Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, cultured art critic and one-time novelist
Rome, Summer 2012
Film: The Great Beauty
(Italian title: La grande bellezza)
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Costume Designer: Daniela Ciancio
Tailor: Cesare Attolini
Few images illustrate Gershwin’s celebrated concept of “summertime… and the livin’ is easy” as effectively as the hammock. Fittingly, #NationalHammockDay comes at us in midsummer, celebrated annually on July 22.
Paolo Sorrentino’s magnificent masterpiece La grande bellezza stars Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, the 65-year-old “king of the high life” whose opulent apartment on Piazza del Colosseo boasts a terrace overlooking the Eternal City. When not hosting his stylish coterie of fellow cultural critics, Jep often takes to the self-suspended hammock positioned on his terrace, drink in hand as he allows his mind to wander while basking under the Roman sun.
What’d He Wear?
In this isolated vignette, we don’t know if Jep had been dressed for the day or if he’s prepared for yet another of his fabulous evening adventures (likely the latter), but he looks characteristically stylish reclined in his hammock, sporting a variation of his “uniform”: clean white shirt and trousers with a colorful linen sports coat.
One of many immaculately tailored for La grande bellezza by Neapolitan tailor Cesare Attolini, Jep’s single-breasted sport jacket is constructed in a cool-wearing powder-blue linen. As with the rest of his wardrobe, the soft-shouldered cut and many of the details are consistent with the Neapolitan tradition that had been revolutionized by Vincenzo Attolini—Cesare’s father—during the 1930s.
The broad, double back-stitched notch lapels roll to the top of the three front buttons, of which Jep is able to keep the center button fastened even when reclined across his hammock. In addition to the flapped hip pockets, the jacket features the celebrated “barchetta” breast pocket—so named for the welt resembling a boat-shaped curve—which Jep dresses with a scarlet, navy, and bronze paisley silk pocket square. The double vents reflect the recent style emerging among Italian tailors, who tended to render their jackets ventless during the Neapolitan heyday of the ’50s and ’60s. Jep’s jacket sleeves are built with the bumped “con rollino” at the shoulder, finished at the cuff with four “kissing” buttons that echo those on the front of the jacket.
Jep wears his usual white underpinnings, consisting of a cotton shirt with a tall collar, plain “French placket”, and button cuffs and his cotton chino cloth flat front trousers. He holds up the trousers with a black leather belt that closes through a well-polished single-toned rectangular single-prong buckle. He holds up the trousers with a leather belt, so dark that it appears black, a surprising contrast against the rest of his outfit. The belt closes through a well-polished silver-toned rectangular single-prong buckle.
In an interview with Michael J. Agovino for Esquire, David di Donatello-winning costume designer Daniela Ciancio confirmed that all of Jep’s shoes were Hogan and Tod’s (both Tod’s Group brands). These split-toe oxfords have black calf uppers, coordinating with the belt but a surprisingly stark contrast for this otherwise light-toned outfit. Jep wears them with light beige socks that add a shade of not-unwelcome warmth between his shoes and his trousers’ plain-hemmed bottoms.
Reclining in the sun, Jep wears a pair of dark brown wire-framed sunglasses with brown tinted lenses and an elegantly thin gold bridge and arms. The retro-cool sensibilities suit Jep’s character while also flattering the shape of his head.
Jep’s watch is almost certainly a Rolex, worn on the Swiss watchmaker’s signature three-piece “Oyster” link bracelet. A reader who emailed Jake’s Rolex World last year proposed that Jep wore a steel Air-King, likely the ref. 14010 with a silver dial that has non-numeric hour markers. However, an Instagram commenter also suggested to me that Jep may more likely be wearing a platinum Rolex Day-Date with an ice-blue dial.
How to Get the Hammock
Given the spirit of the day, I only thought it appropriate to share how to partake like Jep in la dolce vita. Our hero reclines on his terrace on the Unopiù “Amanda”, a self-supporting hammock consisting of an organic white cotton corded two-seat net hooked to opposing sides of a laminated wood arc, itself secured to two perpendicular wooden beams on the ground.
As of July 2021, the Amanda hammock can be ordered from ArchiProducts, which proudly boasts of its connection to La grande bellezza.
How to Get the Look
Even in respite, Jep Gambardella can’t help but to be one of the most stylish movie characters in recent history, reclining on his hammock in a pale blue linen sports coat that gently contrasts against his usual white shirt and trousers, the overall outfit accented by his vintage-inspired sunglasses, colorful pocket square, and refreshing drink in hand.
- Powder-blue linen Neapolitan-tailored single-breasted 3-button sport jacket with notch lapels, wide-welted “barchetta” breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button “kissing” cuffs, and double vents
- White cotton shirt with semi-spread collar, plain front, and button cuffs
- White cotton chino flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black leather belt with polished silver rectangular single-prong buckle
- Black leather split-toe oxford shoes
- Light beige cotton lisle socks
- Dark brown wire-framed sunglasses with round brown tinted lenses and gold bridge/arms
- Rolex Air-King with stainless steel 34mm case, silver dial with non-numeric markers, and steel Oyster-style link bracelet
- Scarlet, navy, and bronze paisley silk twill pocket square
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
You can also read more about the style of The Great Beauty in Michael J. Agovino’s frequently cited Esquire article here and more about Neapolitan tailoring in Sonya Glyn Nicholson’s piece for Parisian Gentleman here. I also recommend this thoughtful tribute to the film’s style from The Tweed Pig.