Star Wigs: Italian Mastery in Hairstyles

Natasha Lardera (June 13, 2012)
On the occasion of the 2012 edition of Open Roads Star Wigs is a tribute to one of the most important crafts in the film industry and to the skilled artisans who work away from the spotlight to create the heads of the film stars. On display at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò (NYU)

Now playing in theaters, Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth, is the newest Hollywood movie retelling the German fairy tale “Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm that sees our titular heroine targeted by The Huntsman. He has been tasked to find Snow White and return her to the evil Queen Ravenna but ends up trying to help her efforts to defeat Ravenna and claim her kingdom.

Charlize Theron shines as Queen Ravenna, “with mad eyes, her a bit shouty, man-hating, obsessed with beauty (she literally sucks the youth out of women) queen is the epitome of everything a ‘good’ villainess should be.” She looks stunning, as always, in intricate hand-made costumes by award winning designer Colleen Atwood while her golden locks are styled in a fancy updo with braids (for a tutorial on how to do it, check out)

Her hair was created by celebrity hairstylist Enzo Angileri, one of the most coveted and admired stylists working in Hollywood today. His clientele are among the world’s most beautiful and famous men and women: Jennifer Lopez, Faith Hill, Lucy Liu, Tom Cruise, and Nicole Kidman are just a few.

“As a young boy growing up in Sicily and Milan, Enzo dreamed of being a hairdresser. He’d study the hairstyles of his favorite Italian movie stars in black and white films, and the styles by experimenting on willing family members. After Milan he moved to Los Angeles where his career reached new heights in feature films, music videos, commercials, print advertising, and fashion editorial. While his passion lies in editorial work, Enzo has achieved great success creating hairstyles for film.”

Reproductions of Theron's Queen Ravenna's hairstyles can be viewed at Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò until June 15.

On the occasion of the 2012 edition of Open Roads, Italian film festival organized by Cinecittà Luce and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Dress in Dreams by Elisabetta Cantone and Francesca Silvestri present Star Wigs (show ends on June 15), a tribute to one of the most important crafts in the film industry and to the skilled artisans who work away from the spotlight to create the heads of the film stars.

Displayed at Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò are some really spectacular wigs: the enormous creations for Marie Antoinette, film by Sofia Coppola starring Kirsten Dunst (featuring crazy curls, feathers, flowers and little birds), created by Rocchetti & Rocchetti, one of the greatest workshops in the world as well as the 18th century wigs from Fellini's Casanova and from the more recent version starring Heath Ledger exhibited on white and golden faces covered with crystals, created by the Italo-Persian artist Howton Re.

Rocchetti & Rocchetti has been an important player in the entertainment industry since 1874. With its team of 16 expert craftsmen, all women, led by Fernanda Rocchetti (who, at 88, still works non stop), the workshop makes wigs for films, theater and television. Among their most known creations are the wigs for Gangs of New York, the aforementioned Marie Antoinette and Casanova, Tristan and Isolde, The Leopard, Death in Venice and most of Fellini's films (including La Dolce Vita).

Guests can also view, alas not pose with, Elisabeth Taylor's wig for her role of Cleopatra, and Nicole Kidman's for her role in Moulin Rouge. There also are original casts created for Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel.

Star Wigs also includes a special section dedicated to fashion, an industry which has always worked hand in hand with cinema, with maestro Sergio Valente's outrageous wigs along with hair-dresses made of vegetable fibers created by the students of the Rome Academy for Fashion and Costume.

Sergio Valente, hairstylist of the stars, boasts a terrific career that has brought him around the world. He made his debut in 1966 with a cover of Vogue Italy signed by Helmut Newton. He has worked on stars like Marcello Mastroianni, Sharon Stone, Charlize Theron and fashion icons like Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer. His work has been essential not only on film sets but especially on the catwalk and he is requested by the greatest designers such as Valentino, Fendi, Versace and Oscar de la Renta.

Valente was at Casa Italiana and confirmed that “working for both fashion and cinema is similar in a way but very different in another. You need to thoroughly prepare for both, study and create. Yet for fashion you can go crazy, let your imagination and creativity run wild, while for cinema you have to respect some rules. For example a specific style or a certain era.” His creations on display at Casa Italiana are simply breathtaking, they are edgy sculptures that only an skilled artist can create.

Last but not least, people can also see the reproductions of Lady Gaga's most exciting futuristic hairstyles and some of her hairdos created by Rocchetti & Rocchetti for Delfina Delettrez Fendi's jewel exhibition in Paris.

The show is yet another testimony of the grandeur of Italian craftsmanship. In the words of Consul General Natalia Quintavalle, who was at the show's opening, “Italian excellence behind the scenes makes the magic of cinema possible.” Although small we contribute in the grandest way.





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