Scavullo’s art on display in Milan
Photographer Francesco Scavullo, who died at the age of 82 in New York last month, is the subject of an exciting new exhibition at Milan Fashion Week this week.
Born on January 16 1921, on Staten Island, Scavullo’s talent was recognised early. Having started his career playing assistant to Horst P Horst at American Vogue in the Forties, he fast developed a style of his own, characterised by flat backdrops, monochromatic tones and supposedly spontaneous poses (see Kate Moss, left), which took him beyond the realm of pure fashion: he also shot portraits of Hollywood stars ranging from Sophia Loren to Brooke Shields, jetsetters like Gloria Vanderbilt and Nan Kempner, and pop icons Mick Jagger, Sting, and Madonna, as well as Barbra Streisand (who worked with him on the movie poster for A Star Is Born) and Diana Ross (who used him for her album cover Diana, on which she appeared with no make-up, wet hair, a wet T and in torn jeans).
In August 1974, he made history by shooting the first black cover girl for Vogue, Beverly Johnson. He was also responsible for Edgar Winters’ They Only Come Out At Night album cover, famously the first to feature full drag. Scavullo, who published six books, including the highly influential Scavullo on Beauty, saw his photos acquire the status of artworks, being included in the permanent collections of Moma, New York, and the Guggenheim.
On January 6 2004, he was preparing for an assignment when he died of heart failure, according to his companion Sean Byrnes, who lived with him and his King Charles Spaniel, Luca, on New York’s Upper East Side. A Tribute to Scavullo, which opened on Friday with a party hosted by Italian Vogue and the Caractère label at the Carla Sozzani gallery, Corso Como 10, runs until April 4.
Special thanks to our staff member Liz