Last year the CEO of Italian fashion label Moncler, Remo Ruffini, and US-based French art director and photographer Fabien Baron hatched a plan over meetings in Milan and New York. They were trying to come up with a way to raise funds for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmfAR), a charity on a mission to help find a cure for the disease by 2020.
Moncler has a history of smart use of photography, working with practitioners from Bruce Weber to Annie Leibovitz to Baron himself. Baron, meanwhile, has been working with the biggest names in fashion photography for a quarter of a century, through his work for Interview and Harper’s Bazaar, and campaigns for the likes of Calvin Klein. So photography seemed a smart way to go.
The pair decided to ask a few photographer friends if they could help out. Well, more than a few – and not just any photographers. ‘We had this big idea of getting every major living photographer involved,’ says Baron. ‘We all know who the best photographers out there are and the idea was to have all of them participate.’ The response, says Baron, was instant and, ultimately, moving. ‘I started calling Patrick, Peter and Bruce and they said yes right away,’ he explains. ‘After that it was an organic process, and the response was overwhelming. To have everyone come together and agree was very special for me and Moncler. A project of this kind is as overwhelming as it is heartwarming.’
The Patrick in question is, of course, Patrick Demarchelier, Peter is Peter Lindbergh and Bruce is Bruce Weber. They are joined on this roll call of photography’s finest by Leibovitz, David Bailey, Paolo Roversi, Steven Meisel, David Sims, Inez and Vinoodh, Pamela Hanson, Craig McDean and more. Baron and Ruffini gave each photographer a Moncler ‘Maya’ jacket but little in the way of direction. They were simply asked to take the jacket, think about love, in its infinite variety, and shoot it.
‘I think this is what makes this project special,’ says Baron. ‘They each knew exactly what image they wanted to contribute. The 32 images [collcted as 'Art for Love', the exhibition staged on 11 September at the New York Public Library] you see are unfiltered, unabashed and conscious choices by each photographer. Each piece is a world of its own, a style of its own and has so many interpretations,’ he continues. ‘And all of them combined is extremely powerful.’
As originally featured in the October 2015 edition of Wallpaper* (W*199)