Since its inception in the late 1990s, investor Nicola Erni has built one of the world’s most prominent collections of fashion photography. Since the 1930s he has featured iconic looks every decade, the collection includes notable works by Richard His Avedon, Paolo Robersi and more.
“Fashion and photography have always been a passion for Nicolas,” said Stéphane Puttart, CEO of Erni Collection. Erni’s collection began with a series of images that reflected a period of cultural change in the world of art, filmmaking, fashion and music in the 1960s and his 1970s.
The collection continues to grow today, and in 2013 he opened a private museum in Steinhausen, Switzerland to house his work. This collection not only showcases the history of fashion photography as a medium, but also reflects Erni’s personal style. “Not only did she love flipping through fashion magazines when she was a teenager, she started designing her first clothes,” added Puttart.
So what advice does he have for aspiring collectors of fashion photography? Artsy told Puttaert about his key tips.
The golden rules of collecting any medium apply to fashion photography as well. Follow your own eyes and intuition. “Nicola Erni acquires work according to what speaks to her heart and gives her goosebumps,” Puttart told Artsy. , go with the flow.”
Erni, for example, is particularly interested in fashion photography being a product of both art and commerce. This represents a collaboration of key figures, from designers and models to make-up her artists and hair stylists, set his designers and, of course, photographers, Puttart said. It’s a process that Erni finds fascinating.
After more than 20 years collecting fashion photography, Erni’s passion for the medium remains undiminished. She’s always looking for up-and-coming names to add to her own collection, finding them everywhere from magazines to museums.
For example, Erni used the work of Australian photographer Emma Summerton trend A few years ago. They became good friends and Erni bought some of her work. One of Erni’s main strengths with her collection is that she’s always looking to the future. Alongside heavyweight names such as Irving Penn and Mario Testino, new artists such as Summerton, Hassan Hajjaj, Erik Madigan Heck, Nadine Ijewere, Tyler Mitchell and Harley Weir are also featured.
Puttaert notes that several museums have done a very good job of sharing fashion photography over the past few years, highlighting “Style Icons: The Century of Fashion Photography” at Getty in 2018. Did. “Vogue Paris 1920–2020” held at Palais Galliera in Paris in 2021. Solo exhibitions such as “Steven Meisel 1993 A Year in Photographs” currently being held in A Coruña, Spain.
Fashion history exhibitions are also a great source of inspiration. “Shocking! The surreal world of Elsa Schiaparelli at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris” and La His Galerie His Dior, which showcases the history of Dior, are notable recent examples, Puttaert said. I’m here.
Puttart said that when the work speaks to Erni, she finds it rewarding to get insight into inspiration, philosophy, materials and techniques from the artist. He encourages other collectors to do the same.
“It’s important for her to meet photographers and discover their art, if possible, before acquiring their work,” Puttart said. “The same procedure is followed in contemporary art and Nicola loves visiting artists in their studios. [and] See the work at the original institution’s exhibitions, galleries and auctions before deciding whether to purchase the work. “
Whether you’re into Bill Cunningham’s iconic street style photography or classic Richard Avedon and Irving Penn editorials, there’s a market for you. Erni’s collections range from high fashion editorial and paparazzi photography to portrait photography and street style. Building a collection that spans multiple genres requires not only understanding them individually, but the sum of their parts.
“It’s up to each collector [they decide] It diversifies and transcends certain genres,” said Puttart. The current exhibition of Arni’s collection at the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, Florida includes works spanning different periods and genres. “Expanding the collection with that perspective allows us to create fascinating relationships between different genre disciplines.”