The Art of Collaboration

The Art of Collaboration

This story is an excerpt from V98. Pre-order now and get the issue before it hits stands on November 12!

This story is an excerpt from V98. Pre-order now and get the issue before it hits stands on November 12!

Text: Katharine K. Zarrella

In the digital age, fashion campaigns have evolved into something beyond mere product propaganda. They dominate our Instagram feeds, spawn countless critiques, and thanks to an influx of celebrity faces, pop up everywhere from Page Six to late-night TV. However, throughout his 14-year tenure as the creative director of Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier has stayed true to his subtler, but no less striking approach to advertising. With a deep love for photography (he’s been an avid collector his entire adult life), Maier in 2002 launched the Art of Collaboration, a project for which he enlists fine art photographers to capture Bottega’s seasonal offerings. There are no tricks or gimmicks, just beautiful images created by some of the world’s most respected talents: Annie Leibovitz, Nobuyoshi Araki, the late David Armstrong, Nick Knight, David Sims, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Peter Lindbergh, and Ryan McGinley among them.

“Photography is one of my passions in life,” says Maier. “And when I look at a campaign, I don’t want to think about the bag or the clothes. It’s more important to create a mood or a feeling so that the collection comes to life.”

Maier’s handpicked image-makers have helped him achieve this. For instance, Philip-Lorca diCorcia brought a film noir tint to Maier’s first full womenswear collection (F/W ’06), shot on Christy Turlington in the elevators of Bottega’s New York offices, and Nan Goldin’s soft S/S ’10 ads, lensed in a decrepit Staten Island whaling house, depict a heady romance drenched in gilded light. Each campaign tells a story, and with the release of Bottega Veneta: Art of Collaboration, you can have each of Bottega’s tales on your coffee table. Published by Rizzoli and featuring an intro by Tim Blanks, the tome boasts campaigns by all 27 photographers who have shot for Bottega thus far, from Robin Broadbent’s product-focused F/W ’02 adverts to Juergen Teller’s expressive F/W ’15 snaps of Anna Cleveland. But don’t be mistaken—this book doesn’t mark the end of Maier’s collaborations. “There are many photographers who I would like to work with in the future,” he says, naming Martin Parr as a top choice. “I am very careful that my collaborators’ work fits with the collection we’ve just presented. Martin would need something with the right color and detail. But this is a long-term goal. The right collection will come.”

Bottega Veneta: Art of Collaboration is  out now from Rizzoli 

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