An Influential Collection

An Influential Collection

Gertrude Stein famously posed the ultimatum: “You can either buy clothes or buy pictures.” As style maven and entrepreneur Carla Sozzani has demonstrated through her career as an editor and gallerist, being a connoisseur of both photography and fashion certainly has its merits.

The Milan-based aesthete, who was a close personal friend of Helmut Newton, served as Editor-in-Chief of the Italian imprints of both Vogue and Elle, and founded the concept store 10 Corso Como, is no stranger to photography collecting. Over the past several decades, she has amassed more than 1000 pieces, many of which have been exhibited at the tastemaker’s eponymous gallery. Pictorial jewels from Sozzani’s personal collection – which include snapshots by Erwin Blumenfeld, Arthur Elgort, Bruce Weber, Carlo Mollino, and Newton himself, amongst others – are the subject of this Helmut Newton Foundation show in Berlin, which paints a picture of a life spent living at the intersection of fine art and high fashion.

More than 200 pieces, all developed in black and white, from Sozzani’s holdings can be experienced in this presentation, iterations of which were previously mounted at Gallery Azzedine Alaïa in Paris and Switzerland’s Museum of Fine Arts Le Locle. The gallerist’s affinity for the daring is also represented through a selection of avant-garde images. These somewhat unexpected works include nudes by Francesca Woodman, still lifes from Man Ray and William Klein, and shots by Duane Michals. The range and quality of imagery present throughout the Berlin adaptation of this exhibition are indicative of a collection built by an astute aficionado with a keen eye and an unbinding appreciation for the both the figures in front of and behind the lens.

Between Art & Fashion. Photographs from the Collection of Carla Sozzani is open until 18 November. Find out more here.

Stephanie Strasnick

1. Mario De Biasi, Gli Italiani si voltano (Italians turn around), 1954. Museum für Fotografie