>> Just in case you missed the Instagram images of me posing cheesily in front of the Colosseum and consuming gargantuan amounts of pasta (see Bryan Boy’s feed), I have been in Rome ensconced in the land of Dolce Vita and enjoying Alta Roma, the city’s sort of, kind of, not really fashion week. With its mix of traditional Roman haute couture houses, young designers from Vogue Italia’s Who’s On Next? talent contest and occurrences and happenings that combine fashion with art, architecture and film, it has been a thoroughly interesting three days. It was already set in stone when I interviewed Silvia Venturini Fendi in Rome back in December, that I’d come back and rediscover a city that whilst isn’t a fashion capital as such has a style that is very much its own.
I’ll be recapping and summarising the delights of Alta Roma but in the meantime, I thought I’d piccy post the Hans Feurer exhibition, which opened last Saturday gone at the sumptuous Pinacoteca del Tesoriere, a private gallery in a palazzo once inhabited by popes and cardinals. Everywhere I go in Rome, I’m doing Valley Girl “Woooooows!” and “This is sooooooo beauuuuuutiful!” because I can’t stop gushing over the venues of Alta Roma events, which Rome citizens naturally take for granted. To place the sensual and saturated images of Swiss legend Hans Feurer in these gilded red and gold baroque surroundings is even more of a visual treat. Curated by Valentina Ciarallo and Maria Chiara Russo, Hans Feurer have selected a specific set of photographs dating from the end of the 1960s to the 1990s as a retrospective entitled “Fashion without a Label” that stems from Feurer’s coffee table tome, which came out last year.
Feurer is most famous for his campaigns for Kenzo in the early eighties for Kenzo Takada, taking his world-travelling rich mix of prints and textures to the remote deserts of North Africa and allowing people like Iman to flourish in these beautiful settings. Mr Kenzo Takada himself was present at the exhibition, explaining to me in his halting English that he felt a poetic connection to Feurer’s work (oh, and his verdict on what Carol Lim and Humberto Leon are doing at his namesake label – “Very young, very dynamic – I like!”). Feurer’s work is from a bygone age of eschewing retouching and filters and instead letting natural light, clever composition and the incredible backdrops do all the work, particularly in his beloved Africa.
There’s more to Feurer than well-travelled editorial imagery that skew “ethnic”. From his graphic and timely work in the 1960s for Nova magazine to his sultry but never distasteful images for the Pirelli calendar in 1974 to his nuanced shoots for the likes of Elle, i-D, Vogue and Numero (he still shoots regularly today), Feurer has a distinctive aesthetic that can be hard to pin down in words. His photographs evoke a sense of mystery and intrigue that is almost under appreciated in today’s transparent world.