VALENTINO’S AI CODE: Following the digital reveal of Valentino’s spring 2021 couture collection on Jan. 26, the Rome-based house has unveiled a “digital artwork” featuring the making of the collection in a collaboration with British artist, musician, singer and songwriter Robert Del Naja, also known as 3D, and founding member of the band Massive Attack.

Del Naja worked with neural artist Mario Klingemann to feed the content filmed at the Valentino headquarters in Rome into artificial intelligence technology. Klingemann uses algorithms and AI to create and investigate human perception of art and creativity, researching methods in which machines can augment or emulate these processes.

Del Naja for three months filmed some of the steps involved in developing the couture collection and these clips were processed and edited by a machine that runs a series of algorithms.

“The work explores the process of the haute couture collection, playing with symmetries between learned systems and human transgression, and the spontaneity of machine learning,” stated the house of Valentino. “Featuring a cut-up collagist script, the piece was filmed and observed by machine learning algorithms spontaneously edited by neural networks trained by Klingemann. Footage shot during the creation of the new collection in Rome, information on the making of the collection, the faces of the seamstresses and the time-lapsed photography of the work in progress on the tailoring mannequin, all become algorithmic sequences elaborated and set to new music by the machine.”

The actual video of the couture show was filmed at the baroque, 14th-century Palazzo Colonna in Rome.

For Piccioli, “the roots, the rituals, the processes of the haute couture are an exaltation of the human being. Time is a code and a mantra, as time spent by the seamstresses to work on a dress is the most valuable aspect.”

Whatever the reasoning and the technology behind the project, Piccioli and the artists succeeded in highlighting the exquisite craftsmanship of Valentino’s seamstresses and artisans in the atelier, the painstaking steps and the passion necessary to create a couture collection for the brand.