It is Giannini, in fact, who first brings up Ford, saying that one of her favorite movies of 2009 was A Single Man. (Avatar, which “was boring, like a fairy tale for children,” not so much.) “It is a legend from the American press that I can’t talk about Tom,” she says. “I am working in a different way, because I’m a very different person. I would never be a film director in my life.”
“What would you be, then?” I ask.
She pauses a second and breaks into a smile. “A desperate housewife!”
Recently Giannini separated from her husband and bought a large house on the Gianicolo, blocks from her childhood home. It is filled with mirrored glass and Art Deco furniture. It was also filled with her parents, who live just down the street, until, she says, “One day I walked out of the shower and my father was playing with my dog. ‘No!’ I said. ‘Give me all the keys, you have to ring the bell!’” Still, Giannini finds herself so harried that she often has to beg her parents to pitch in with household chores: walking the dog, getting money from the ATM. Though she says she doesn’t want to jinx her love life by discussing it, it seems that she may not need her mama’s help for too much longer. “I don’t want to be indiscreet, but I am in a very different moment from my life a year ago,” she says. When I ask if she’s seeing anyone, she takes a theatrical sip of water, pretending to choke, and responds, “Can I answer another question? All I can say is I’m living one of the best moments of my life.”
Despite her domestic fantasies, it’s apparent that Giannini isn’t any more content to spend her days rolling out ravioli than she is to extract inspiration from the usual dreamy totems. One would be hard-pressed, in her office, to find a picture of Talitha Getty. Instead, tacked to the bulletin board, amid thick-stocked notes from Elle Macpherson and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is a printout, filled with pie charts and highlighted in fluorescent yellow.
A close look reveals that it is Hermès sales data. “I am very competitive,” Giannini admits.