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January 29, 2024

Gia Carangi Photographed by Aldo Fallai for Giorgio Armani, 1980

Gia Carangi was an American model during the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was considered by many to be the first “supermodel.” She left behind a huge portfolio of work for someone who worked for a relative short time in the fashion model business.

Gia was featured on the covers of many fashion magazines, including multiple editions of Vogue and Cosmopolitan. She appeared in top advertising campaigns for such fashion houses as Armani, Christian Dior, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent.

“I am pleased that my photographs can be identified beyond their style for their special vision,” said Aldo Fallai. An itinerary among his photos and his personal researches, all connected with a sense of art that is part of Fallai’s own sensibility, and that leads naturally from Armani and fashion to Renaissance. Images allow the visitor to rediscover the excellence of Italian fashion at its most innovative hour: the 1980s, when Giorgio Armani invented an elegant and vaguely androgynous woman and a man with a sophisticated look, at times transgressive and at times narcissistic.

Together, Armani and Fallai, created some of the most important advertising campaigns of recent decades, thus underwriting some very interesting chapters in the history of Made in Italy, proposing a new, modern style, though still connected to the great tradition of Italian art. Giorgio Armani didn’t follow any of the dominant models, but proposed others, new and different, for example using for women soft fabrics, straighter lines, jackets and suits, wide and comfy pants in sober and restrained colors. Armani’s man and woman were young, good-looking, but at the same time unconventional, free and playing the lead roles in their own lives. It happened that Fallai managed to narrate them.

He took models and made them pose in gardens, streets, anywhere as long as it was real, with the captivation of dream landscapes, flaunting a lifestyle that is desirable but also possible. “While creating fashion images, I take a sort of “freedom” as advertising is thought to sell, but I’m there, within the photo. That scene has to be just like this, because it’s something useful, but it also tells a moment of life. And I want images to have both of these features.”

Fallai probes the photographic language in search of different effects, ranging from blurred atmospheres, with a sophisticated sfumato effect that makes the figure almost impalpable, to strong, direct lighting and austere black and white, to define a hard, sculptural style that appears close to the avant-garde cinema.

Perhaps he was the first photographer who dealt with men and children in fashion photography, he focused on common people and not just models, telling of the new social challenges: women (and aspirational models) for example are no longer superstar, but real women, businesswomen, expressing the new freedom of the model of life in the eighties.

Playing with roles and situations, Aldo Fallai reconstructed a world that goes beyond the garment to portray an entire society and a generation. A world in which people always counted enormously. He photographs a woman, with her character, her personality, even her age. He allows her to move, to do, to act. He watches for the emergence of some little imperfection that rips the veil of an imaginary perfection. Here, Gia Carangi photographed by Aldo Fallai for Giorgio Armani in 1980:


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