Taken from the August issue of Dazed & Confused
With her powerful onscreen presence and penchant for tackling disturbing or provocative material, Asia Argento is a force to be reckoned with. The Italian actress and director, who recently released Total Entropy, an album featuring the likes of Tim Burgess and Brian Molko, is this season lending her darkly alluring aura to Ermanno Scervino’s cinematic AW13 campaign in louche silk slips and refined eveningwear. She’s currently in Rome, immersed in work on her secretive new film Misunderstood – her first feature-length project as director in almost ten years. “Life’s about being real and making art every day,” she says in husky tones. “I live in an alternate fantasy world, which is absolutely real. My fantasy world is my reality.”
How did the campaign with Ermanno Scervino come about?
My mother has known Ermanno for many years, but it wasn’t until I went to one of his shows and we sat down and had a really beautiful conversation that I got to know him. Then he asked me to do the campaign. It was beautiful. Ermanno really saw the images. He had the point of view of an artist.
Ermanno Scervino also dressed you for Cannes this year...
We did a great collaboration on a dress inspired by one of his. I’m so tired of everyone dressing in stupid huge gowns and ridiculous hair and make-up – it’s so passé. My middle finger on the red carpet was a reaction to that. It meant, ‘I’m with you but I’m not with you. I’m part of you, I love you, but I’m creating a separation between us because I’m not like you.’ I wanted to look like I’d just got out of bed in a very elegant slip, slightly Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I think simplicity is the real elegance.
You’ve worked on both sides of the lens as director and actress. Which is closer to your heart?
Directing is the most rewarding because it holds everything – music, photography, acting, fashion. You get to dream one dream with the people you work with.
Your album hints at exploring very different directions. How would you define your sound?
It’s poetry, really. I have no ambition to become the new Beyoncé. I like to work my poetry within the confinements of the metric system and find a melody there. And I use my deep voice as an instrument, almost like a trombone.
In 1993 you turned 18. Is there any advice you’d like to give yourself at that age?
I went to see Nirvana in Rome and Kurt Cobain came over and asked me for a cigarette. I felt like he was kind of reaching out to me because he sat down next to me. I wanted him to think I was cool so I didn’t speak a word to him – you know, youth stupidity. We just smoked in silence. And then the next day he tried to commit suicide for the first time. I always felt bad that I didn’t say, ‘Let’s go for a ride on my scooter, I’ll show you Rome,’ or something. He might have said no but it’s still my one regret.
Hair and makeup by Antonio Pruno, special thanks to Roma Boutique Hotel