How to Harness the Chic Sex Appeal of an Italian Movie Star

Italian women have mastered the look of the sophisticated bombshell. It’s not easy to be super sexy, yet elegant at the same time—it’s a delicate balance—but if you can pull it off, you can take over the world.

In the current cultural moment, when women have (finally!) begun to embrace our curves, and to reclaim the power of the feminine aesthetic, it’s clearly the perfect time to reflect on the strong, womanly style of the power-babes of Italian cinema. So take notes…

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.27.13 PMMonica Vitti <3

If you haven’t seen the acclaimed films of 60s filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni, they’re worth watching. His films are beautiful, moody, and they deal with the same existential issues that give us anxiety today—ya know, Who am I? and Should I date this guy or nah? But most importantly, his films will leave you girl-crushing on Monica Vitti, the chic, sandy-haired Roman actress who was both his muse and wife. No one has ever made existential distress look quite as sexy as Monica Vitti.

Both on-screen and off, Vitti was known for her elegant style (and she’s still gorgeous today, omg). No matter the role, she managed to pull off everything sartorial, from loose-fitting blouses, to cotton pullovers, to form-fitting cocktail dresses. She paired tousled hair with solid colors, and always showed some skin, but never too much. Who knew being a lost soul could be so glamorous? (Note: It can be fun to play the damsel in distress because at the end of the day, life is theatre—don’t worry, it doesn’t make you any less feminist.) 

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If you’re looking for a movie to watch with your lover (and to impress him if he’s a Young Male Artist #YMA), try L’avventura / The Adventure (1960), which is almost as confusing as David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001). Still, the film, like most of Lynch’s works, is not about following a plot that makes sense. It’s about addressing the confusion and what ifs of life, which is a lot like dating. In L’avventura, Vitti goes from black dresses and bathing suits to white, loose blouses that flutter in the wind as she hangs out on a yacht in the Mediterranean. Not to mention, the woman’s face is a work of art (big lips and big noses are literally heaven — please don’t get a nose job unless you actually need one for your sinuses).

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To get in the mood of a sexy, temptress (maybe you’ve dumped your YMA for a finance guy who’s taking you to a dimly lit jazz bar), go for something black and classic, but with a sultry twist—maybe a hint of lace, or a Bardot neckline, or a printed stocking. Off-the-shoulder, form-fitting dresses are very “I’m drinking Prosecco on a terrace in Rome” (but also, in a another sense, very Pretty Woman). If you just got dumped, walk down the street with one on. Seriously. It works.


Monica Bellucci being her normal self a.k.a. a goddess

But there’s another Monica. Let’s fast-forward a few decades to the 1990s and early 2000s, to the strong, feminine, curvaceous beauty that is Monica Bellucci. Like really, when you’re babely enough to play Mary Magdalene in The Passion of the Christ AND to be the oldest Bond girl ever, you’re doing something right. Monica has always embraced her curves, even in the 1990s and 2000s, when being skinny was largely seen as the only way to be attractive as a female. Sometimes, when we are hating our own bodies, it’s good to see other people who have similar body types to us, who remind us that we can also look amazing. For me, Bellucci has long been that person.


It’s not easy to show a ton of cleavage and not look trashy. Bellucci oozes sexuality, but still looks classic. She pulls this off by wearing structured clothing, and dresses with an immaculate fit. She likes to keep it simple, often opting for a quality, little black dress, maybe with a pair of chandelier earrings, allowing her body to be the main attraction. She’s always perfectly put together, often letting her aesthetic verge into more gothic, (and sometimes even S&M territory).

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Written by Karley Sciortino and Kristen Cochrane.

This post was brought to you in partnership with  Luisa Via Roma



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