Perched majestically on the cliffs of Punta Massullo in Capri, Italy, Casa Malaparte is a testament to its architectural brilliance, cinematic allure, and its recent embrace by the fashion world. This modernist masterpiece, conceived by the eccentric Curzio Malaparte, has witnessed decades of creative exploration, serving as the backdrop for legendary films and iconic fashion campaigns. From Jean-Luc Godard‘s “Le Mépris” to Karl Lagerfeld’s lens, and now set to host Jacquemus’s upcoming show, Casa Malaparte continues to weave its enigmatic tale.
A CLIFFSIDE MARVEL BORN OF ECCENTRICITY:
Curzio Malaparte, born Curt Erich Suckert, was a man of many talents—writer, journalist, poet, and film director. In the late 1930s, he set his sights on creating a residence that mirrored his own unique personality. Situated on the eastern side of Capri, Casa Malaparte is an angular parallelepiped—a stark contrast to the natural beauty surrounding it. Architect Adalberto Libera was initially tasked with bringing Malaparte’s vision to life, but their collaboration was short-lived as Malaparte requested “a house like me, hard, strange, frank.” The villa’s pre-Columbian staircase and rooftop terrace emphasize its connection to the sea, creating a seamless blend between nature and architecture.
CASA MALAPARTE IN CINEMATIC REVERIE:
In 1963, Jean-Luc Godard immortalized Casa Malaparte in his film “Contempt” (“Le Mépris”). The iconic scene featuring Brigitte Bardot sunbathing on the rooftop with its Pompeian red hues became etched in cinematic history. The villa, often described as “a Homeric ship run aground,” added a layer of complexity to the film’s narrative. Godard’s lens celebrated the villa’s minimalist lines, creating an enduring visual imprint.
FASHION’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH CASA MALAPARTE:
The allure of Casa Malaparte transcended the silver screen, capturing the attention of fashion luminaries. Karl Lagerfeld, known for his keen eye and appreciation for aesthetics, photographed the villa for a series of Polaroids in 1997, later compiled into a book in 1998. Casa Malaparte’s bold architecture and panoramic views became an integral part of Lagerfeld’s artistic repertoire.
In 2014, the villa became the backdrop for Ermenegildo Zegna‘s UOMO fragrance commercial, directed by Jonas Åkerlund. The juxtaposition of high fashion against the villa’s dramatic backdrop added a layer of sophistication to Zegna’s advertising narrative. Saint Laurent followed suit in 2018, featuring Kate Moss in a campaign set against the villa’s monumental staircase. The visual narrative, directed by Nathalie Canguilhem, transformed Moss’s architectural walk into a sensual journey, echoing the harmonious dialogue between fashion and Casa Malaparte.
Louis Vuitton joined this illustrious list in 2019, casting Emma Stone in a campaign for the Cœur Battant fragrance. Against the stunning architecture of Villa Malaparte and the cliffs of Capri, Stone’s presence highlighted the intersection of fashion and architectural elegance.
JACQUEMUS’S HOMAGE TO CASA MALAPARTE:
As the fashion world eagerly anticipates Simon Porte Jacquemus’s cruise collection, set to be unveiled at Casa Malaparte on June 10, 2024, the designer pays homage to the villa’s legacy. Jacquemus, inspired by Godard’s “Le Mépris” recalls how watching the film led to the creation of his eponymous brand. Now, he feels honored to present his collection in the very location that stirred his creative journey.
Casa Malaparte, not open to the public and still owned by the heirs of Curzio Malaparte, stands poised to become a fashion runway for the first time. Jacquemus seeks to channel the spirit of Le Mépris, infusing his collection with the timeless elegance and avant-garde sensibility synonymous with the villa.
A CINEMATIC AND FASHIONABLE ODYSSEY CONTINUES:
As the sun sets over the cliffs of Capri and Casa Malaparte, it is clear that this architectural marvel will continue to shape the narrative of cinema and fashion. From Godard’s lens capturing Bardot’s sun-kissed allure to Jacquemus’s contemporary vision, Casa Malaparte remains a canvas for creative expression, a testament to the enduring allure of architectural innovation and its profound impact on the world of art and style.