Danilo Donati (Suzzara, 1926 - Rome, 2001) received his formal education at the Accademia d'Arte in Florence where he studied with artist-painter Rosai before he started to work for Luchino Visconti at the Teatro alla Scala in 1954. In 1959 Mario Monicelli asked him to design the costumes for the movie The Great War.
During the Sixties Donati began his artistic relationship with Pier Paolo Pasolini and started to collaborate also with Franco Zeffirelli. In 1968 he was awarded an Oscar for his costumes in Romeo and Juliet. From 1969 onwards Federico Fellini entrusted him with a triple job: costume creator, set designer and interior decorator. Donati won his second Oscar in 1977 as costume designer for Federico Fellini's Casanova.
He collaborated with Roberto Benigni in 1997 on the costumes for Life is beautiful followed by Pinocchio, released in 2002; furthermore, Donati was also an accomplished painter and writer, gaining accolades for his novel Coprifuoco, published by Newton & Compton and a finalist for the Strega 2001, Italy's most prestigious literary award.
In the mid-fifties Piero Farani went to work with his friend Danilo Donati for the costume design studio Anna Mode, where he was employed as executive director until 1962. He left to set up his own costume shop. The first costumes to be designed at the shop's historical location in Rome's Viale Mazzini were the stage outfits for Donati's Hamlet starring famed actors Giorgio Albertazzi and Anna Proclemer, and directed by Zeffirelli.
In those years he collaborated with Pasolini, on ten movies, but also with directors Fellini and Zeffirelli, and with Vadim on Barbarella.
In the following years the costume studio extended his craftsmanship to opera costumes with several forays into the fashion world, as the collaborations with Capucci and Maurizio Galante show. In 1982 Farani chose Luigi Piccolo as the ideal successor for the costume studio which moved to the present Trastevere location in 1985.
The exhibition shows the extraordinary costume collection designed by Danilo Donati during his long and successful career as set designer and costume creator. The costumes were produced in Farani's historical costume design shop directed today by Friulian-born Luigi Piccolo.
One hundred and eleven perfectly restored costumes are on display in eighteen rooms; they had been commissioned by some of Italy's most famous movie directors, ranging from Federico Fellini to Pier Paolo Pasolini, from Franco Zeffirelli to Alberto Lattuada, from Sergio Citti to Roberto Faenza. Directors' voices, film soundtracks and a selection of scripts accompany the visitor on a journey through reconstructed film sets, where full immersion is guaranteed thanks to photo enlargements and the projection of film sequences. In addition, the production of Donati/Farani's costume shop is documented by the designer's costume sketches and by photos showing everyday work at the shop in Rome's Via Dandolo.
The movies which constitute the leitmotif of this endeavour include several of Federico Fellini's masterpieces beginning with Fellini Satyricon (1969), continuing with The Clowns (1970), Amarcord (1973) with the dress of the unforgettable Gradisca, Interview (1987) and Casanova (1976) with the costume of leading actor Donald Sutherland. From The Mandrake (1965) by Alberto Lattuada visitors can admire costumes worn by Philippe Leroy, while the clothes on display from The Taming of the Shrew (1967) by Franco Zeffirelli have been used on the film set by Richard Burton. From Bawdy Tales (1973) directed by Sergio Citti, Pier Paolo Pasolini's favourite pupil, visitors can visually appreciate a series of carnival outfits as well as some costumes from Marianna Ucrìa (1997) directed by Roberto Faenza.
A large amount of space is dedicated to film costumes produced during Danilo Donati's artistic relationship with Pier Paolo Pasolini, for which La ricotta, also known in English as Curd Cheese, gave the start in 1963. On display are a short wool jacket worn by Totò in The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966), followed by costumes for the priests, the magi and the apostles in The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) for which Donati drew his inspiration from Piero Della Francesca's frescoes, and then military clothing featuring soldiers' costumes that recall a martyr's dream in Pigsty (1969), and finally film costumes of “archaic beauty” worn by Silvana Mangano/Jocasta and other leading actors in Oedipus Rex (1967). The main exhibition room is dedicated to Pasolini's Trilogy of Life: The Decameron (1971), showcasing Silvana Mangano's costume as Madonna, The Canterbury Tales (1972) with an outfit worn by Pasolini himself, and Arabian Nights (1974) where helms, spears, handwoven tunics and mantles reveal Danilo Donati's great creative talent. The last room of the exhibition features set costumes from the movie Salò or The 120 Days of Sodom (1975).
HIS COSTUMES ARE SIMILAR TO SCULPTURES WHICH HAVE BEEN FITTED TO THE FILM CHARACTERS
IN COLLABORATION WITH
- Fondo Danilo Donati
- Cinemazero, Pordenone
- Fondo Gideon Bachmann
- Fondo Pier Paolo Pasolini, Cineteca di Bologna
- Fondazione Federico Fellini, Comune di Rimini
- Teche Rai, Roma
- Centro Studi Pier Paolo Pasolini di Casarsa della Delizia
- Comune di Casarsa della Delizia
- Comune di S.Vito al Tagliamento
- SIM2 – Pordenone
- Graphistudio – Arba
- Ma.de. Manzano, Latisana
- Premiate Falegnamerie Sutrio
- Zemis Light Style – Roveredo in Piano