Over theyears of strong media exposure, it is hard for fashion to escape the image ofan “all-for-advertising”intent. Indeed, for good reason. Whenyou ask yourself how many real editorials, articles, blog posts you have seenlately - the answer swings from “little” to “none”. A universe of advertorials,where every image, piece of writing or social media post you come across hasbeen paid for and modified for usage on multiple channels with only one target- sales and profit. In the world we live in today it is easy to imagine thatfashion is nothing, but mere business - with money out there, where customers(and promoters) can see it.
Nevertheless, it’s hard for anyone to deny that fashion has always been a form of art strictly linked to cultural and political issues, progresses and protests. Is it identity building, gender revolution, wealth and underdevelopment gaps, environmental concerns or driving forces of consumeris and digitalization - fashion is prone to respond to eventhe most minor change in society in order to reflect who we are today, what wedream of, and what shocks us in the world we live in. The second edition of Vogue Italia Photo Vogue Festival came to Milan this year from 15-19 November to remind us of what lays far beyond crazy financing or Kotler’s marketing strategies. The visual and spiritual beauty of the language of fashion communication.
Representing true historical value and deep acknow ledgement, with which fashion responds to today’s ups and downs, the event draws on 50 years of Vogue Italia’s archives as well as high lighting some of the most brilliant emerging talents of today.
Throughout the November days, the industrial exhibition space - Base Milano - has been home to two collective exhibitions - Fashion & Politics, and PhotoVogue /Visions.
The first one explored how the magazine portrayed some of the most significant issues in the field through fashion photography - an aspect that has raised extensive controversy and discussion over the years. In an attempt to openly bring out photography as catalyst for debate, using retrospective material to explore extreme consumerism, the dangerous appeal of drug abuse and the obsession forextensive plastic surgery. Together with some of the world’s most famous fashion photographers– David LaChapelle, Ellen von Unwerth, Miles Aldridge, Peter Lindbergh,Steven Meisel, Tim Walker and many more - the exhibitionwas curated byAlessia Glaviano and Chiara Bardelli Nonino. Featuring such known editorials as ’Makeover Madness’, ’Super Mods Enter Rehab’or ‘Water and Oil’- the aim was to explore some of the most groundbreakingfashion publications and the social impact they have made through the years.
PhotoVogue / Visions exhibit, on the other hand has scouted the next generation of fashionphotographers. The photos, selected by a panel of critics (among which theinfamous photographer Bruce Weber, New Yorker’s photography critic VinceAletti, and Vogue Italia’s creative director Giovanni Bianco) have been part of thePhotoVogue project as an instrument to launch emerging talents, displaying picturesranging from fashion to documentary, still life and architecture. To top offthe event, PalazzoReale presented aretrospective show about some of the most fascinating and compelling works of Paolo Roversi.
Overall, thelegendary photographs at Vogue Italia Photo Vogue Festival are a vehicle - a door to the visualinterface of the world - a mirror, in which one gets to see himself and the worldaround. As Alessia Glaviano, the magazine’s senior photo editor, mentioned:“They (the photographers)use clothes merely as a tool to tell stories, much like a movie uses costumes.” Although the major part is nowgone, the exhibitions are still available in some of the city venues andgalleries of Milan under the frame of Vogue Italia Photo Vogue Festival, with further information to beuncovered on the official website of Vogue Italia.
Words Ksenia Trufanova
Content Editor Alessandra Gatti