Karl Lagerfeld’s Photos Take Over Florence

I. I. (June 15, 2016)
World famous fashion designer, artist, and photographer Karl Lagerfeld’s new photography exhibit “Visions of Fashion” opens this week at Palazzo Pitti, marking the beginning of three years of events on contemporary fashion in Florence.

Karl Lagerfeld
’s “Visions of Fashion” exhibit takes over Palazzo Pitti on Tuesday, June 14th as contemporary fashion takes over Florence. The exhibit opens on the first day of the 90th edition of the Pitti Uomo men’s wear trade show and runs through October 23rd.

The trendy designer’s exhibit consists of photos shot throughout his iconic fashion career, showcasing 200 shots, including photos published by international magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Numéro, and V Magazine.

Curated by Eric Pfrunder and Gerhard Steidl, the exhibit will officially turn Palazzo Pitti’s Costume Gallery into a fashion museum. The exhibit kicks off a round of events on contemporary fashion to take place over the next three years in Florence.

The photos were made with varying techniques, including daguerreotypes, platinum prints, Polaroid transfers, resinotypes, screen-prints, and digital press.  Many photos on display were inspired by classic mythology, including Lagerfeld’s series “Le Voyage D’Ulysse” and “Daphnis and Chloe”. “Today, photography is part of my life,” Lagerfeld said.  “I can’t see life without the vision of photography.”

The German fashion designer, artist, and photographer began his career in 1955 when he won a design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat and was hired as Pierre Balmain’s assistant.  After leaving Balmain and joining Jean Patou, Lagerfeld introduced a series of low-cut skirts and dresses to the Paris fashion market, which did not win over the fashion critics.   He reached international fame in the early 1980s and is currently the head designer and creative director of Chanel, Fendi, and his own label.

Lagerfeld, who is known for lying about his age, debuted as a photographer in 1987 with his first press kit for Chanel at the request of Eric Pfrunder, the brand’s image director.  He produced “Visionaire 23: The Emperor’s New Clothes”, a series of nude pictures of models and celebrities, and also personally photographed Mariah Carey for the cover of V magazine in 2005.

“I look at the world and at fashion with the eye of a camera,” Lagerfeld explained.  “This enables me to maintain a critical detachment in my everyday work, which helps me more than I could ever have imagined."

The event kicks off three years of contemporary fashion events in Florence, an initiative that was created through a joint cooperative between Pitti Immagine Discovery, the Uffizi Gallery, the ministry for economic development and Italian trade promotion agency ICE, and the Centro di Firenze per la Moda Italiana (CFMI) -  Florence’s center for Italian fashion.  CFMI is co-funding the initiative with an annual 50,000 euros over the 2016-2018 period, said CFMI’s president Andrea Cavicchi.