VMAN Exclusive: Venice Film Festival Diary with Fashion Director Gro Curtis

Here’s just a taste of what went down this week

The Venice Film Festival is the chicest cinema affair you can find yourself at. Not even Covid-19 imposed restrictions couldn’t stop Venice from shining like a supernova for the last ten days. Directors such as Pablo Almodovar, Paolo Sorrentino, Pablo Larrain, Ridley Scott and Denis Villeneuve have shown to the world their masterpieces. Venice is not just a movie festival. It’s also something like a fashion week and I’m not just talking about the red carpet. During the festival days, you could see all the big names of fashion enjoying Venice from Mrs. Prada to reclusive Haider Ackermann. As a self-proclaimed movie junkie, I was over the moon when an invitation arrived from the house of Cartier for me to represent V and VMAN and attend Venice Film Festival as their guest. Talk about the kid in a candy store…


I remember once saying that nothing can replace the positive chills NYC yellow cab gives me every time I hail one but I guess I was wrong. Legendary water taxis in Venice (especially if you are lucky and find yourself in Riva) are the most romantic and breathtaking means of transportation. And did I mention the drivers? Or taxi captains? They are the chicest! Always wearing pieces like suede loafers or Loro Piana sweaters.


When in Venice; literally every time you open the camera on the iPhone is like making a postcard. Venice is a living and breathing filter of its one. You don’t need any post-production when it comes to images.


There are so many iconic hotels in Venice situated in former palaces but Gritti is a special place. Its history is mindblowing when it comes to the guestbook. If one had a time machine you could witness Liz Taylor and Richard Burton drinking away their night and ending up in a heated argument. Gritti was the favorite place of Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and so many other movie legends so it’s no coincidence that this is the place to be during the Venice Film Festival.


When traveling with Cartier you get so spoiled to that end that even your gifted paper fan is not just an ordinary paper fan. It comes from the iconic Il Papiro store where every piece is handcrafted and hand-decorated.


The place to be seen while having your Aperol Spritz at Gritti? Most definitely Riva Lounge which is overlooking the Grand Canal with Santa Maria della Salute church and Punta della Dogana. This terrace is built and based on materials used in the design of the Riva Yacht so it feels like a deck of a luxurious boat.


It helps to have friends in high places, especially when the friends come from the house of Giorgio Armani. I felt happy I didn’t have to worry about my outfits as I had Armani tuxedos delivered to my room. No one cuts jackets like Mr. Armani and that’s the reason why they fit as a glove.


You can’t leave hungry for a two-and-a-half-hour movie premier and you can’t leave Gritti without trying Hemingway-style risotto. The legendary writer spent months in Gritti back in 1954. when he was recovering from a crash during an air trip. Hemingway will later say that food and wine in Venice made his recovery possible. One of his top favorites? Unique risotto with scampi.


The seafront of Hotel Excelsior is a legendary entry point on your way to the red carpet for the Venice Film Festival. This tiny dock hosts some of the most famous people in the world during festival days. And even though it can get insanely crowded it’s always perfectly organized.


Red carpets are scary affairs for us mortals who are not familiar with the protocols. You are guided through every inch by experienced handlers and publicists. It’s like theater choreography because you just don’t walk out there. You have to wait your turn, there are places for you to stop, and then there is time for you to leave because at one point a choir of hundred photographers figures out you are not anyone famous.


Our bodyguards and guides from Hotel Excelsior to the red carpet were Cartier bellboys in their perfect uniforms and stunning manners.


One of the main highlights when it comes to this year’s Venice Film Festival was a world premiere of sci-fi blockbuster DUNE directed by Denis Villeneuve. And let’s talk about the cast? Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling and the list goes on. After the screening, the whole team deserved proper standing ovations.


Where do you go to celebrate after? Harry’s Bar, of course. This tiny but magical bar opened in 1931. by Giuseppe Cipriani and everything else is history. This very bar was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Alfred Hitchcock, Peggy Guggenheim and other royalties, Nobel prize winners, designers, and hedonists. Harry’s Bar is home to the Bellini and Carpaccio so it’s no wonder that’s the place where I would gladly move in.


There are cakes and there is Cipriani’s Vanilla Meringue cake. Yes, it’s super sweet and yes, if you eat it every day it’s not good for your beach body or blood sugar levels but it’s simply divine and you should indulge yourself at least for special occasions.


Venice is not about the club scene but the only club worth visiting is the one that Cartier had literally built on the breathtaking rooftop of Gritti hotel. And who could you see lounging around and having fun? Names such as Rami Malek, Jake Gyllenhaal, Edward Norton, Pierpaolo Piccoli and so many more that is no wonder Cartier Club looked like Chateau Marmont in its glory days.

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