The house of Aldo Coppola celebrated 50 years of the family success story dedicated to beauty with an exhibition at La Triennale museum in Milan. FAB was there and navigated through Coppola’s walls of supermodels and celebrities, including the rising models Laetitia Casta and Cindy Crawford at the very beginning of their career, shot by the world’s most iconic photographers.
Beauty At The Palazzo dell’Arte
Neither about design nor contemporary art, the highlight of the Milan Triennale’s latest show is sheer beauty. Or rather ageless beauty, since this retrospective, called “Bellezza Senza Tempo” or “Timeless Beauty”, pays tribute to the work of Aldo Coppola, who passed away in 2013, and to five decades of the famed hairstylist’s namesake brand.
Along a red rose pattern wallpaper and well-lit corridor, visitors moved through 250 print pictures of the greatest international fashion magazines, with photos by Oliviero Toscani, David Bailey, Gian Paolo Barbieri, Giovanni Gastel and Fabrizio Ferri. A few steps further along, video installations took us through Aldo Coppola’s intense and tumultuous life of shows, fashion weeks and studio shootings for magazines and artistic calendars. With a broad smile on his face, Coppola’s son exuded pride when talking about him: “In 1962, my father started brand collaborations and shootings for Vogue Italy. Then at 22, he opened his first salon. In the ’70s, he began to work with designers like Gianfranco Ferre, Valentino and Giorgio Armani, all met while he was just a window dresser at La Rinascente department store in Milan! At that time, my father would do Giorgio’s hair under the store’s staircase! Then, it was on for the next 40 years. It was as much an amazing professional encounter as a beautiful friendship!” Aldo Junior also started out as a hairstylist, but focused on the franchising network that now counts 200 salons throughout the world, enhancing the popularity of the Aldo Coppola brand outside the fashion circuit. “In the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s, we would be working in the salon during the day, and backstage at fashion shows and photoshoots at night”. Season after season, Aldo and his core team of hairstylists – his daughter Monica being number one – were behind the scenes of the leading designers’ runways. “We’ve teamed up with Vivienne Westwood for the most exciting collaborations! With Dior, Versace and Jean-Paul Gaultier, it was more of pulling the strands together, whereas with Giorgio Armani, it was another story – he always knew exactly what he wanted.”
Aldo Coppola © Giovanni Gastel, 2017
Monica Bellucci’s Humor, Cindy Crawford’s Intelligence
FAB just couldn’t stop admiring them, i.e. the most beautiful women in the world. They were all sporting elaborate hairstyles, their huge pictures posted all over the walls. They were shots borrowed from Glamour, Vogue or Marie Claire covers, from their own photo shoots or from L’Oréal campaigns, with whom Aldo had a long-term collaboration.February 14 was the date chosen by Aldo Coppola Junior to launch this exhibition, and to have it adorned with red roses, the founder’s favorites. Monica, the younger sister, walked by the pictures, and her name appeared under most of them as she followed in her dad’s footsteps and has been a confirmed hairstylist and Art Director for many years.
As she went, she stopped by an angelic Catrinel Marlon. “I worked this year on this photo shoot by Giovanni Gastel for the new Aldo Coppola ad campaign. You can see Catrinel with angel wings because we so badly need them right now! I often think that beauty and freedom are linked.” The queen of the night’s floor-length black dress and pastel pink hair seemed like a statement for a soothing breath of fresh air. She continued: “If I feel down, colors put a smile back on my face.”A little further along, we came across Fabrizio Ferri. For Aldo, this former photojournalist shot the most sought-after models and remembers each and every minute of these moments: “To me, Monica Bellucci is way beyond this beauty embodiment. She’s so witty and humorous, she started making jokes the minute I met her! She has such a great sense of humor; this is what makes her so charming.” And then, in front of a Julia Roberts picture, Fabrizio fondly recalled: “This moment with Julia was really special. She cried at the end of the shooting because she wanted to keep it going longer. So I offered to cook some rigatoni al pomodoro at her place. We all had dinner, and then she fell asleep on the sofa…” His eyes opened wide before one of his shots of Cindy Crawford: “I was amazed at her elegance and intelligence. She’s definitely one of a kind.” A bit further, Laetitia Casta’s image still made him melt: “She was 16 on this picture and absolutely breathtaking. She’s a very authentic model. Her powerful gaze would never leave me as I moved my camera around her.”
So if you feel like stepping inside the world of high fashion and beauty, then seeing this Aldo Coppola exhibition (which ends on 2 March) is an outright must and it should come first on your fashion week list. Besides the retrospective, there’s a superb book that goes with it that gathers together countless images, making for an ideal gift – and with all net proceeds supporting the Francesca Rava Foundation.