Versace’s Casting Director on What Makes a Model a Star
The majesty of Milan Fashion Week is influenced in part by the spectacular model casting the city has become known for. With a preference for bombshells and girls with big personality, the week’s key shows tend to be filled with attention-grabbing women who can bring the dramatic collections to life. While the theatrical vixens at Moschino’s car wash–themed Spring collection and the discreetly cool girls of Fendi may seem to be completely different species, one man controls the casting behind these shows.
Enter Piergiorgio Del Moro, an energetic former law student who began his casting career five years ago and is now at the helm of the majority of Milan’s key collections. Versace, Max Mara, Dsquared2, Moschino, and Emilio Pucci count on Del Moro to select the beauties who grace their catwalks, and season after season he brings vitality and vigor to Milan’s runways. With an eye for new talent and a knack for choosing the right face at the right time, Del Moro’s influence on casting extends far beyond this particular fashion capital, however. With 20 high-profile shows internationally under his purview, Del Moro is arguably one of the most influential men in modeling. On a rare break between shows, Del Moro shares the story of the super who got him interested in models in the first place and what, in his opinion, makes the perfect Versace woman.
When did you first become interested in modeling and casting?
I have been collecting fashion books since I was 19 years old, and I was fascinated by Linda Evangelista and her way of adapting and transforming herself in front of the camera. I came to New York after working in a production company, and I had only one friend in town—Patti Wilson. She was my mentor and she gave me my first job as a casting director. This was five years ago. I didn’t know any agencies in New York and nobody was picking up the phone. I began at Ermanno Scervino in Milan. At that time I cast Karlie Kloss when it was her first season in Europe.
What is the first thing you notice about a model when you meet her?
How much self-confidence she has, the way she moves, her eye contact and gaze. Personality is the key.
This season you’re casting an astronomical amount of shows, including Fendi, Moschino, and Versace. I’m sure you must be approached by designers all the time—how do you decide which clients to work with?
First of all, I have an amazing team working with me, including my associatesSamuel Ellis Scheinman and Giulia Massullo. They help me manage each client’s needs. Second, I need to trust the client and their work. Working up to the show is an intense time for any designer, and often the atmosphere can become tense and difficult, so money cannot be the only reason to accept a show. You must believe in their work and value the relationships that come along with these collaborations.
What do you feel is the biggest misconception people have about casting?
Let’s put it this way: It took two years to explain to my father why clients use casting directors. He’d say, “Why do they need you to pick a model? Don’t they have taste?” A good casting director has knowledge of both fashion and each model’s history. To be successful you need to understand branding and translating a client’s vision.
You’re constantly seeing new faces. What would you say is the trend at the moment?
Characters, interesting beauties, although some of them I am afraid don’t last more than one season—they are too specific.
When it comes to Versace—a label that is so associated with models—what do you look for in terms of women?
Femininity—not the commercial and vulgar variant, but something sophisticated and powerful. Versace is a brand that makes women feel confident and sexy. Since we started working with them, we have been working in two different directions: finding the new Versace girls and inviting some iconic women back to the runway. All of them love walking in Versace because they feel sexy and beautiful and because Donatella has an unbelievable energy.
Moschino this season was a whirlwind in terms of its casting and energy. What was it like working with Jeremy Scott on that show?
Jeremy is smart and very fun to work with. He has a very smart approach to fashion and he is super open-minded to new ideas and new types of girls. Sometimes we cast by looking at Instagram. He was always the one who believed in the It girls—one of the first shows Gigi Hadid walked was Jeremy Scott in New York.
You have a background in international law—does that inform your casting work in any way?
Not really, but I have to bring a lot of diplomacy into my work! My law experience certainly helped me to improve my personality and my approach to the business.