Through the perspective of the two artists, the campaign intimately captures the present moment of fashion

Hot on the heels of Zendaya’s appointment as its new face and the Hiltons guest-starring in the label’s campaign for its resort 2021 collection, Valentino brings us its latest offering and this time things are being done a little differently. 

The Italian house has unveiled its new campaign for the Collezione Milano, which was shown earlier this year at the Fonderia Macchi in Milan during MFW. For the campaign, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has let go of the reins, inviting Russian-Ghanaian photographer Liz Johnson Artur to interpret the collection. With no brief from Piccioli, Johnson Artur was given the freedom to capture the collection from her perspective, through her lens. Alongside the images, Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo has composed dedicated quotes describing each tableaux.

For the campaign, Johnson Artur joined Piccioli and his team over five days in Milan, immersing herself in the day-to-day behind the scenes of a runway show – attending castings, fittings, and living, for herself, the moments of chaos and quiet pre-storm. The result is images that intimately capture the present moment of fashion and all the complexities of creating collaborative art in a time of social distance and alienation. In one image, we see a model surrounded by the surgical mask-wearing Valentino team. “After so long, we are here to stay, while waiting for the pandemic to pass,” Evaristo’s words accompany the scene. 

“Liz Johnson Artur’s intimate shooting has perfectly responded to my need for a personal narration,” says Piccioli.

“This collection came after a moment of deep reflection on what fashion means to me and on how we can use this language to express our identities. Liz’s fresh, spontaneous, documentary style was perfectly aligned with the overall idea of reflecting the ‘here and now’ inspiration. The street casting celebrating diversity and the value of individual personality under her lens have acquired a delicate allure of authenticity and grace.”