alain elkann interviews

ART AND DESIGN

David LaChapelle

Art can be a prism which transcends and transforms. LANDSCAPE, a new exhibition of David LaChapelle’s work, is showing at the Robilant+Voena Gallery in Milan. Marco Voena is with Jacqueline and I in the Armani Hotel. We just met Sophia Loren, here having lunch with a...

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Charles Saumarez Smith

Charles Saumarez Smith is Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts in London's Piccadilly. Charles, after having been at the National Portrait Gallery and then the National Gallery, how is it to run the Royal Academy? To be honest, it is more...

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Carla Bruni

Carla Bruni shows up right on time at the Bar des Théâtres, which is located on the Avenue Montaigne a stone’s throw from Christian Dior’s maison. She is wearing a velvet hat that she bought at a flea market, a small Azzedine Alaïa pullover in fluffy black velvet: a...

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Nicholas Serota

Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of London’s Tate Gallery, says that: “Today art must know how to entertain.” Nicholas Serota, as director of the Tate Modern Gallery, you wanted to hold a retrospective of German artist Gerhard Richter’s work. This is an artist you have...

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Vivienne Westwood

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood: “People have never been so poorly dressed.” Vivienne Westwood, what state is the fashion industry in? “I make avant-garde things, but I hear from people that there is a crisis, and that it is quite serious. I don’t know how long it...

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Elizabeth Peyton

Elizabeth Peyton smiled when I asked if I could interview her, but was reticent. She told me that she had previous bad experiences.  But then she said yes, and the interview took place in the back seats of a big black German car at seven o' clock in the morning, on...

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Thaddaeus Ropac

Best wishes to Thaddaeus Ropac on the April 28th 2017 opening of his London gallery at Ely House on Dover Street. I had the pleasure of interviewing him in Salzburg in August 2014: It is Sunday afternoon and, after a delicious lunch that ended with apricot strudel and...

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Carlo Orsi

Carlo Orsi is President of The Association of Italian Antique Dealers (AAI). Carlo, you come from a famous family of Milan antique dealers. What has changed in your profession over the years? The world has changed and the way we perceive our profession of antique...

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Paolo Bulgari

Paolo Bulgari is very tall with white hair: he is a man of few words but has a considerable sense of humour. He works in his office on the first floor in via Condotti above the legendary jeweller’s shop. The offices were renovated a year ago and the walls are covered...

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Gaetano Pesce

Gaetano Pesce has just arrived in his office in downtown Manhattan at 543 Broadway. “I have lived in New York since 1980, for 34 years. I love the city, but this summer we have heavy rain all the time and it is quite inconvenient after the very cold winter we just...

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Mimmo Paladino

In Rome, where the weather is terribly hot, I go to visit Mimmo Paladino in his studio on the top floor of a Palazzo in Piazza Navona, facing the church of Sant’ Agnese by Borromini. The terrace is amazingly big and I ask Mimmo: Do you play tennis on this terrace?...

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Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani is in good spirits, wearing long dark blue Bermuda shorts and a dark brown T-shirt. He is tanned and resting at his home on the island of Pantelleria, an oasis of true luxury, very quiet and with a light breeze. It's seven o'clock in the evening and, in...

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Cristina Acidini

I go to visit Dr Cristina Acidini, Superintendent of the Historical, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage and the Museums of the City of Florence. I open a little door in a little street of Florence that divides the Palazzo Vecchio and the Vasarian building of...

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Joseph Brodsky

Skinheads, Nazis and prejudices. Anti-Semitism is the child of Fear.  Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) does not give way to pessimism: the past is a spent force, history does not repeat itself. December 1st, 1992. The 1987 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, one of...

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Oscar de la Renta

I am very sad about Oscar's death. The fashion world won't be the same without his smile, his positive and warm energy, his loyalty to his friends. What a splendid example for all of us of someone who loved and worked at his craft from his very early days to the very...

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Eric Shiner

Eric C. Shiner is Director of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. I meet Eric Shiner on a sunny Sunday morning in early March, a tall man, fit, very focussed and polite. He sits next to Bob Colacello, (previously interviewed in La Stampa), the first editor of...

