Our modern day fascination with the rich and famous fuels an industry worth billions of dollars, with a large part of that attributed to our interest in the clothes that they wear. It can be seen in the rise of celebrity magazines and numerous celebrity collaborations with high-street fashion retailers, resulting in (or arguably the cause of) the masses looking to stars rather than catwalks for fashion inspiration and the next big trend. Needless to say, our access to their lives and daily style choices would be extremely restricted without the people who make a career out of snapping them on the street: the paparazzi. So how did this all begin?

For this we have to travel back to 1950’s Italy, where an explosion in international film production suddenly saw movie stars, models, playboys and monarchs flock to Rome to live it up in villas, night clubs and cafés. A small group of photographers decided to capitalise on the antics of their glamorous subjects, providing images that would hit the front pages of the world’s newspapers. Among them was Elio Sorci. His work continued over four decades, winning awards and exposing celebrity secrets.

Paparazzo: The Elio Sorci Collection is a beautiful and extensive compilation of Sorci’s photography, as well as a scintillating window into celebrity fashion of the time. Stunning black and white photographs capture the elegance and chic that is so often missing in celebrity fashion today. There is a sense of glossy mystery surrounding the subjects that will never again be achieved in a world where celebrities engage daily with fans on Twitter and their every fashion faux pas is brutally splashed across the pages of Closer magazine.

This book is a true lesson in fashion history and street style photography, capturing beauty, glamour, personality and the most fabulous examples of impeccable styling. It is the perfect celebration of Sorci’s career and an admirable gem of coffee table book.

Reviewed by Francesca Bassenger. With thanks to Roads Publishing.

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