Creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli's mission to modernise Maison Valentino's DNA continues with the new exhibition Valentino Re-Signify Part II in Beijing's SKP South T-10 space. Exploring the key areas of the house which Piccioli has been reframing on the runway; Haute Couture, the Atelier, the Stud and the VLogo, together with Valentino Beauty, the project showcases the community of artistic voices who have helped to expand the Valentino community in recent seasons.
From inviting British menswear designer Craig Green to put his spin on the iconic Rockstud accessory detail, to inviting sixteen magazines to reinterpret the VLogo, recent projects have seen Piccioli invite a plethora of creative voices into the Valentino world. Last year, the designer called upon Nick Knight to conceive a new way to showcase haute couture online, after fashion weeks went digital due to the global health crisis. White dresses were coloured by digital colour projections, placing human values in conjunction with the digital. Now placed in situ at the new exhibition, visitors can experience the dresses suspended on six metre high mannequins whilst Knight's film is projected onto the walls. Piccioli has invited a selection of artists to join his collaborators in the space, responding to similar ideas presented in the pre-existing works. One example is digital artist Gioele Amaro, who presents six works exploring the refraction of light across reflective surfaces such as deforming mirrors and crumpled aluminium sheets.
Another room in the exhibition draws on the Valentino S/S 21 haute couture collection first unveiled in January 2021, for which the house worked with the artist Robert '3D' Del Naja and AI artist Mario Klingemann to translate the language of the couture ateliers into an artificial intelligence system.
'The images filmed during the creation of the collection in Rome - information about the making of the collection itself, the faces of the seamstresses and the time-lapse photography of the work in progress on the tailor’s dummy - all become algorithmic sequences processed and paced by the machine. The time code of this process of Couture becomes a digital narrative in the collaboration with Del Naja: a complete and self-contained document of the long process of the Atelier, culminating in the fashion show at the Galleria Colonna in Rome', Valentino explain.
Presented in a new context in Beijing, the film is presented alongside the 'Fiesta' cocktail dress from the Valentino S/S 59 haute couture collection, designed by the maison's founder Valentino Garavani. The red tulle dress features drapery mimicking roses, and is an archetypal silhouette for the house, having been 're-signified' through the years. By nodding to the history of the house within the context of modern technology, Piccioli highlights the dualities of his vision for Valentino.
Other artists in the exhibition include Cao Fei, Xu Zhen, Robert Muller, Liu Shiyuan, Cheng Ran, Shen Xin, Xu Wenkai, Amkk, Jonas Mekas, Yeesookyung, Jacopo Benassi, Pajama, Wu Rui and Alessandro Teoldi.
Valentino Re-Signify Part II runs 17 October to 7 November, 2021 at SKP South's T-10 space, Beijing.