In Madrid’s 19th Century Palacio de los Duques, surrounded by grand fountains, staircases, and labrinthine hallways… Spain’s leading lady, Rossy de Palma. Spring sunshine and twinkling mischief and ballgowns of course, in bold patterns, with bags, jewellry, and shoes brought personally to the palace by Roger Vivier’s Gherardo Felloni, fitting his crystal-buckled footwear like some fairytale prince… 

Rossy wears dress, ashi studio; shoes, earrings, belt, roger vivier

INTERVIEW

ALI Y. KHADRA: You’ve just wrapped up filming for a new movie adaptation of the French opera, Carmen, in Sydney; how was that?

ROSSY DE PALMA: It was an amazing and beautiful adventure, artistically and humanly. It’s a comedic, modern-day adaptation, and comedy is a genre I’ve always felt comfortable with.

AYK: What can you tell us about your character, Masilda? She isn’t a character in the original opera, and this adaptation is written by [Oscar-winning] screenwriter Alexander Dinelaris Jr (Birdman), so is she the comic relief? Because the original Carmen is quite tragic.

RDP: I am not sure if I can tell you much about her yet – I can’t, actually, I’m sworn to secrecy! – but she is a powerful and mysterious character who loves to dance and sing.

AYK: Okay, fine. Well, we’ve had a sneak peek of Masilda’s wardrobe, and it looks very Thierry Mugler-esque, and of course you were a muse of Thierry’s…

RDP: Yes, absolutely. I worked with the Australian costume team and we were in such great synchronicity. And yes, as you mention, one of the outfits was an homage to Mugler.

AYK: And what was it like to work with Benjamin Millepied? Of course the mainstream audience was introduced to him when he acted in and choreographed Black Swan, but this is his directorial debut for a feature film, right?

RDP: I really loved working with him, and I find it almost impossible to imagine that Carmen is his very first feature film, because he’s such a talented director. And we had a beautiful and strong artistic complicity, which made the pleasure of working with him all the more. 

AYK: Did this film take you back to your musical roots? We’d love to know more about your band days.

RDP: Oh, what a crazy time! It was during the last half of the Eighties and the first half of the Nineties. We were a band of nine people and our musical pop shows were very theatrical and very risky performances – we were wild!

Rossy wears dress, roberto diz; fan, olivier bernoux; gloves, the brightest eyes; shoes, roger vivier

AYK: Where did the name Peor Imposible (‘Worst Possible’) come from? Surely you can’t have been that terrible?

RDP: Hahaha! It was just to advise the audience that came to see us that we were a little amateur and if they didn’t like it they couldn’t say that we didn’t warn them beforehand, and they couldn’t ask for their money back!

AYK: What’s your go-to karaoke song? 

RDP: I can’t choose one specifically but ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor is always a good karaoke song.

AYK: You started to act after being discovered by Pedro Almodóvar in a cafe, and his movies, such as Law of Desire and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown are the classics that really propelled you to stardom. The legend goes that he convinced you to act – is that true, or did you always know you wanted to be an actress? 

RDP: Not at all, I definitely didn’t always know – nothing like that – but at the same time it didn’t surprise me. I was ready to explore art in all its forms.

AYK: You are often described as Almodóvar’s muse, but how has the filmmaker inspired you over the years? 

RDP: Pedro is like family to me and kind of an artistic godfather. He is so much more than an inspiration. 

Top: Rossy wears dress, loewe; headpiece, tolentino; fan, olivier bernoux; earrings, shoes, roger vivier. Opposite page: Gherardo wears antique 19th century French broche with emeralds and diamonds; jacket, shirt, prada. Rossy wears dress, jean paul gaultier; gloves, the 2nd skyn co.; tiara, earrings, shoes, roger vivier.

AYK: While we’re on the subject of the muse, fashion designers also tend to fall under your spell. What has it been like working with Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, and fashion icons of their standing? 

RDP: They are also my artistic family – we have this natural complicity – we belong to the same creative species.

AYK: Has fashion always interested you? 

RDP: Always, since I sewed my first little doll dress when I was six years old. By 12 I was selling flower creations at Palma’s Saturday flea market. 

AYK: How would you describe your style? 

RDP: Better not describe it, because it’s totally eclectic and unlimited. 

AYK: Do you think your unique style and presence has helped to redefine the fashion and beauty industry? 

RDP: No idea at all, but I am very happy with how the industry is beginning to understand that all sizes, skin colors, noses, ears, or whatever these things are that make us different, are something to love and to celebrate. You can’t homogenize beauty.

AYK: You’re currently living in Madrid, but you grew up on Palma. Are you more attracted to big-city living?

RDP: I’m a Mediterranean girl, and I love to be from a beautiful island.

AYK: What do you miss most about island life? 

RDP: I miss the sea and, of course, the palm trees. But I can visit.

AYK: So you’re a city girl?

RDP: I live close to the city, but I’m actually more in the countryside – I need to be close with nature.

AYK: And if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? 

RDP: Mauritius, Bali, Maasai Mara, or Casamance in Senegal

AYK: Finally, favorite sorbet flavor?

RDP: Ah, my favorite question yet! Coconut sorbet.

Top: Rossy wears dress, jean paul gaultier; earrings, shoes (on head), roger vivier. Right: Rossy wears dress, juana martin; shoes, earrings, roger vivier
Rossy wears dress, Moncler by richard quinn; hat, roberto Diz; gloves, givenchy; shoes, earrings, roger vivier

CREDIT

Creative Concept: Studio Sorbet | Photographer: Eva Losada | Creative Director: William Buckley | Creative Producer: Jean-Marc Mondelet | Stylist: Pablo Patané | Stylist Assistant: Juan Acuna | Hair: Kleykafe at Esther Almansa | Makeup: Patrizio Niccolai at Esther Almansa | Manicurist: Luz Belenguer | Production Assistant: Charly Calderon | Cover Star: Rossy De Palma | Location: Palacio de los Duques | City: Madrid  

END OF STORY