Meet the Artist Behind Maison Valentino's Exclusive Art Basel Collab

The capsule collection includes a piece of fine art with every purchase

Known for hallucinogenic oil portraits, San Francisco-based artist Emilio Villalba is merging the worlds of fine art and high fashion with an exclusive collaboration alongside Maison Valentino for this years Art Basel in Miami. The limited edition capsule collection reimagines a series of the iconic Valentino Garavani VSLING Bags displaying playful, one-of-a-kind works hand-painted by Villalba himself. Pre-Basel, we got the chance to speak with the artist on his inspiration behind the collection.
1) Why is Valentino a special brand for you? 
I have developed an amazing relationship with the team at Valentino they have been huge supporters of my art, and I feel extremely blessed and honored to have been asked to collaborate with Valentino in this way. The opportunity to create something unique with a brand as established as Valentino is a dream come true, and for them to take a risk and allow me to put paint on their bags says a lot about them.  They are bold and wanted to take on an exciting project with their bags and store and I’m glad I was able to contribute.
2) When working with an established brand like Valentino on a collaboration, how do you balance your own vision with their established traditions? 
Once we decided what the project was going to be, the ideas flowed naturally.  I looked at each bag, and worked with the color of the bag and designed around the center V logo.  I knew I wanted an eye or multiple eyes on every bag and some element of symmetry.  The images flow back and forth from flat and three-dimensional.  Each bag is hand painted using acrylic paint and are all unique.  I tried my hardest not to look at previous Valentino designs during the process, to keep this as unique as possible.  The bags are the art, my paintings were added with the utmost love and respect for the brand.
3) Do you have any particular thoughts or feelings about Miami Art Basel to share with us? 
It’ll be my first time in Miami, and it couldn’t be more special.  Valentino and Modern Eden Gallery working together on a beautiful presentation that I can’t wait to see!
Additionally, the façade of Valentino’s Design District boutique will be transformed with works of Villalba for a private launch event co-hosted by Minnie Muse creator, Colby Mugrabi to inaugurate the capsule collection. The bags themselves can be pre-ordered at Valentino’s Design District boutique retailing for $5,000.

Discover More