Gagosian Quarterly

July 21, 2021

fashion and art:valentino des ateliers

Author and curator Gianluigi Ricuperati speaks to the Quarterly’s Wyatt Allgeier about his curatorial involvement in Valentino Des Ateliers, a collaborative project devised by Valentino’s creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, in partnership with Ricuperati. Working in a symbiotic manner, Piccioli and the Valentino Haute Couture team engaged in a dialogue with artists Joel S. Allen, Anastasia Bay, Benni Bosetto, Katrin Bremermann, Guglielmo Castelli, Maurizio Cilli, Danilo Correale, Luca Coser, Jamie Nares, Francis Offman, Andrea Respino, Wu Rui, Sofia Silva, Alessandro Teoldi, Patricia Treib, and Malte Zenses, along with the participation of Kerstin Bratsch, to arrive at a singular couture collection.

Valentino Haute Couture atelier, Paris, featuring pieces from the Valentino Des Ateliers project. Photo: © Gregory Copitet

Valentino Haute Couture atelier, Paris, featuring pieces from the Valentino Des Ateliers project. Photo: © Gregory Copitet

Wyatt AllgeierI’m curious how this partnership between Valentino’s Haute Couture atelier and these artists began. Did Pierpaolo approach you?

Gianluigi RicuperatiI wrote an op-ed piece for Il Sole 24 Ore about the idea of fashion brands sustaining artists and culture. I was thinking about how a brand could function as a tool for societal renewal. It seems that I used some language that resonated with Pierpaolo’s thinking about Valentino, because after a few days I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers with some of the words that I used in the article transcribed by him. This initiated our conversation.

Pierpaolo told me about a dream of his to have a factory of sorts, a place where artists could collaborate and engage in dialogue with the haute couture atelier. So I went to Rome and we began looking into how this could function. I proposed a variety of artists—sixty or seventy, of various generations, various levels of prominence, working in different mediums. Interestingly, we became chiefly interested in working with painters, and the list narrowed down.

Fashion and Art: Valentino Des Ateliers

Valentino Des Ateliers, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021–22 collection, Venice

Fashion and Art: Valentino Des Ateliers

Sofia Silva, Festival Gondola, 2017, collage and oil on canvas, 17 × 20 ⅝ inches (43 × 53 cm) © Sofia Silva. Photo: C. Favero

WAHow did you arrive at the final list of sixteen artists?

GRThe decision was made organically, each chosen by Pierpaolo based on a gut feeling. We did our research, and he knew their stories, their motifs, and their research, but basically it was instinct that guided the decision.

The second step was putting everything on a mood board. We started looking at particular works by each artist. Though it wasn’t about putting together an exhibition, it was about the creation of a haute couture collection; there was a curatorial necessity to make everything harmonious, in terms of chromatic cohesion and so on.

In the end, what we found by looking deeply at this mood board was that it worked; it created a synchronized landscape of colors and forms. And that’s the moment the project blossomed. From there, the one-on-one dialogue with each artist could begin. It was a conversation based in the art of translation, in many ways—a translation between a two-dimensional form, painting, and a three-dimensional, volumetric, more sculptural form, haute couture. This is very important, because Pierpaolo wanted to be clear that fashion and art are different; they are united by dialogue, but they are distinct entities.

WAWere the artists asked to create new works, or was the team at Valentino responding to preexisting works by these artists? What was that process like once the artists were selected?

GRThe process was basically about a back-and forth, a ping-pong. It began with a single artwork by each artist, some of which already existed; some had already entered collections and weren’t actually available to exhibit, but this didn’t matter since they only needed to serve as the catalyst for the conversation. That was the ping; the pong was the moment when the artist, after seeing what Atelier Valentino did in this work of translation, in creating the dress, responded, whether in the form of a drawing, or an idea, or a painting . . . Joel S. Allen, a Colorado-based sculptor, started a new series of sculptures inspired by the process. Benni Bosetto, an Italian artist, worked directly with the atelier to insert some of her work into the dress. Every collaboration was different—some took place purely as dialogue, some were practical, some were inspirational.

Fashion and Art: Valentino Des Ateliers

Artwork by Benni Bosetto

Fashion and Art: Valentino Des Ateliers

Valentino Des Ateliers, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021–22 collection, Venice

WAThat’s refreshing, as so often “collaborations” are simply about reproducing a painting on a t-shirt, right? But this sounds more integrated and passionate.

GRYes, and hopefully these conversations between the artists and the atelier will continue, even after the couture show. I hope we started something akin to a growth chamber, a place where you assist a microorganism or a seed to grow by providing a situation that favors growth. And I think we have, because it’s based on a peer-to-peer situation. I like to think it’s the fashion response to the spirit of Black Mountain College, in a way: a totally cross-disciplinary attitude, where everybody learns from each other.

WAThe collection was presented in Venice. Was the location part of the thinking from the start, given the city’s historic role in art?

GRDefinitely. In Pierpaolo’s vision, Venice was always there. He wanted a setting that didn’t need to be touched. And also, the Venice Biennale is the place of experimentation and art, so I think it was inevitable to show there.

Photos: courtesy Valentino

Damien Hirst's Reclining Woman on the cover of Gagosian Quarterly, Fall 2021

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2021

The Fall 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Damien Hirst’s Reclining Woman (2011) on its cover.

Tatiana Trouvé in her Paris studio.

Behind the Art
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Sergio Zambon black-and-white portrait

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Kon Trubkovich in his studio, Brooklyn, New York, 2021.

Kon Trubkovich

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Installation view of Urs Fischer’s Untitled (2011) in the exhibition Ouverture, Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, Paris, 2021. Artwork © Urs Fischer, courtesy Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection © Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, Niney et Marca Architectes, Agence Pierre-Antoine Gatier. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Bourse de Commerce

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Anna Halprin in The Prophetess, 1955.

Game Changer
Anna Halprin

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Kevin Jerome Everson, 2019. Photo: © Erin Leland

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Andreas Gursky, Jonathan Ive, 2019, fine art print mounted on dibond, 64 1/2 × 50 ⅝ inches (163.7 × 128.5 cm). National Portrait Gallery, London, commissioned; made possible by the Outset Commission, supported by Scott Collins in partnership with Outset Contemporary Art Fund, 2019 © Andreas Gursky/VG BILD-KUNST, Bonn

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Gregory Corso, New York, 1986. Photo: Allen Ginsberg

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Jean Pigozzi:  An interview with Rachel Feinstein

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Famed photographer of the famous, Jean Pigozzi speaks with artist Rachel Feinstein about the publication of his new book, The 213 Most Important Men in My Life, and provides a sneak peek at what’s coming up next. 

John Currin, Memorial, 2020 (detail), oil on canvas, 62 × 40 inches (157.5 × 101.6 cm)

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Stella McCartney. Photo: Dougal MacArthur

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The fashion designer Stella McCartney is best known for pioneering “vegan style,” a term referring to the animal-product-free designs of her luxury label. Derek Blasberg spoke to her about a childhood surrounded by artists such as Frank Stella and Willem de Kooning, and how their inspiration continues to influence her design process.