Visual Commentaries

Following the success of the inaugural Photo Vogue festival in Milan in 2016, this November sees the only international event devoted solely to fashion and photography take over Italy’s fashion capital for the second time. Drawing key industry figures, photographers and curators from around the world, the event spreads out across the city and, with several exhibitions already announced, promises to be a step up from last year’s hugely successful run.

A number of events will be held at the fashionable Base Milano, a space dedicated to innovative creative projects. Amongst them, Fashion and Politics in Vogue Italia explores the capacity of fashion photography to engage with issues of gender, wealth, consumerism, environmentalism, protest and identity. The exhibition posits that fashion photography only remains relevant in as much as it is able to reflect and capture societal change in playful and creative ways, bringing thought provoking issues to a diverse audience. With this in mind, the event looks at the magazine’s history of commissioning contentious photographic work, and ask what effects this may have had for society at large, whether in terms of acting as commentary, satire or a catalyst for debate. Including work such as Bruce Weber’s A Letter to True Hope (2003), Ellen von Unwerth’s The Vagueries of Fashion (2001), and Steven Meisel’s Makeover Madness (2005), curators Alessia Glaviano and Chiara Bardelli Nonino show the extent to which the magazine has anticipated issues such as the morbid obsession with plastic surgery, the media’s glamorization of rehab clinics and extreme consumerism. Also held at Base is the PhotoVogue exhibition, showcasing results of a scouting project initiated by the photography platform of, to which photographers can apply until the end of September, and one of whom will be selected to shoot an editorial spread for Vogue Italia.

From those just starting out in the industry to established heroes, Palazzo Reale will be hosting Paolo Roversi Stories, an exhibition showcasing the diverse work of one of Italy and the world’s most renowned photographers, whose output has been the subject of nearly 20 solo shows and published in 9 monographs. Including examples ranging from high fashion shots to nude portraits and still-lives across nine rooms of the Prince’s Apartments, the show provides a stunning overview of the Roversi’s highly aesthetic work and emphasis on texture, format and especially light. With all these events and more coming to Milan for three days in November, there’s never been a better time for a city break.

Photo Vogue Festival is across Milan from 15-19 November. For more information:

1. Vogue Italia, March 2008 © Miles Aldridge.