Tanner Hall, the first feature-length film from Tatiana von Furstenberg (yep, the designer’s daughter) and Francesca Gregorini, follows four boarding school seniors making their way, messily, to adulthood. Fernanda (Rooney Mara) pursues an affair with an older married man; Lucasta (Amy Ferguson) grapples with a surprising attraction; Kate (Brie Larson) uses her sexuality to drive a teacher nearly mad; Victoria (Georgia King) sits back, pulls the strings and manipulates the whole lot. Through it all, you’ll probably find yourself gazing at Fernanda’s excellent high-heeled boots and cozy plaid coat and wondering, “hmmn, what year is it anyway?” And that’s exactly what the filmmakers intended. “We set out to make an artful movie about adolescence. We didn’t want to make another high-school drama. No trendy haircuts; no stereotypes; no materialistic teens on their technology. We wanted to have it come from within, especially their style,” says von Furstenberg. “This is hopefully a timeless, poetic piece,” echoes Gregorini. To that end, the directors made sure that the clothing in the movie is not bound to any one decade—there are vintage pieces from the ’30s, boots and denim from the ’70s and those era-defying gray schoolgirl uniforms (with requisite knee socks, of course) courtesy of Diane von Furstenberg. Naturally. So, even if it is the anti-Gossip Girl, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of fashion fun to be had.
Read on for more from von Furstenberg and Gregorini and watch the trailer for Tanner Hall (opening Friday) here.
We loved the girls’ style. How did you arrive at their looks?
TvF: There was a frugality and resourcefulness in our budget, and that’s true of adolescents’ budgets as well. You have to be resourceful and sort of cobble things together. The characters use their wardrobes to express their individuality. We gave the mandate that we needed to use things from many decades to accomplish that suspended-in-time feel. All my Zodiac boots, that I buy on collect on eBay, are in the film. Even the curtains in the dorm room and the bedspread are mine. It’s my lip stain color, my satin slip. The beautiful coat that Fernanda wears at the end that is kind of a tartan, is my mom’s design.
And, Francesca, you’ve said you inspired Lucasta’s look. Tell us more.
FG: She’s a bit more of a tomboy, and as you can see right now with my boots and jeans, Lucasta would probably wear many of these things. I think the characters in many ways are composites of us, and that goes for their style as well.
What did you tell your mom you were looking for in terms of the uniforms?
TvF: We wouldn’t have had the budget for 30 tunics and 30 blazers, so my mom, thank god, designed them. We wanted to focus on the silhouette. We stayed away from anything too ornate, like piping or anything stereotypically “uniform.” In the end, uniforms are utilitarian. I think my mom does silhouettes really well and because of her focus on silhouettes, and her focus on women over 35 years, she really nails it. If you look, the little details on the blazers are incredible and the tunics are so playful and move so well.
You both have great style. What are you wearing right now?
TvF: Francesca spends more money on her clothes. I’m wearing what I always wear. I don’t like any structure. I’m wearing what I call a “house dress” from Forever 21 that I will wear and hand wash, and wear and hand wash, over and over again, and vintage Zodiac boots.
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