Giorgio Armani Collaborates on “The Tree of Life”

by Daniel Haim

Classic Giorgio Armani suiting plays a role in Terrence Malick’s highly-anticipated film, “The Tree of Life, ” which opens in the US this Friday. For the production, Giorgio Armani worked in partnership with costume designer Jacqueline West.

Written and directed by Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life” is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family, set in the 1950s. The film centers on eldest son Jack, played as an adult by Sean Penn, as he tries to mend a complicated relationship with his father, played by Brad Pitt. Giorgio Armani designed the wardrobe for the Adult Jack character, which includes suits, shirts and neckwear. Two suits in particular are worn in prominent scenes in the film: a classic black and a light charcoal grey, both designed in two-button notch lapel silhouettes.

Mr. Armani comments: “What a pleasure to find myself working alongside this creative conclave. My professional relationship with Jacqueline has been a sartorial success story. Her exquisite talent makes film wardrobe key to the cinematic experience. Her work reminds me how clothing plays a leading role on screen.”

Costume designer Jacqueline West, nominated for an Oscar for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, continues: “I’ve found Mr. Armani to be one of the most dedicated and inspirational designers I could ever hope to work with on a film. In ‘The Tree of Life,’ the grey suit we first see Adult Jack wearing is beautifully architectural. The suit represents the grey, ultra modern cityscape of present day Houston, the starkness and the bleakness that imprisons him, the grey glass and steel of his home and life. The black suit that Sean wears, for me, represents the clash of the present with the ancient prehistoric landscapes of nature. The lines of that perfectly crafted suit delineate modern man confronting mankind’s beginnings. For me, nothing could have helped tell the tale of Adult Jack better than these brilliantly constructed suits.”

This marks the third wardrobe collaboration between Ms. West and Mr. Armani. As West notes, “He’s dressed everyone with me from Sean Connery (“Rising Sun”) to Justin Timberlake (“The Social Network”) in the most perfectly designed suits.”

Giorgio Armani has been at the forefront of creating wardrobes for major motion pictures since he pioneered the movement by dressing Richard Gere in “American Gigolo” in 1980. Since then, many films have incorporated designs by Armani, including “Shaft,” “Primal Fear,” “The Untouchables,” “Gattaca,” “Stealing Beauty,” “Double Jeopardy,” “The Tuxedo,” “De-Lovely,” “A Good Year,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Ugly Truth,” “Knight and Day,” “Fair Game” and “Hanna.”

“The Tree of Life” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2011 and opens in the United States this Friday, May 27.