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franco zeffirelli

text Matteo Grazzini

February 12, 2020

Best wishes ma Zeffirelli

On the occasion of the anniversary of Franco Zeffirelli's birth, a story between cinema and dream

International and popular at the same time. Loved abroad, he is at home at the Metropolitan as he is at Covent Garden, he has always been deeply attached to his Florence, with which he has shared quarrels and controversies. As if he had never moved from these streets, these squares, these theatres. And instead Franco Zeffirelli has moved, all his life.

When he was very young he left Florence for Rome, assistant director of Visconti in Sensoe La Terra Trema. This was followed by the cinematic transpositions of some Shakespearean masterpieces, La bisbetica domatae un dolcissimo Romeo e Giulietta, and international success. But he, hungry for emotion and passionate, never let the celebrity slow him down.
Director of cinema, television, prose and opera, set designer and costume designer, he is an all-round artist, who over the years has developed a personal and recognizable style. The added value is the aesthetic elegance that is innate to him, the ability to reconstruct the past without a philological intent, but in search of authentic passions and harmony beyond the ages.

We publish an interview with the Master of 2008, an indelible memory, a rare and unique opportunity to understand the magical essence of a man who lived of beauty. The Zeffirelli costume designer speaks to us, about his relationship with fabric and the memories of a young "apprentice" in his father's activity, the representative of fabrics.

He defined his love for fabrics as "mysterious and insatiable". How much has your artistic activity influenced this love? 
Fabric is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary inventions that man has made. Fabrics have accompanied man from the moment he covered his "shame" with an animal skin. The fabric has gone on with the culture of man, becoming an essential ingredient of everyday life, of luxury. It is a fascinating theme like music; a man cannot be without music and fabric.

What is and how was the link with Proposte born? 
My common friends asked me if I was willing to help Proposte also because there is a need to promote the virtues of our industrial and artisan traditions in the world and I did it very willingly saying yes.

Is there a fabric that ties you to a particular memory of Florence or the places where you lived? 
The whole of Florence is familiar to me if I associate the thought of it with that of the fabric. In fact my father had a representation of fabrics from both Como silk factories and English wool. One of the reasons why I studied English from an early age is because my father wanted me to help him when I grew up in communication with Manchester, where there were the factories he represented. I remember a big factory in Como, Rosasco. So I've always been involved in the world of fabric, I used to have fun masking myself with scraps of fabric, inventing costumes for carnival.

What kind of fabric fascinates you the most and which one do you prefer for your clothes and furnishings?
For the home you can use velvet and silks, but there is no limit to man's inventiveness, it gives us everything we need: the refined fabrics, the sturdy ones, those that look like leather, there is an infinite variety of choice. And then we Italians are never at ease, we always invent something new that others copy us and we confirm ourselves at the forefront in the production of fabrics.


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