A special anthological exhibition celebrating Karl Lagerfeld’s diverse and elegant approach to photography
Fondazione Pitti Discovery celebrated the 90th anniversary of Pitti Immagine Uomo with the special photography exhibition “Karl Lagerfeld – Visions of Fashion”
Fashion designer, photographer, publisher, designer, as well as film director, Karl Lagerfeld has created a universe in which every line is perfectly under control, each detail of absolute importance. His Cartesian mind has hatched a caustic, ultramodern, highly structured style, with an allure and manner which emerge through the graphic symbols that have become his unequivocal hallmarks.
Karl Lagerfeld decided to move behind the lens in 1987, with his first presskit for Chanel at the request of Eric Pfrunder, image director of the brand. Since then he has created and shot his own advertising campaigns for all the brands of which he is the designer.
His passion for photography and for books transforms his campaigns into veritable art books (published by Steidl), while he continues to shoot for prestigious international magazines.
The Palatine Gallery and Royal Apartments
The exhibition is presented in the Palatine Gallery and the Royal Apartments which occupy the entire first floor of Palazzo Pitti. It was the first palace of the Medici Grand Dukes and later the Habsburg-Lorraine, before becoming royal palace and residence of the Savoy family between 1860 and 1919.
The sumptuous Picture Gallery was established in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century by the Habsburg-Lorraine, which they placed in boardrooms around 500 works chosen from among the masterpieces of the main Medici collections. It is an extraordinary collection, which boasts the largest collection in the world of Raphael's paintings, as well as valuable works of the greatest European masters from the Renaissance to the Baroque including Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Titian, Van Dyck, Caravaggio and Rubens.
The Royal Apartments occupy the remaining fourteen boardrooms, located in the right wing of the palace. They housed the Grand Ducal family of Medici and Lorraine, and, since 1865, also the rulers of the Royal House of Savoy (from which they are named) during the brief period when Florence was the capital of Italy.
The rooms are lavishly furnished with furniture from the Medici collections, Lorena and Savoy, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century: tables in semi-precious stones, precious objects and furniture, silk tapestries on the walls in a charming blend of styles He recounts the daily life and the taste of the different eras and different families who lived in these environments.
Opening gallery and exhibition structure
The exhibition starts from Palazzo Pitti's iconic grand staircase, Scalone del Moro, and wind its way through the rooms of the Galleria Palatina, the Sala Bianca and the two rooms of the Appartamenti degli Arazzi in a continuous dialogue between the sizes of the pictures and the exhibition areas: from the smaller, subtle images to be shown in the Galleria Palatina, almost as if to punctuate the tour of the masterpiece-filled museum, to the imposing pictures in the Appartamenti degli Arazzi that converse with the beautiful tapestries on display.
As to the Sala Bianca, where Italian fashion was born in 1951, the curators have selected fashion photos by Karl Lagerfeld printed on lightweight paper that will flutter from the ceiling, recalling the lithe movements of models on the runway.
SALA DELL ILIADE
Sunlight in Vermont
Chanel, Spring/ Summer 2009
Karl Lagerfeld shot the spring/ summer 2009 campaign in a typical New England wooden house located in Vermont, on the banks of Lake Champlain.
The severe and puritan look of the photographs makes it seem like the house has been frozen in the mid 19th century. As the designer put it: "I love this house, it is so Emily Dickinson", referring to the tormented romanticism of the American poet from Massachusetts whose work went unrecognised during her lifetime.
The campaign shots were also inspired by the work of the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi, whose austere interiors with sunlight flooding in through the sash windows are the backdrop for silent feminine meditations.
Homer, The Odyssey
Who are you?
Where are you from? Your city? Your parents?
What sort of vessel brought you?
Why did the sailors land you here in Ithaca?
Who did they say they are?
I hardly think you came this way on foot!
And tell me this for a fact - I need to know - is this your first time here?
Or are you a friend of father's, a guest from the old days?
Once, crowds of other men would come to our house on visits - visitors that he was, when he walked among the living.