The Italian photographer Franco Fontana has been revolutionising landscape photography since the 1960s. His highly saturated abstract images, in which crops and fields appear as flat bands of colour devoid of any semblance of the realism usually expected from photography, were praised for being stylistically disruptive. Fontana was lauded for breaking away from traditional Italian photography practices and for breathing new life into colour photography, which was not fashionable at the time. But his works are more than just pretty pictures. There’s a quiet intimacy that runs through his images, which he says comes from a deep love of the craft. “All my photos are personal. I don’t see this as a job, but rather as a way to express my identity and style with love and thought,” he told marie claire.
Disruptive, personal and visually alluring. It’s the same approach Sportmax takes to its collection each season, with founder Achille Maramotti’s maxim that “In fashion one can even ‘impose’, but only the things that, albeit unconsciously, are already wanted.” In 2021, the peace and serenity that emanate from Fontana’s photographs are definitely already wanted. And so, a dreamy collaboration was born.
Each season, the brand – Max Mara’s cool little sister – partners with a leading artist or creative on a capsule collection for its jeanswear-focused Denim Culture project, which is now in its fifth edition.
The result is a collection that doesn’t merely adorn the wearer in art, but makes them a moving installation of art-à-porter via voluminous trousers and form-fitting dresses. His photographs appear on nine pieces, including a flared midi-skirt, straight-leg jeans and a serenity-inducing micro-dress that features a photograph of the sea.
Fontana also shot the lookbook in urban landscapes that complement the scenes on the clothes.
He says the collaborative process was creatively satisfying. “It has stimulated me and inspired me because, for me, putting myself out there while remaining true to my style is always very challenging,” he explains. He admits it’s impossible to pick a favourite piece: “They are all in sync with my aesthetic.”