She is building a house in an unglamorous part of Portugal, south of Lisbon. Elkann’s mother is currently locked in battle with her family (and their advisers) to uncover the extent of Gianni’s foreign assets and full net worth.“There are 80 miles of beach without anyone on it,” says Elkann, who has a master’s degree in directing from the London Film School and who juggles art and film projects when she’s not whipping up spinach soup for friends in her kitchen in London’s Notting Hill. Lapo’s near-fatal overdose in 2005, and his subsequent battle to overcome drug addiction, made headlines worldwide.She’s running late for the opening of an exhibition at the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, the family art space where she serves as vice president.“It’s been a crazy day, and I have to wash my hair,” she says, referring to the mass of chocolate-colored corkscrew curls that graze her shoulders. Later that evening Elkann, decked in Christian Louboutins and Lanvin, greets guests including her two brothers; Lapo’s girlfriend, Bianca Brandolini d’Adda; Franca Sozzani; and Serge de Yugoslavia at the Pinacoteca, a light-box-like structure designed by Renzo Piano on the roof of a former Fiat factory.Since she joined the gallery in March 2006, Elkann has developed its vision as a showcase for private collections from around the world.“We were born from a private collection,” she says, referring to her grandparents’ paintings from the 18th to the 20th centuries, which are on permanent display.
The Pinacoteca’s next show is “State of Mind,” which features contemporary art on loan from Ebrahim Melamed, a Tehran-based private collector with a special interest in young Iranian artists.
Elkann’s eldest brother, John, 32, has taken over the Fiat fiefdom: an billion holding company that owns the automotive group and the Turin soccer club Juventus.
Being an Agnelli, Elkann insists, has been “an adventure—and a privilege,” and adds that she refuses to pay attention to negative press about her family.
Although Elkann clearly possesses the knack for style that tends to run in her family—her Agnelli grandparents and Lapo have been fixtures on best-dressed lists—she insists that, for her, clothes are mostly camouflage.
“I don’t have a supermodel body,” she says matter-of-factly.