A strong aesthetic sense that contributed to making the history of fashion as well as portrait photography
The son of Giuseppe Gastel and Ida Visconti di Modrone, Giovanni Gastel was the grandson of director Luchino Visconti. However, this is not the reason he reached worldwide fame. He was the great author of images that contributed to making the history of the fashion world. Prematurely passed away last March at the age of 65, he transformed every subject he portrayed through his strong aesthetic sense and keen eye.
His career began in a basement studio in Milan in the late 1970s where Gastel spent most of his younger years photographing and perfecting his technique. The turning point to his career came in 1981 when he met Carla Ghiglieri, who became his agent and introduced him to the fashion world. His career took off between the 1980s and 1990s and exploded in parallel with the boom of the Made in Italy. In those years, Gastel developed advertising campaigns for the most prestigious Italian fashion houses including Versace, Missoni, Tod’s, Trussardi, and Ferragamo. The success in his home country brought him to work a lot in Paris during the 1990s where he worked for brands such as Dior, Nina Ricci, Guerlain. But he worked a lot in U.K. and Spain too and signed many Vanity Fair covers. Between 1995 and 1996 he works for Christie’s, the prestigious auction house.
Gastel developed advertising campaigns for the most prestigious Italian fashion houses including Versace, Missoni, Tod’s, Trussardi, and Ferragamo
Although his career began in the fashion world, Gastel, photographer and poet, felt a particular call for purely artistic projects. In 1997, the Milan Triennale dedicated to him a solo exhibition curated by the great art critic Germano Celant. This brought him to the top of the world photographic elite and his name began appearing in specialized magazines together with those of other greats photographers like Oliviero Toscani, Giampaolo Barbieri, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, and Annie Leibovitz.
The professional success opened the doors to another side of Gastel’s photographic repertoire that until the late 2000s had remained unexplored, portrait photography. A few of the notable portraits included Barack Obama, Ettore Sottsass, and Roberto Bolle. This culminated in an exhibition at MAXXI’s Rome museum in 2020. It featured leading characters from the world of culture, design, art, fashion, music, entertainment and politics that Gastel himself met during his 40-year career.