When Haute Couture House Valentino publishes its campaigns on social media, it usually gets 10,000 likes and dozens of comments. However, this time the scandalous photo session exceeded all expectations.
The 28-year-old photographer Michael Bailey-Gates, who has starred as a model for the brand’s new advertising campaign, appears nude, holding a bag from the new collection with the words “Freedom of Expression and Recognition of Uniqueness. Appreciate the House’s new campaign, ”got 205,375 likes and ten thousand discouraging comments.
This could have been a social media triumph for Valentino if not for the reviews! Renowned throughout the world as a classic, traditional and iconic fashion house in Italy, Valentino faced for the first time in its history a storm of hateful comments against both the House and the model herself.
The stumbling block was Michael Bailey-Gates, a New York-based professional photographer with a degree from the School of Fine Arts, Rhode Island, who received the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Award and the New York Photo Award for the SVA Alumni Fellowship. 2015 year.
If you look at his work, it becomes obvious that he blurs the boundaries of gender: men and women wear the same clothes and use the same accessories. And the point is not at all in his personal perception of fashion, but in how he sees “gender through the prism of social stereotypes.”
Obviously, the concept of gender doesn’t really bother him, but the way he was photographed essentially frees the luxury consumer product from gender differentiation. “This bag is suitable for everyone” – is implied in the photo message.
The house’s creative director since 2008, 54-year-old Pierpaolo Picciolli, did not leave angry comments from subscribers unanswered, stating: Valentino not only offers clothes, he follows the demands of the times, which are constantly changing.
Among other things, he notes: “After we posted this photo (of Michael Bailey-Gates) on Maison Valentino, many people reacted with hateful comments. My job is to convey my vision of beauty in accordance with the times in which we live. Beauty and what we think is beautiful is a reflection of our own values. We see a great, huge shift in human nature, in the movement towards self-knowledge. Evolution is possible if equality is possible, if unification (merging) is possible, if human rights are protected, and freedom and a culture of perception are nurtured.
Hate is a reaction to fear, and fear can easily turn into violence, which can be expressed either in a commentary or by attacking two teenagers kissing on the subway.
We must confront and condemn all forms of violence, hatred, discrimination and racism, and I am proud to be able to use my voice and my work to do this, now and forever. We see a portrait of a handsome young man. He does not represent evil. Anger is born in the eyes and minds of the viewer, and does not lie in the naked body. “
Forty thousand fans of Picchli loved the photo, and another 2,500 comments have been received from fashion and eminent photographers such as Ines and Vinood, who praise him for his courageous attitude, fresh outlook and the change in perception that fashion brings. when she is a pioneer (pioneer) of her time.