Text Cesare Cunaccia
On January 24th, at the Galignani bookshop in rue de Rivoli in Paris, the Dior Images: Paolo Roversi book was presented, which celebrates the relationship between the Maison and the photographer, native of Ravenna, who landed in the French capital in 1973. A solitary, introverted personality, deliberately far from the limelight, Roversi pursues a very conceptual idea and an incessant line of research in photography. It is not by chance that he himself affirmed that “photography is not mere representation, but revelation”. The volume, published by Rizzoli, weaves a journey through images around the universe of Dior’s haute couture, told by the poetic and suffused lens of Paolo Roversi.
Roversi’s immersion in high fashion began in 1990 and led him to create services and individual shots for international magazines. Over the course of 40 years, Roversi has given shape to a peculiar field of representation, transposed in a delicate and evocative dream, using Polaroid film and a large format machine. Thus he has come to create that sign of fragile grace, that suspended and vibrating figure of dense and indefinite chiaroscuro, which makes his style immediately recognisable. A sense of abandonment, of absence and of concentrated and symbolic naturalness. An internalised attitude and an escape into the fantastic that break with the classic posing patterns of the fashion image.
They are shots made for various magazines in the last 27 years and that immortalise models like Naomi Campbell, Natalia Vodianova and Letizia Casta. The frequent use of sfumato, the magical poetic of blurring, return to the origins of photographic art and seek to cancel the gap between the body of the models and the world around it. The clothes of the founder, Christian Dior, and his successors at the helm of the Maison: Yves Saint Lauren, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, RafSimons and Maria Grazia Chiuri, page after page, seem to be surrounded by a radiance emanating from within. The book includes a selection of significant and historical Christian Dior’s creations, documented during a work session by the American stylist Grace Coddington.
Paolo Roversi, Emanuele Coccia
Dior Images: Paolo Roversi
Rizzoli International Publications, 2018, 168 p.