REDValentino SS 2021 by Timo Helgert

Interview: Claudia Pecoraro

During the lockdown period, you decided to employ sophisticated digital techniques to celebrate nature that was spontaneously reclaiming the urban landscapes suffocated by concrete, pollution, noise. While the media continues to fuel collective feelings of anxiety and oppression, your videos, which have traveled around the world, show expanses of grass, flowers, butterflies invading cities: a breath of air and color, a relief, a future of possible serenity. REDValentino has chosen to set the shots of the Spring 2021 collection in these surreal and dreamlike scenarios of yours. Tell us how this new collaboration was born.
I was approached by REDValentino for a potential collaboration. I was very excited and soon we found each other on creative calls to discuss the technical challenges, to create a lookbook during the lockdown, while the shooting was in Italy, the direction in Germany and my team in London and India. But as difficult, as it sounds, it was a great workflow and we had a lot of more control over many elements, compared to a traditional shooting.

How does your creative process happen? Do you spend some time surrounded by nature or does the immersion take place entirely in your head, inside a studio?
It was right during lockdown, so I wasn’t even allowed to leave my house for anything not serious. The idea was born in my head, inspired by current events. While during lockdown many people had to endure a difficult time, not even being able to enjoy something simple as nature outside, this series came to me as an expression from my side, to try help people affected by the lockdown, by bringing nature to them and envisioning familiar environments in different unusual ways. Elements of the environments are directly inspired by REDValentino’s collection as well, such as from their patterns and designs.

In the new REDValentino collection, even among the unstructured or cut dresses in bold silhouettes, oversized suits, cocoon capes and knitted cardigans, patterns or accessories peep out like delicate references to nature, romantic details like maxi bows or ruffles that bloom on clothes and bags. The rebellious spirit of the maison finds a perfect marriage with the grace of vegetation while the refined femininity of the clothes is enhanced by the exuberant power of nature. How did this collection inspire you?
The collection is stunning. I personally love the workmanship and the attention to detail, as well as the floral patterns, which remind me of my time in Japan. My art focuses on emotions and escapism. My idea is to create something universal, which can be understood easily and creates a certain emotion. It shouldn’t matter who we are, what age or gender we are and where we are, something universal which doesn’t need words or language, but that can be understood by everyone. That’s what I also seek in fashion – to me it’s an extension of ourselves and it’s a story we show the world. I think REDValentino’s collection is doing a great job in helping young creatives to give them the items they need to tell a story in this world.

The urban look of the outfits dialogues with the newly blooming nature as much as with the iconic metropolitan landscapes, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the subway cars. Tell us about the choice of locations to set the campaign.
I wanted to create a feeling of similarity, evoke an emotion of something we know. But I wanted to change the perspective, people have on it, to take something you have an attachment to already, but then twist it into a unique and new direction.

You got us used to dreaming through the vision of these strongly anthropized places reconquered by Mother Nature, which nevertheless remained deserted. For the first time the human presence returns, embodied by the gentle and multifaceted presence of the protagonists dressed REDValentino, who inhabit these suspended spaces with harmony, lightness, freedom. Seduction is all played out in this pacified balance. Do you believe that this path, which arises from a chimerical escape, can somehow find a match in reality?
I hope! And I hope people can also find this escape. I experience both of them, by always trying to find a way to balance it. Actually, if there is one missing, as if for now, I am currently back in my small hometown, where we don’t even have a cinema, just nature. At times like this, I simply enjoy the feeling of missing the busy city life. So I think the connection between both is very unique.