The truth is out there, and Valentino is going to find it.
The iconic fashion house recently debuted its Fall 2019 Men’s collection, a collaboration between Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli and Jun Takahashi’s streetwear brand Undercover. Apparently inspired in equal parts by Edgar Allen Poe and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” along with robot heads and “VALENTINO” branding, UFO patterns appeared throughout, offering a playful sci-fi vibe in tandem with crisp, dark lines and semi-serious suiting.
Now the collection’s campaign has arrived on Earth. With art direction from Tokyo-based director and artist Tetsuya Nagato, the campaign further explores the collection’s dreamy sci-fi imagery, reinterpreting past visions of the future and putting them in conversation with modern styling and talent. Valentino-clad human beings turn their gaze to the sky as 1950’s-esque flying saucers descend towards the earth, while otherworldly synthesizers sizzle and pulsate to form an extraterrestrial soundscape.
The decision to frame the collection in a world of retro-futurist art feels important. Nagato’s use of painting and collage, rather than something like, say, scientific photography, situates the campaign in a world of the imagination, an alien fantasy of abduction and exploration. Its scope is not merely limited to the earthly and human; it reaches across the cosmos, encompassing both what is and what could be. But the fantasy is still humanly seductive: there is a certain allure as we see a man’s head slowly disappear as he rises upward into an alien spacecraft, a sense of empathetic longing as he takes his eyes off us and fixes them on the night sky.
Whatever lies beyond our solar system, Valentino and Undercover have shown us that it is very cool. It may not arrive on Earth in this lifetime, but we can still imagine, still be inspired, still look up at the stars. Here’s to hoping.
Valentino Creative Director | Pierpaolo Piccioli Art Direction & Digital Collage | Tetsuya Nagato Photographers | Katsuhide Morimoto, Taro Mizutani Director | Tomokazu Yamada Models | Azuri Enomoto, Cheikh Kebe, Yuki Kawahara, Keiju Furuya, Ids Van Den Booren Stylist | Tsuyoshi Nimura Hair | Kenshin Asano Makeup | Uda
Art | Enzo Producer | Takashi Sugai Director of Photography | Yuki Hori Lighting Director | Koshiro Ueno Grip | Keiichi Sagawa DIT | Seiji Kogami