The great big September issues of the fashion magazines are now on newsstands. And that means, of course, that the great big new ad campaigns are out, too. Over the years, Valentino had more than its share of memorable Fall/Winter campaigns- and in Mr. Valentino’s final years at the house, many of these were shot by legendary photographer Steven Meisel.
In the Fall/Winter 1994/95 campaign, Meisel went black and white and fairy tale gothic, capturing Nadja Auermann and her endless legs in distinctly otherworldly ensembles. The atmosphere couldn’t have been more different in the campaign for Fall/Winter 2000/01, which found Meisel poolside in Hollywood, and Malgosia Bela playing the role of the soigné film industry doyenne having a heated chat about a script with a soaking wet male “movie star.”
One of the most striking Meisel campaigns, however, was the one he shot for the Fall/Winter 2005/06 Haute Couture, with Jessica Stam. The images have a timeless strangeness - even today, nearly ten years from when they were released, they retain the power to surprise. The trick is simple, but it works: Meisel shot shadowy but straightforward portraits of Stam, redolent somewhat of classical painted portraiture, and then digitally adjusted the look of her eyes. It’s as though he were the court photographer for the queen of a race of supremely chic aliens who occasionally take on human form. Wow.