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Behind the Photograph: Valentino Spring / Summer 1995 Ad Campaign


When Mr. Valentino and his team decided to base the Spring/Summer 1995 ad campaign on La Dolce Vita, they had no idea how closely the shoot would approximate the chaotic glamour conjured in Fellini’s film. Naturally, the campaign was shot in Rome, home to Valentino, and the setting of La Dolce Vita, with legend Arthur Elgort taking the snaps, and supermodel Claudia Schiffer the stand-in for the blonde bombshell movie star played by Anita Ekberg in the film.


Over three days of shooting, Elgort photographed Schiffer in many of Rome’s most high-profile historical spots: Via Veneto, Campidoglio, and of course, the Trevi Fountain, where Ekberg and co-star Marcello Mastroianni famously frolicked in La Dolca Vita. According to Violante Valdettaro, the longtime publicist for Valentino who was on the shoot, Schiffer attracted as much paparazzi and as many admirers as Ekberg’s character, in the film. “Rome got crazy during this campaign,” she recalls. “We had a lot of people following us all around, paparazzi non-stop, newspapers and TV crews asking for credentials to follow the shooting. And,Valdettaro adds, “even the mayor of Rome requested to meet Claudia!” La Dolce Vita, indeed.


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