Karl Lagerfeld joined the party of men’s fashion greats celebrating Pitti Uomo’s 90th edition on Thursday. The designer descended on the Palazzo Pitti, one of Florence’s most majestic homes of the Renaissance, where an exhibition of his photographic oeuvre called “Visions of Fashion” is under way until Oct. 23.
Sharing space with the works of the period’s greatest masters, including Titian, Rubens and Raphael, are some 200 images shot by Lagerfeld for ads and editorials showing off the designer’s use of various techniques including daguerreotypes, Polaroid transfers, platinum and digital prints as well as the resinotype process.
“Today, photography is part of my life,” he explained, adding: “I look at the world and at fashion with the eye of a camera. This enables me to maintain a critical detachment in my everyday work, which helps me more than I could ever have imagined.”
At the top of the palazzo’s grand staircase, a full-body shot of Natalia Vodianova in an enchanted forest greets visitors, while further down in the master gallery Cara Delevingne is seen sprinting in a pair of embroidered sneakers for Chanel. But it is clearly Lagerfeld’s gang of male muses that gets pride of place: Cue Brad Kroenig dressed as a painter, Jake Davies and Sebastien Jondeau acting out roles from Homer’s mythological tales in landscape photomontages, and a seminude Baptiste Giabiconi squirming and twisting in “The Beauty of Violence,” an expressive photo and video series.
Chosen by publisher and longtime Lagerfeld collaborator Gerhard Steidl and Eric Pfunder, Chanel’s image director, the exhibit is part of a collaboration with the Uffizi Gallery.