Fest Big On Italian Fashion And Style

“East-West,” portraits of Russian women in Moscow and Kazan wearing Islamic clothing, is one of dozens of exhibits in the fashion and style festival. Irina Mann

The Moscow House of Photography has spread all over the city once again for the seventh "Fashion and Style in Photography" festival that mixes Italian neo-realism with Pirelli nudes and Marlene Dietrich and much more.

The festival, which lasts till mid-May, has set up shop all over the city with dozens of shows. The main centers are, of course, the Moscow House of Photography and the Manezh Exhibition Hall, but many other venues — small and big — are also taking part.

The star of the show is undoubtedly "Italian Realism. Photography 1945-1975," a superb collection on at the Manezh.

Olga Sviblova, head of the Moscow House of Photography, was asked at a news conference opening the festival last month how it was connected to fashion.

"It is connected to style. Italian neo-realism in cinema, Italian realistic photography — it is all connected with cinema aesthetics, Italian contemporary art and Italian design," she said, adding that the collection of 150 works has already been seen in Paris, Rome and Madrid. "I am very glad that these works will be seen in Moscow."

The festival has a definite Italian side to it in accordance with the Italy-Russia year of cultural exchange that will see a conveyor belt of events between both countries.

However, the festival has much more on offer — from Irina Mann's photos of Russian women wearing the hijab at the A3 gallery to Juergen Teller's mix of high and low fashion in "Thighs and Calves," a photo show of nudes in classical art poses.

Karl Lagerfeld returns to Moscow again with photos from his 2011 Pirelli calendar, mixing the usual nudity the calendar is known for with classical mythology. Apparently, the few items they do wear are supposed to transform them into Greek and Roman gods. If a golden codpiece signifies the ancient classical myths then it's the kind of show you'll like.

"It's my favorite religion: one god for every occasion. I'm a polytheist: All present-day religions are recent, but I prefer this mythology, which does without hell, without sin — an obstacle to happiness — and without forgiveness," said Lagerfeld in an interview with the French writer Frederic Beigbeder, before the presentation in Moscow. "We need to return to the disciplined form of beauty of antiquity."

Twenty of the world's top models — 15 female, five male — and actress Julianne Moore are those on show.

The festival also lets viewers take a look at iconic actress Marlene Dietrich. The shots come from the personal archive of Dietrich and were given to French photographer Lucien Clergue in 1981 by her grandson.

The “Fashion and Style in Photography” festival runs till May 15. Check out www.mdf.ru for a full listing.

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