on the actor’s head by taking the measurements and often even making a cast of the head such as, for example, for De Niro in “Once Upon a Time in America”, explains Rocchetti, who won an Oscar for “Driving Miss Daisy”, and who has also been responsible for
the make-up, wigs and special effects for many other cinematographic masterpieces such as “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “The Name of the Rose”, in addition to “Once Upon a Time in America”.
The latest productions that Rocchetti Parrucche has worked on include the second season of “The Borgias” (“six months’ work on the wigs”), “Siberian Education” by Salvatores, and the new thriller by Taylor Hackford, “Parker”, with Jason Statham, Nick Nolte and Jennifer Lopez, filmed in New Orleans and Palm Beach.
The artisan tradition required to create these items was born before cinema was even invented.
Giuseppe, Manlio’s great grandfather, opened his workshop in 1874: “We started by working for the opera and the theater.  It was only after the war that we began to work for the movie industry, although my father was already a make-up artist at Cinecittà”.
On the mini sets built in the Italian Embassy in Washington for the Exhibition, Rocchetti wigs are accompanied by some memorable costumes from movie history, another example of the best artisan and artistic Italian traditions: Burt Lancaster’s tailcoat and Claudia Cardinale’s white dress (created by Piero Tosi) from “The Leopard”, Donald
Sutherland’s shiny lead gray silk suit (which won Danilo Donati an Oscar) from Fellini’s Casanova; Jane Fonda’s silver chainmail outfit for Roger Vadim’s “Barbarella”, the costume for “Cleopatra”, and the corsets, dressing gowns and nightdresses worn by Kristen Dunst in Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette”, which won Milena Canonero her
third Oscar.
There are also creations from other dynastic companies such as Farani and Peruzzi, and newcomer The One, which purchased the warehouse and archives of the historic GP11.
“Star Wigs” is organized by Elisabetta Cantone and Francesca Silvestri’s Dress in Dreams, under the patronage and with the support of the Italian Embassy in Washington DC, the Chamber of Commerce of Rome, Roma Capitale – Assessorato alle Attività Produttive, the Regione Lazio and Finmeccanica North America.

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