You'd be forgiven for not recognising the name Aldo Fallai upon first glance. An acclaimed photographer, Fallai has spent more than three decades at the side of designer Giorgio Armani as a longtime creative collaborator, and more importantly, as a friend.
Armani and Fallai's working relationship lasted more than three decades since the mid-1970s – a time when Armani had yet to ignite his own namesake fashion label, instead freelancing and collaborating with other notable brands of the time.
Since their initial meeting as graduate from the Institute of Art, it was said the pair had "an immediate understanding". Their film-like fashion portraiture focussed on the idea of models as characters; clothing a subtle compliment – more about being noticed than remembered.
Underscoring their relationship – and in an effort to shine the spotlight on Fallai's practice – Armani is staging a monographic exhibition of photographs entitled Aldo Fallai for Giorgio Armani, 1977 – 2021 at his Silos space in Milan.
Curated by Armani, his sister Rosanna Armani and longtime collaborator Leo Dell’Orco, the exhibition is an exploration of the unique collaboration that defined the very essence of an aesthetic that has made its way into the collective imagination.
Running across two floors, the exhibition covers almost thirty years of Armani and Fallai's uninterrupted partnership. The 250 photographs are displayed without captions, and in a "strictly unsystematic order" – a testament to their seamless cohesive narration.
There’s a photo with a tiger cub, taken in Palermo when the troupe took refuge at the Togni circus one rainy day; another depicts the Venetian Lagoon, evoked in studio, and the statues of the Foro Italico translated into a play of sharp, graphic shadows.
“Working with Aldo allowed me from the very beginning to transform the vision I had in my mind into real images: to communicate that my clothes were not just made in a certain way with certain colours and materials, but that they represented a way of life," said Armani.
"Because style, for me, is a total form of expression. Together, with a constant fluid and concrete dialogue, we created scenes of life, evoked atmospheres and sketched portraits full of character. Today, looking back at everything we did, I myself am struck by the power that these shots still emanate, and by Aldo’s great ability to capture the nuances of personality."
When does the exhibition open?
The Aldo Fallai for Giorgio Armani, 1977 – 2021 exhibition will be open to the public from 5 December 2023 until 11 August 2024. Tickets are available now via the Armani/Silos website.