Soul Retrieval


Like many, Modeconnect editorial team was touched by the pictures of Soul Retrieval photographed by Stefan Giftthaler and styled by Marzia Fossati. The works of these two professionals – both born in 1982 & both based in Milan – have been published in a raft of publications from Vogue to Vanity Fair. They shot Soul Retrieval in 2009. First published by SchÖn Magazine in early 2010, it is since regarded as an example of fashion dabbing into art.

The range of colors and the quality of the lighting of this shoot combine to produce images simultaneously peaceful and dynamic. The alternate stillness and movement of the model reinforce this impression. It evokes an atmosphere which could be related to that surrounding the shamanic practice of soul retrieval aimed at bringing back together the lost parts of someone’s soul.
In addition to explain how she has developed a successful career as a Stylist for our Professional Profile section, Marzia was kind enough to tell us the little known story of the Soul Retrieval shoot.


Read the full interview below…


Marzia, how did the project of Soul Retrieval come about?
We have to go back to early 2009. Stefan and I were playing with ideas for a new project. We wanted a story for a studio shoot, far from main-stream fashion but which would allow us to feature major fashion brands.

Where did the idea for the styling come from?
At the time in addition to styling I was Fashion Editor and Main coordinator of an indie fashion magazine: Wit Mag. This job enabled me to stay in touch with a very creative scene. I felt the Native American mood was simply in the air. I found it everywhere: from music to club culture. There was for example the band MGMT and its electro-hippie-natives look.

Gucci included tracks by MGMT in its SS 2009 Menswear catwalk soundtrack; the collection featured shamanic prints and the models wore necklaces with plumes. Everywhere, I was finding references to this world I have loved since I was an adolescent, a child even. I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of roots, by magic, by ancestral values in tune with nature. Call it folk, ethnic or tribal. Those references were already in my memory; what was happening in the creative world just awoke them.


Once you had the idea how did you develop the styling?
I knew exactly which garments from which collection would work.

I didn’t try to recreate something historical. My key principle was eclecticism: mixing references and influences. I was simply following my personal sense of what was right or wrong to achieve the mood we wanted. I knew it was all in my mind and that I would be able to sort out details easily. Not all shoots are like this!

What are the garments you used?
All the clothes are from SS 2010 collections. I used press samples from labels such as: Maison Martin Margiela, Kenzo, Paul Smith, Prada, Fendi, Missoni, Versace and Issey Miyake. I also wanted to complete the story with a special headpiece, something never seen before which evoked the Native American influence but with a twist. I wanted it to look different.

I am always collecting stuff I like for my shoots and I had these white, shocking pink and orange plumes I had bought at a flea market in Paris. I took them to a friend of mine Federica Moretti, who creates handmade hats and explained what I wanted. Federica did a fantastic job and the head piece was ready the following day. I have kept it jealously ever since!


Did you discuss the quality of the images you wanted with the photographer Stefan Giftthaler?
I love Stefan’s creative world. We have worked together a lot.  We are attuned and hardly need to discuss a job. We make suggestions and that’s it.

We wanted the pictures to be like paintings, the mood dreamy and the images blurry as if recalled from the magic life of an American Indian princess. We wanted to achieve a nostalgic and poetic mood and evoke an altered sensorial experience.

Who else was involved in the shoot?
The atmosphere on the set was really nice; I could tell everyone was loving what we were doing. Aaron Henrikson did the make-up and Domenic Di Campo the hair, both from the agency Green Apple. The model is Luize Salmgrieze.

We discussed make up and hair style with Aaron and Domenic a few days before the shoot. On the set they both made creative suggestions. Aaron adjusted the make-up with each shot, making sure to maintain coherence between them. He painted the legs of the model when she was not wearing the Miyake’s legging, for example. He adjusted her make-up to make her look dirty, as if she just came out battle… Domenic used extensions a lot, breading them and using the hair as if it was feathers.

Luize loved the shoot, it was completely different from any job she did before and she really got into the swing of it! I must also mention Andrea Villa from Digital Area who did a great job on the post-production.

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