Ringing a doorbell creates a kind of liminal space, an uncertain duality of being seen but not seeing. Seen through the fisheye lens of a peephole, a visitor’s face is warped and bulbous, their eagerness stretched across it and reaching through the impenetrable solidity of the door, through the boundlessness of this uncertain interval of time. In this moment of unperceived perception, a person seems to be wholly themselves and yet still incomplete: while their will is placed in the hands of those on the inside, outside in the hallway, they have nothing to do but be themselves.
Valentino Garavani thoughtfully taps into the transient power of this space to frame their recently released line of Climbers sneakers. Created and lensed by Paris-based photographer Valentin Herfray, the campaign is shot from the perspective of apartment door peepholes, through which we see young creatives wearing the shoes as they wait to be let into a party or bring flowers to a lover. The angular and distorted camerawork captures the subtle expressions of eagerness and anticipation that give life to these otherwise unremarkable hallways: we see toes tap and feet pace, see the shoes and the lives of their owners from new angles with each press of the doorbell. These honest moments of in-betweenness offer an intriguing glimpse at ideas of self-image and expectations of others.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the universality and normalness of this experience of waiting to be let in, or of seeing someone through a peephole, the campaign feels fresh and creative. The simplicity and regularity of life is elevated, and the promised moment when the door opens and we are let in — which, in this campaign, we never get to see — becomes transcendent. This thoughtful and subtle approach to an ad campaign is certainly something worth waiting for.