Valentino Enlists Nat Geo Photographer for Spring Campaign
Steven McCurry took high fashion to the Amboseli National Park in Kenya for the brand's latest Africa-inspired collection.
Valentino creative directors Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri went out on a limb for their spring 2016 collection, creating clothes and accessories inspired by tribal African motifs and even styling their (mostly white) models in cornrows.
While some show-goers took fault with the language which the pair used to describe their inspiration, including the use of descriptors like "primitive" and "wild," there was no denying the incredible craftsmanship and execution of the clothes themselves, with several editors giving rave reviews.
To follow up their much-talked about showing at Paris Fashion Week, the fashion house decided to head to — where else — Africa to shoot their spring campaign. But rather than enlist a major fashion photographer for the job, the duo recruited photographer Steven McCurry, who is best known for his cultural photography and contributions to National Geographic — namely his world-famous portrait, "The Afghan Girl."
"Photography is always about finding the best solution to a puzzle and creating some wonderful feeling or scenario, making a great story," said McCurry, who, along with the designers, chose the Amboseli National Park in Kenya as the campaign's backdrop. The neighboring Maasai people also make candid appearances alongside models in the images.
In their own words, Chirui and Piccioli again defended themselves against those who implied that their collection was an example of appropriation, explaining in an Instagram caption of the ads, "Our emotions about African Culture, the idea of beauty achieved by the interaction of different cultures, the idea of tolerance, this is the message we wanted to deliver."