Even with a surge in new media, Vogue Italia remains one of the leading forces in fashion imagery. Thanks to its late editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, the international edition of the glossy kept itself in headlines for the decades she lead the magazine, from 1988 to 2017. Now, it's readying itself for its most poignant offering of politically charged photographs at the Photo Vogue Festival in Milan.
Across over 30 photos, some of which you'll see in the slideshow ahead, the exhibition is one of three festival submissions by Vogue Italia that illustrate its role in bridging the conversation between fashion and its relevance to topics like gender, racism, politics, class — and, of course, sex. A curation of works by photographer Paolo Roversi and images selected by an international panel of experts will be on the photography platform of Vogue.it, as well.
However, the glamorous appeal of these shoots doesn't mean they haven't been met with their fair share of controversy over the years — with Sozzani taking the brunt of most of the mainstream's critiques (leading her to be dubbed the 'Queen of Controversy' by Forbes). From several Steven Meisel-lensed editorials depicting domestic abuse, "tribal" themes on white models, to police brutality, and more, many readers accused Sozzani of glorifying and coopting the offensive themes for the sake of advertising, as opposed to her intent of using her platform to bring said issues to light when no one else was talking about them.
Curated by Alessia Glaviano and Chiara Bardelli Nonino, and on display from November 16 to 19, the exhibit features an array of the standout, politically rousing images by everyone from Bruce Weber to David La Chapelle to Ellen von Unwerth, Miles Aldridge, Peter Lindbergh, Tim Walker, and more. Without the photographers who decided to use their talents to take a stand on such polarising topics, it's safe to say these photographs wouldn't exist. Though the images ahead were born in print, it helps that they're all on view at Vogue Italia's website right now, in the odd case that you can't make it to Milan for the exhibition.