In Milan, Celebrating A Thirties Icon With Millennial Appeal
In a gesture of atypical extravagance, Greta Garbo would order up to a hundred pairs of shoes at a time from Salvatore Ferragamo. At the Saturday opening of a Ferragamo-sponsored exhibition devoted to Garbo’s style, Salvatore’s widow Wanda shared her impressions of the actress. “Her bearing,” she said, hauling herself up ramrod straight in an echo of Garbo’s posture. “And her eyes. They were gray.” Which helps account for Greta’s mesmerizing gaze in the black-and-white movies that sealed her reputation as the most enduringly timeless of stars. The impressively comprehensive show should also help to consolidate her status. Exhibitions of the bits and pieces that belonged to Hollywood legends tend to leave you flummoxed by how minuscule the greats were. (It’s not just exhibitions either. Can that truly be Elizabeth Taylor’s footprint sealed in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese? Is the woman a leprechaun?) Garbo’s Ferragamo footwear, at least, was reassuringly normal in size. And, according to the show at Milan’s Triennale, her outfits maintained the same remarkably consistent real-woman silhouette from the thirties to the sixties. Hence that timelessness. You could imagine almost anything she wore stepping out onto the Milanese catwalk right now. In fact, in a week where Miuccia Prada celebrated womanly shape, there couldn’t have been a more timely museum opening.