Actually the first time I saw these portraits of me I couldn’t believe my own eyes. I stared back at them for quite a long time and it was like staring at a better version of myself, but not much in terms of beauty (at the end of the day postproduction can do miracles nowadays 😉), but because of the gentleness of my portrait’s gaze. I had never thought of myself as of a gentle person. Maybe witty, maybe nice, but not really gentle. So I started wondering if my inner self could really be like that and – in a way or another – I guess this thing kind of influenced me in some ways. Like sort of a Dorian Gray’s portrait working the other way round: the one in the picture is better than the original and causes the latter to improve.
But the truth is that this is the poetry Giovanni Gastel literally instills in the model when he takes a picture.
Who Giovanni Gastel is there’s no need to say: he is one of the most famous photographers of our times, and you can easily tell his pictures by their poetry, their pictorial flair, their polished elegance and self irony.
I’ve never seen one of his portraits that failed to communicate something, be it a sensation, an emotion or a doubt. They’re kind of touching. What you look at are not really the portrayed people, but the very image of what Giovanni sees in them. Because I guess Giovanni’s word is different from mine or yours: it seems more vibrant, more powerful, colourful, elegant and inspiring, but also scarier and terrible at times.
So when his biography was eventually released I immediately bought it. Even if you don’t personally know him, getting to know Gastel’s world is fascinating since the book tells the story of fashion in Milan throughout the period running from the roaring ’80s until today. It was the time of the competition between Condé Nast and Edimoda, the time of the almighty magazine’s directors and the climax of great stylists as Gianfranco Ferrè, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Trussardi, of the iconic models, the period when Milan was the very place to be and everything about fashion was done and undone over there.
And his life he tells like a tale, like a letter to his beloved ones, with his usual grace and levity, with the utmost delicacy he recounts himself, his struggles, his successes and delivers a lively picture of the magical word of fashion of the last 40 years or so.
So if you’re a wannabe fashion blogger like myself but even if you are just fond of fashion, I really recommend that you read you read this book. You can even download the kindle version.
But most of all, if – like myself – you always look awful in every single picture, make yourself a huge one-of-a-kind present and ask Giovanni if he can take a picture of you. You won’t regret it.
And thank you Giovanni for the sweet dedication: I will be back soon ☺️