UPDATE: Watch all six films in Bottega Veneta’s Art of Collaboration below.
For a long time, the fashion industry has been relying on print campaigns to communicate the vision and concept of its seasonal collections. It’s an anachronism that has survived a digital-first world. But Bottega Veneta took a bold step recently when it unveiled its latest spring/summer 2018 campaign – one shot fully on film and without a fashion photographer.
The Italian house tapped on the talents of director and magazine editor Fabien Baron of Baron & Baron for a series of six short films revolving around the theme of the Art of Collaboration. Collectively named Reflections, these films will be released episodically throughout the season.
The first two are titled 196.6 MHz and Miraggio. The former features a man and woman attempting to communicate with each other via radio while the latter captures the chaos of a city. Watch the beautifully shot clips below and read our interview with Baron himself, the man responsible for this brave campaign.
How did you come to the decision to make moving images the core of Bottega Veneta’s new campaign?
First, we felt that it was important for a brand like Bottega Veneta to be more narrative. Second, the moving image has grown more significant lately, and with the new generation not caring much about still images, film was the best way to communicate the brand message.
So everything came from the film instead of the traditional campaign, with a print element, a film element and digital element. We took the stills for the print campaign from the film. There was no photographer.
That’s quite an unconventional move: a fashion ad campaign without a photographer.
This is the first time I’ve worked on a big campaign without a photographer. But we had a director of photography. And the rest of the team: hair and makeup, a stylist. But no photographer. I ended up being the director on set, but only because I compare the work I do with the director of photography very similar to the work I usually do with a photographer anyway: ultimately protecting the brand message and Tomas’s work.
You directed the films and you also selected the team of collaborators. Can you talk about that process?
I chose Philippe Le Sourd as the director of photography. He worked on Wong Kar-Wai‘s The Grandmaster and Sofia Coppola’s film The Beguiled. His lighting is cinematic, which suited Reflections but he also understands style and fashion. I have worked with him many times before and it felt like a natural fit. He understands color and the flow of fabrics well. All of these things make a difference.
Behind the scenes of the shoot for 196.6 MHz
The set designer Stefan Beckman has amazing taste, and he got into what we were trying to say for the brand. The models were also considered collaborators. Tomas and I both loved Vittoria Ceretti (pictured above). We liked that she’s Italian but also when you look at her, she embodies luxury.
Where does the print campaign fit into the new media landscape?
Even with the world moving toward digital, you do still need a print campaign (below). But I think of it more to entice people. It’s almost the advertisement for the films. The layout is also unique. It’s not something you’ve seen before.
The repetition of images gives you that cinematic vibe. It has a different rhythm and look. I think it’s going to get noticed, because it’s unique. And people will know immediately that it’s Bottega Veneta.
Bottega Veneta’s print campaign based on the stills from the film
You’ve spoken before about the need for luxury brands to keep their digital content elevated. Was that a consideration in the format of this campaign, which provides exciting new content throughout the season?
Oh definitely. Digital is supposed to be quicker and faster but you still need to represent the brand and what it stands for: high-quality luxury. You have your story at a certain level, and you have your visuals at a certain level. That’s the way it was with print.
Then digital came in and everything was permitted. Now we can show the backdoor of everything. That’s okay but you still need the dream factor. I think the films of Reflections are at the level of a feature movie-in product, talent and special effects but there are layers. You can consume it in different ways.
What drove the inspiration of the films?
It really evolved over time. We were thinking about how to translate the brand values of mystery and surrealism in storytelling through the lens of Tomas’s vision. There’s a tension in what Tomas does, that’s probably why there’s tension in the films. We want people to feel something when they see the films. It’s not a sensation that you usually have when you look at something fashion.
What does the future look like for digital-minded campaigns based on moving images?
We’re pushing the bar. A few other brands are pushing the bar. But it’s just the beginning. In four or five years, people are going to do amazing things digitally.
This moving image moment reminds me of when MTV started. When you had the first videos it was like, “Oh this is cool. Oh my god there’s five girls on camera. Oh my god, they’re dancing.” And then on and on. Then music videos became incredibly produced and visual commentaries of the time. I think this will happen with fashion and film; brands and I think everyone involved will take it up a notch every season.
The rest of the films in Bottega Veneta’s Reflections will be released from March onward