Vanessa Beecroft is an artist long associated with fashion, dating back to her 1998 installation “Show” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York featuring models that were nude or clad in Gucci bikinis, as well as several projects with Louis Vuitton. More recently, Beecroft has collaborated with Kanye West on his elaborate Yeezy Seasons 1, 2 and 3 fashion shows. Now Valentino is getting in on Beecroft’s signature multimodel performance aesthetic to launch its “Rockstud Untitled” collection for pre-fall, hitting stores, including the Valentino flagships in Milan, Rome, London and New York City, as well as Bergdorf Goodman, today.
The capsule is a unisex collection of classics — a trench, a crewneck sweater, a white shirt, a peacoat — with gold stud trim and labeled with a number from one to 12 on a canvas satchel in which the garment is packaged. Valentino’s creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli introduced “Rockstud Untitled” with their pre-fall lineup and the intention is for the capsule to be ongoing.
According to a release on the collaboration, the capsule was “inspired from the Japanese Wabi-sabi philosophy — perfect imperfection — that cultivates the idea that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect.” That said, the items are essential perfect wardrobe staples, and Chiuri and Piccioli wanted Beecroft to express the clothes’ perfect timelessness through one of her signature performances. Thus Beecroft assembled a cast of 25 men and women, including actress Emily Mortimer and her husband Alessandro Nivola, model Nicolas Malleville, as well as models scouted through a street casting, for a “human formation” staged on April 10 at the New York Academy of Art, which was photographed and filmed. The images and video will comprise the in-store installations, which also include box forms and mannequins wearing the clothes.
Chiuri and Piccioli said, “Asking Vanessa to interpret this idea of ours was almost automatic: no one better than her, with an extremely strong and contemporary approach is able to merge, through her art, the concepts of beauty, reality, perfection and uniqueness/diversity. In her performance, different individuals, clothed in ‘uniform’ items, come together in a shared moment that is lived singularly portraying their personal beauty belief.”
For Beecroft’s part, she said, “I have never worked on a unisex concept because my work focuses on sex distinction. I work with groups of women, groups that can look identical from a distance, but that are formed by different identities, different women dressed the same. Like something military. I love the purity of the current designs of Valentino, the consolidation of past techniques with a vision of the present and future. This is an ultimate dream of mine. It was a challenge to work in such a short time on a relatively casual project without looking like an imitation of myself.”
Bergdorf Goodman is the exclusive retail partner on the installation outside of Valentino’s own store network. The installation will open today in the Bergdorf Goodman men’s and women’s stores with dedicated windows and will be on display until May 19.
“Valentino is one of our customers’ most treasured brands,” said Joshua Schulman, president, Bergdorf Goodman & NMG International. “When we saw the ‘Rockstud Untitled’ collection, the Bergdorf Goodman team was excited to offer a collection of wardrobe essentials with the quintessential polish of Pierpaolo and Maria Grazia. We were also intrigued by the innovative plan to launch the project. The collaboration with Vanessa Beecroft was the perfect platform for us to create a dynamic campaign in-store and online — encompassing windows, a visual installation, a private luncheon with the designers and exclusive video content.”