MILAN — An exhibit spanning more than four decades of Italian fashion and culture seen through the lens of photographer Bob Krieger was unveiled today at the Palazzo Morando museum in Milan, located in an 18th-century building in the tony district near Via Montenapoleone.
Opening tomorrow and running through June 30, the “Bob Krieger Imagine. Living through fashion and music. ’60 ’70 ’80 ’90” exhibition displays around 200 images, alternating editorials and iconic campaigns of Valentino, Gianfranco Ferrè, Versace, Missoni, Laura Biagiotti, Gucci and Fendi, with portraits of Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Miuccia Prada and models Linda Evangelista, Iman and Janice Dickinson.
“I had a problem: When asleep, I could hear the voices coming from all the suitcases I had in the next room that I didn’t dare to open for a long time,” recalled Krieger, referencing his private collection of imagery treasured in a range of luggage.
Maria Grazia Vernuccio, who is a longtime friend of Krieger and curated the exhibition, convinced the photographer to look back at his archives and helped him in the “difficult selection” of the most significant images to showcase at the venue.
Through a black-and-white setup conceived by architect Carlo Colombo and juxtaposing three-dimensional mood boards of pictures to single shots, the exhibition’s photographic journey retraces a pivotal moment for Italian history — the rise of the Made in Italy culture in the world.
“In the Seventies, we invaded the U.S. with our fashion…and I feel part of this invasion, along with Armani, Versace, Ferrè and all the others because we were in this together,” said Krieger, mentioning a 1976 cover of the American Vogue stating “Italians are coming!”
“Paris was the capital of fashion and we managed to dethrone it,” he continued, professing his love for Milan, “a city that has given me a lot.”
“I did a job, I have some merits but at the end what I did was to impress the merits of other people of this city,” said Krieger, who believes that the Italian fashion industry “is still a family, even if sometimes there’s some infighting.”
He also borrowed the words of Giorgio Armani, which adorn a wall of the venue, saying that people are influenced by the cities they live in. Krieger’s relationship with Armani also provided him with one of the best memories of his career.
“My moment of glory was in 1982 with the first Time cover dedicated to Giorgio Armani, featuring a portrait I took for him. It was the first time an Italian designer was on the cover of such an important weekly and it was a consecration, like a Nobel Prize, simply amazing,” recalled the photographer.
In addition to Armani’s portraits, a 1980 picture of Carol Alt posing in a fringed Gucci leather look and a striking 1992 portrait of Linda Evangelista donning a Gianni Versace yellow puffer over a signature printed shirt are among Krieger’s eye-catching images displayed at Palazzo Morando.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1936, Krieger moved to Milan in 1967 to start his photographic career. In addition to working with fashion designers and international publications, he also portrayed prominent figures across all industries, including Gianni Agnelli, Bill Gates, Marco Tronchetti Provera, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Lapo Elkann, as well as Charlotte Rampling and Rupert Everett, among others.
The “Bob Krieger Imagine. Living through fashion and music. ’60 ’70 ’80 ’90” exhibition is open to the public upon an admission fee of 12 euros and it is flanked by the release of a namesake book curated by the Imago Art Gallery, which represents the photographer.