Giorgio Armani celebrates sensual photography of Aldo Fallai

Giorgio Armani celebrates sensual photography of Aldo Fallai

When Giorgio Armani emerged to prominence in 1970s Italy, he proposed a new way of dressing. It was epitomised by his riff on the suit jacket: stripping away its previously rigid structure and synonymy with stuffy formality, his take was defined by a languid elegance, unstructured in design and made to release the body from restriction. Such a philosophy has followed him throughout his career, across both his eponymous label and its various offshoots, including Emporio Armani. ‘It gives presence, stature and dignity,’ he told Wallpaper* of the tailored jacket in a conversation with Paul Smith. ‘And it is one piece: you attain more with less.’

In Florentine photographer Aldo Fallai – who he met when Fallai was still a graphic designer in Milan in the early 1970s – Mr Armani would find a natural ally. In 1977, they worked together for the first time; the resulting collaboration, which would span three decades, saw them refine a vision, particularly of masculinity, which was both widely influential and decidedly Armani. Rigorous in composition, yet imbued with a feeling of sensuality – often the images would celebrate the beauty of the human form – the photographs they produced together continue to define the spirit of the house today. 

Armani Aldo Fallai Exhibition

(Image credit: Photography by Aldo Fallai)

Armani Aldo Fallai Exhibition

Emporio Armani A/W 1994 

(Image credit: Photography by Aldo Fallai)

And now, in Mr Armani’s Milanese hub and exhibition space, Armani/Silos, the designer pays ode to Fallai with a monographic exhibition of the photographer’s work, spanning 1977-2021 (until 11 August 2024). Curated by Mr Armani, his sister Rosanna Armani and Leo Dell’Orco, head of men’s collections, the wide-ranging exhibition celebrates what the designer calls an ‘artistic dialogue’, one largely led by an instinctual connection between the pair. Said to have been inspired by a melange of influences – from Tuscan mannerism and Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro to the pre-Raphaelites – Fallai’s evocative subjects include a man grasping a tiger cub under his arm (photographed in a circus in Palermo), couples in embrace or amid ruffled bedsheets, or model Antonia Dell’Atte playing a career woman on the Milanese street of Via Durini for a campaign in the 1980s.

‘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,’ says Mr Armani.

Armani Aldo Fallai Exhibition

Giorgio Armani A/W 1984-85

(Image credit: Photography by Aldo Fallai)

Armani Aldo Fallai Exhibition

(Image credit: Photography by Aldo Fallai)

‘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.’

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