Clothes can communicate many things, and in the case of Valentino’s new campaign, the label takes a literary approach to champion not only their Fall/Winter 2021 collection, but arts and culture in general.
Rather than releasing a traditional image-heavy campaign, this year during Milan Fashion Week, the label tapped literary talents Donna Tartt, Elif Shafak, Janet Mock, Lisa Taddeo, Matthew Lopez, Ocean Vuong, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Fatima Farheen Mirza and Raven Leilani for words that express the poetics of fashion. These authors were given a single blank page to fill (or not fill) and through love letters, poems, and one-liners, they convey the emotions and power associated with a really good look.
In the text project, the writers were given no genre restrictions. Vuong, for example, imagines a letter from renaissance artist Gian Giacomo Caprotti (also known as Salaì) to his teacher, Leonardo Da Vinci. “I stepped into your life with Chutzpah as if my birthday suit was Valentino,” he writes.
Mock, on the other hand, digs into “the feminine as armor” and its necessity for “women and femmes navigating unsafe spaces” with her piece.
Daley-Ward explains in a poem that she can “find love everywhere,” not just in the sky, but in Valentino as well.
Some authors like Lisa Taddeo and Rupi Kaur also partook in a special Valentino shoot as seen on the brand’s Instagram account.
“I am a poetry reader and this helps me to visualize words and to deliver my emotions and vision,” the label’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli explained in a statement about the campaign. “I think poetry protects our humanity and allows inner explorations, it gives you the lens through which one can really touch the nature of our most intimate feelings.”
Sure enough, the clothing in the latest show reflects just as much of that sensuality and intimacy teased out in the poems submitted by the Writers Campaign authors. Despite the occasional bit of gold here and there, the collection was largely black and white—not unlike the text ads used for this campaign.