“Fashion photography, like fashion in general, is not something superficial. It’s a language that enables [one] to face many different topics, going beyond a mere representation of a dress.” This is how Vogue Italia’s senior photo editor Alessia Glaviano introduced the first edition of Photo Vogue Festival, a manifestation focusing on fashion photography and running in Milan from Nov. 22 to 26. Founded by Vogue Italia with the support of the city’s municipality, and chaired by Franca Sozzani and Glaviano herself, the event features a series of free exhibitions and lectures.
One of the most prominent among these is artist Vanessa Beecroft’s monographic exhibit, which was previewed on Nov. 23. Called “Vanessa Beecroft — Polaroids 1993/2016” and running from Nov. 24 to 29, the show gathers enlargements of Polaroids presented in the historic rooms of Milan’s Royal Palace, overlooking the iconic Piazza del Duomo.
The centrality of the female figure, which is at the core both of the manifestation’s program and Beecroft’s show, was highly celebrated by Milan’s Royal Palace director Domenico Piraina. During a press preview, the director mentioned former exhibitions held at the venue, including Richard Avedon’s monographic show in 1994 and recent Herb Ritts and Giovanni Gastel’s exhibits, and praised Sozzani’s and Glaviano’s choice to focus on women photographers, setting the Photo Vogue Festival on a different perspective.
“I’m so honored to have the chance to show [my work] here,” said Beecroft regarding the historic Milanese venue. “Living so far from this Italian artistic and architectural heritage, I find it so interesting to be able to show a contemporary work in such a noble location,” she added, underscoring how she considers this contrast much more intriguing compared to the use of modern, aseptic and empty spaces. “This venue elevates my work and makes me consider it even more important than before,” said Beecroft, revealing she got emotional once she saw her images presented in the rooms of the palace.
Beecroft’s color images are single or group close-ups centered on women’s body parts. Realized with a Renaissance-inspired mind-set, the Polaroids have been shot over the past two decades during the artist’s performances.
This is not the first time that she has shown her work in Milan; she had made a performance commissioned by PAC, Milan’s Contemporary Art Pavilion, in 2009. Beecroft is not new to the world of fashion either, counting collaborations with different brands, ranging from Valentino and Tod’s to Kanye West’s Yeezy line.