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Carolyn Seymour Hanbury

Carolyn Hanbury is chatting with her friend, the Italian botanist Ursula Piacenza, in a beautiful villa facing the sea, with a beautiful Mediterranean garden that goes down to the seashore. The most famous Italian gardener and landscape architect, Paolo Pejrone, who...

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Luciano Giubbilei

A visit to the Laurent-Perrier garden created by Luciano Giubbilei. RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014 Winner:  Best in Show. If you want to know who the English people are, you need to go to the Chelsea Flower Show. I was surprised by such a long queue to get in, the size...

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Peter Brant

Peter Brant, entrepreneur and collector: “Andy Warhol taught me to have fun.” The interview took place at the Cipriani Hotel in Venice during the Biennale 2011. Peter Brant is one of the most famous collectors of contemporary art. Peter, when did you become interested...

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David Alan Brown

Curator of Italian and Spanish Paintings, National Gallery of Art. Anna Gavina, Jacqueline Schnabel and I have lunch with David Alan Brown in the French restaurant of the National Gallery in Washington, DC. The coq au vin and the various salads are great. We talk...

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Roberto Andò

This interview with Roberto Andò came about as a peculiar way of teaching students in the Italian Department of Penn University in Philadelphia, where I share a class on Comparative Jewish Literature with Professor Fabio Finotti, the Director of the Department. What...

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Gianni Versace

So many years have passed since I went to interview Gianni Versace in June 1993, but I still remember him very well. He was a clever man, a talented man. He was not pretentious and really friendly. I saw him again a couple of years later on a boat in Turkey. He was...

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Xavier Salomon

The Frick Collection is one of the most prestigious small museums in the world. To visit it is like going back to what New York was at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when billionaires used to build fabulous mansions and create remarkable art collections.  ...

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Kiki Smith

In New York the weather is still inclement, cold. The sky is blue but the wind is very strong in the Lower East Side of Manhattan where I go to visit the artist Kiki Smith in her townhouse studio.  The front door is painted bright red.  I ring the bell and a young...

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Miuccia Prada

The idea to re-publish some very special interviews with some very special people many years later, as we have done previously with Luciano Pavarotti, Eric Hobsbawm, Sophia Loren and Diane von Fürstenberg,  is because in an interview you get to know the personality...

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Marco Voena

On the eve of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), and following on from my recent interviews with Scott Schaefer, Fabrizio Moretti and Letizia Treves, I meet Marco Voena in the lounge of the Suvretta House hotel in St. Moritz on a Saturday at lunch time.  At the...

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Scott Schaefer

Senior Curator of Paintings at J. Paul Getty Museum for fifteen years, I meet Scott Schaefer in the lobby of the Metropolitan Museum in New York on 31st January, 2014.  He is smiling and impeccably dressed. He complains about the New York weather versus that of Los...

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Ron Arad

The interview with the industrial designer and architect Ron Arad took place in the plane from Turin to London on December 18th, 2013. The Design Museum in Holon (Tel Aviv) opened 3 years ago – it is the only public building in the country without a Mezuzah because...

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Marco Grassi

The art restorer Marco Grassi lives in a typical New York house on the Upper East Side.   His studio on the ground floor is almost like a New York doctor's surgery.   It is a large room with frames and pictures both on the walls and on the floor, a large work-table...

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Diane von Fürstenberg

An extremely long, black, rented limousine came to pick me up at home to take me to Connecticut, where I’m going to interview Diane von Fürstenberg. In the car is Tatiana, the designer’s twenty-year-old daughter, with two friends. Alain contributes his 1992 interview...

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// FEATURED

ANITA PALLENBERG

Anita Pallenberg is an actress, model, and fashion designer. Born in Italy in 1944 she was the partner of the Rolling Stones’ guitarist Brian Jones and then the partner of Keith Richards. Anita, you have worked in the worlds of cinema, music and fashion. Would you define yourself as an eclectic person? I would say... READ MORE

// PUBLICATIONS

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