The fashion here is the antithesis of Sex and the City style—it's classic and subtle, notable for its perfect cuts and luxurious fabrics. As Emma Recchi, the empty-nest mother who has an affair with her son's friend, Tilda Swinton is dressed (by Raf Simons for Jil Sander) in gloriously simple clothes like shift dresses and button-down shirts and accessorized with a Birkin bag. The gaudiest piece in the whole movie is an elegant gold metallic sweater worn by 60s and 70s style icon Marisa Berenson (as Emma's carefully coiffed, studiously thin mother-in-law).
To contemporary eyes used to the excesses and envelope-pushing of the fashion industry, the clothes may look unremarkable. But besides recalling an earlier era of Italian cinema, they signal the tribal values of many upper-class Italian families, where there are expectations about acceptable dress. For more insight into the delightful yet stifling atmosphere of this world few get to experience, read Lisa Brennan's personal essay from the February 2008 issue of Vogue.