Documentary on 'Italy's most iconic fashion designers' in the making


A model presents a creation by Fendi during the Spring/Summer 2021 Milan Fashion Week in September. Photo: AFP

Emmy-winning US director and producer John Maggio is shooting Milano, a high-profile documentary on the rise of the Italian fashion industry that is expected to feature many of Italy's most iconic fashion designers.

Maggio, who most recently directed HBO documentary The Perfect Weapon, based on the best-selling book by David E. Sanger about the rise of cyber conflict, has been in production on location on the new project since late October, which was written and developed by Italy-based American journalist Alan Friedman.

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"There have been plenty of films about individual fashion houses," Friedman – who is a former Milan correspondent for the Financial Times – told Variety.

"But there's never been an independent, fair and balanced look at the extraordinary story of the birth of Italian fashion in the 1970s and 80s and how it's so influenced American lifestyle and world lifestyle."Milano is being produced by Friedman's Beaver Lake Pictures shingle in tandem with prominent Italian outfit Eagle Pictures and Enzo Ricci's Milan-based 3 Mary's Entertainment, in association with Maggio's New York-based Ark Media production company.

The documentary will apply for Italy's tax rebate for production. Friedman, who previously produced the doc My Way: The Rise And Fall Of Silvio Berlusconi, that is currently on Netflix, said the plan is to have Milano completed by Autumn 2021 and to sell it to a streamer.

The documentary will be shot mostly in Milan, but also in New York and Los Angeles. The executive producer is Italian director-producer Giuseppe Pedersoli whose documentary The Truth About La Dolce Vita premiered at Venice in September.

"I am really excited to be tackling the inside story of the birth of Milan as a fashion capital and the story of the Italian designers and creative visionaries who made it happen," Maggio said in a statement.

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Maggio in 2019 won the Emmy for "Outstanding Business & Economic Documentary" for HBO documentary Panic: The Untold Story Of The 2008 Financial Crisis.

Friedman said he sought out Maggio to direct Milano because "we liked the idea of having an accomplished award-winning American who is not from the world of fashion, so we can look at it with outside eyes, independently".

As to which Italian designers will be featured, Friedman declined to name names but said he expected the collaboration of "many of Italy's most iconic fashion designers" and that he hoped this would be "the definitive documentary on what really happened and how the miracle and the magic came together in Milan". – Nick Vivarelli/Reuters

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