L'OFFICIEL: How did you start building the script? What does "The Magic of Suits" want to tell the audience and how does it achieve this?
VIRGILIO VILLORESI: The video could be interpreted as a love story between a couple of figures. I wanted to convey a romantic element wrapped in a dreamlike vision. The purpose of the video is to tell the sartorial world of Brunello Cucinelli in a different, original way. I did not want to make the classic video which you can see through my techniques and my stylistic code. Throughout the video, tailoring enters a poetic dimension.
L'O: What are the techniques you used to make the video?
VV: The technique I mainly used is that of stop motion which is a sequence of photographic shots that when put together give the illusion of movement. Between one shot and the other I move the object I'm shooting. It is an extremely long process because it takes 15 to 20 shots to make one second. I mixed this technique in an innovative way with live action shooting also. In fact, I was the tailor. I often become an integral part of my work as an "element," using my hands as a stage presence. In this case I played the tailor whose face is never seen, in order to get even more in touch with the scene I was representing.
L'O: How long did the video take create?
VV: It was about 16 days of shooting, not counting a month for the construction of the animated figures. The figures have been printed on paper and laser engraved. They are real and not made in post production. I printed over 600 details for every single movement and then I re-photographed it in sequence to create the illusion that some characters were animated on the table. It was an extremely artisanal approach. A very intense approach. The video lasts a minute and a half, but remember that it usually takes me about a week to make 40 seconds so I did five seconds a day.
L'O: What was it like working in tandem with the Brunello Cucinelli company, in particular with Carolina?
VV: I had already made another beautiful video with Carolina Cucinelli and with the company, so I felt really good with both. We are united by the desire to create a masterpiece as this work goes beyond the mere corporate video of a collection. In fact in these videos, there are no collections as they are real artistic short films. The company put me in the ideal conditions to be able to express all my talent and gave me total creative freedom. The whole team trusts me a lot. Obviously at the beginning we talk about the idea together, then I develop the creative direction and the storyboard. After presenting it to them, we model it and then they are present while shooting the video. At times I like to improvise and they are totally receptive to that. The little flashes of creativity are what make the difference, just like in fashion.
L'O: Have you ever entered a Cucinelli atelier? What struck you and what are those elements that you then wanted to tell through the short film?
VV: I was immediately struck by the fact that the sartorial world is completely made with hands. My way of working is like this as I often work with miniature objects and I animate with my hands. This is what these two entities have in common, they make the clothes and I make my cinema.
L'O: What does tailoring mean to you?
VV: For me, sartorial fashion is an artisan invitation to play with the imagination. Fundamentally, tailoring at a high level also allows you to realize a vision, something you have imagined and that you can achieve through these skills. When I imagine a tailored suit I think of a garment made with deep attention to detail, a great research, and something that is the result of a great tradition. In Cucinelli's workshop it is nice that a large company like Cucinelli transmits these techniques unlike those who produce in a more industrial way.
L'O: We speak of "the poetics of animation." What is your distinctive trait in achieving this?
VV: I am very attached to dance as I was a dancer and my mother was a ballet teacher. I have a strong sense of the harmony of movement. To create a poetic of animation you have to try to create choreographies. Through movement, speed, rhythm, and amplitude it is possible to create a poetic feeling. Rhythm is a fundamental aspect.
L'O: Who are the masters or directors who inspired you, who helped to train you and made you work in this very particular way?
VV: Norman McLaren is a master, because he always managed to find new methods and he didn't focus only on one technique to make a video. Each work was a way to experience something new and this has always fascinated me. Then let's say the whole European panorama like Jiří Trnka and the Quay brothers. Then there is the whole national film board of Canada. I am linked to experimental cinema, abstract cinema. And for example, one of the greatest authors for me is Jordan Belson. He is an extraordinary director who, in my opinion, was inspired by the optical instruments of pre-cinema. There are many, I usually go to periods, but for sure these are the names of those who always inspire me.
L'O: Do you think there is an invisible thread that connects "L'incanto invisibile" with "The Magic Suits"?
VV: There is a search for amazement that unites all my videos, the search for wonder. In every shot I think about how it can be used as a way to excite the viewer. So yes, the inclination to wonder and dream continue to exist in my work and have a symbolic, dreamlike value.
L'O: What would you like the viewer to feel by watching this short? What do you want to convey or what do you want the viewer to say when seeing it?
VV: I would like people to experience this short in the same way a child gets excited in front of a magic show. With an emotional element of transport linked to amazement. I feel very "childish" from this point of view. I love to play and when I create, I really enjoy myself like child. I try to amaze myself through what I want to convey. The sensations I felt in shooting this video were so powerful and I am hoping that the audience is as excited as I am.