Prince Federico Pignatelli della Leonessa is not just the founder, owner and president of Pier59 Studios, the largest photography studio in the world. He is also the founder and president of the Art and Fashion Group. He is also the owner of Industry Model Management, which has a new office in New York City. The SoHo resident is also a top photographer.
The photography of Prince Federico is showcased in his new hardcover book, The Great Beauty. Beyond offering breathtaking photographs, The Great Beauty is also distinct in using images taken by both the Hasselblad digital camera and the 6K RED Dragon high-resolution camcorder. All proceeds for the book will reportedly go to the International Rescue Committee.
Downtown caught up with Prince Federico for some Q&A about his various businesses prior to New York Fashion Week. He also introduced us to Christina Neault, the Global Fashion & Events Consultant & Director of Fashion Programing for Pier59 Studios, and Brunella Casella, Vice President of Industry Model Management.
More info on all things Prince Federico — including The Great Beauty — can be found at www.pier59studios.com.
You started off in real estate and then moved into the art world. Was there a specific person that inspired that?
Prince Federico Pignatelli della Leonessa: I started as a financial journalist and then moved to real estate and later finance as to became an investment banker. I was so fully immersed in business, but always with an unabated passion for photography and videography, that I practiced at any opportunity in my free time. It was not a person that inspired me, but my inner passion for visual art!
How would you describe your new book to someone that hasn’t yet seen it?
PF: Unusual, provocative…all about a fantastic dream of elegance, sensuality and life at its best!
Do you have a favorite piece of art within there?
PF: The women! To me a beautiful woman is an expression of art…alive expressions of art, in all different forms, shades and depth!
Is this the first book to use the RED 6K DRAGON camera?
PF: I believe it is the first art book using photos from video frames.
Do you have plans for another book?
PF: Yes — more than one! But it takes time and also quite some money to make it at the level that I do things. I am already working on a plan for my next one…
When starting Pier59 Studios, did you plan it to be the largest photography studio there is? Or did that evolve over time?
PF: It was in my plans for day one, and with a lot of passion and work, it became a reality!
What’s coming up for Pier59 Studios?
PF: Always something new! We are a creative platform, always with the “next” in mind!
How did you first meet Prince Federico?
Christina Neault: I originally met Federico when I was scouting locations in L.A., and then was reintroduced last year though a friend when he was looking to find someone to help with the NYFW program at Pier59 Studios. We instantly hit it off and I have been working with him ever since.
Brunella Casella: I’ve known him for a very long time but never had the chance to meet him in person. Then he called me to talk about the vision he had for the Industry Management and we immediately decided to meet, to explore the possibilities to share our experiences and visions about this business.
What can you tell me about Fashion Week at Pier59?
CN: This season we have once again dedicated our entire facility to create three adaptable runway spaces as well as a flexible presentation space to suit our designers creative needs
Who are some of the designers that you are working with?
CN: I am super-excited about so many of our designers this season: 5:31 Jérôme, A Détacher, Carmen Marc Valvo, Collina Strada, Concept Korea, Custo Barcelona, Delpozo, Dion Lee, Fashion Palette, God Save Queens, Harlem’s Fashion Row, Hellessy, Katty Xiomara, LVL XIII, Michelle Helene, Miguel Vieira, Pamella Roland, Zang Toi, and Zero + Maria Cornejo.
Brunella, what can you tell me about Industry Model Management?
BS: The Industry is a boutique agency representing models for both print and motion. We already have an agency in Los Angeles and we are building the one in New York right now. It is a very creative adventure and I’m really happy to have the support of the Pier59 Studios as this entity already has extensive relationships and resources, and inspiring culture that embraces creativity, art and beauty. This will gives to the Industry Management a distinct advantage over the competitors.
When not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?
PF: With my amazing 12-year old daughter Lucrezia, sharing the passion of navigating and exploring new places on my two yachts, one in the Caribbean and the other one in the Mediterranean…but always taking pictures or videos! In fact Lucrezia has inherited my passion and she is an excellent photographer on her own. The youngest, I know!
CN: I have a house upstate near Hudson. I spend my weekends up there enjoy cooking, entertaining and relaxing.
BS: I love to read and love the most do so by the sea, so as soon as I have some free time I take the subway and go to Rockaway Beach. summer or wintertime doesn’t matter to me. The sea is my life breath.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
PF: Love life, be passionate and work hard to make your dreams became reality!
CN: I look forward to the future of NYFW at Pier59 Studios.
BS: Never give up because life is beautiful and there is always hope.