Iconic Spotlight : Piero Tosi, by Eva Sereny

Romy Schneider

The award-winning Italian costume designer, Piero Tosi, passed away earlier this month at the age of 92. His illustrious career included notable films such as The Damned (1969), Death in Venice (1971), and La Cage aux Folles (1978). Photographer Eva Sereny worked with Tosi on the set of the film Ludwig and had these memories to share.

“Piero Tosi was perhaps one of the most demanding perfectionists among the costume designers in the film industry when it came to period movies. His research of the historical past gave him a vision which he used with such detail that even the military braiding of the time had to be hand sewn. When he needed lace for one of his gowns – I was told that he flew to Paris to the famous flea market ‘Le Puces” in search of the perfect lace used in that particular era of the film with which he then created an extraordinary dressing gown for Romy Schneider in Visconti’s film “Ludwig”. Tosi had a kind of adoration for the leading ladies of the films he worked with and that shows up why he was able to create such magnificent masterpieces especially for Silvana Mangano who wore them with a natural dignity that the garments deserved. Romy Schneider however, wasn’t used to playing female leads in a period film of Ludwig’s calibre – and the story goes that Tosi found Romy one day in front of a mirror wearing the delicate lace dressing gown – jumping up and down together with a few stretches!! At this point I shall stop writing and leave Piero Tosi’s reaction to your imagination.” -Eva Sereny.

View more from Eva Sereny’s archive here.

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