BOTTEGA VENETA’s Fall campaign, a marketing lesson for luxury brands

Bottega Veneta, Fall Winter 2011 campaign

Shot by photographer Robert Polidori on location in March of 2011, at the Palazzo Papadapoli, a 16th-century building situated on the Grand Canal in Venice, Bottega Veneta’s Fall-Winter 2011/2012 advertising campaign is yet another  one-of-a-kind creative collaboration featuring the talents of outstanding artists, series initiated by Creative Director Tomas Maier.

Bottega Veneta’s Fall Winter collection is dominated by shapes which are clean and natural, following the line of the body. Texture and a plush three-dimensionality characterize the fabrics, which range from fuzzy wool blends and crisply finished wool suiting to waxed leathers, washed leathers, ultra-light silks, and fine jersey knits. Overprinting, tonal patterns, embroidery, and fabric overlays add depth and graphic intrigue to the surfaces in the women’s collection, while mixed materials and unconventional methods of construction reinvent traditional pieces of men’s wear.

Robert Polidori is a world-renowned photographer of rooms, architecture, and other human environments. His photography career began when he photographed the restoration of Versailles. He has since addressed a wide range of subjects and locations, including the aftermath of Chernobyl, Castro’s Havana, and the legacy of war in Beirut. In 2006 he was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to photograph New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The resulting exhibition drew the largest audience ever to attend one of the museum’s photography shows. He is a staff photographer for The New Yorker and his work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Polidori works with a custom-built large-format camera to take pictures filled with voluminous, voluptuous detail. His images capture a sense of time passing, of humanity and history revealed in what people leave behind. The emotional and temporal dimensions that Polidori brings to his detailed images are what led Bottega Veneta Creative Director Tomas Maier to approach him for the Fall-Winter campaign. “What is unusual about Robert’s work is that it both documents and interrogates,” says Maier. “His attention to detail creates layers of meaning that extend beyond the formal beauty of his images. I was interested in seeing what would result if he turned his lens on Bottega Veneta’s design and the brand’s roots in the Veneto, specifically Venice.”

The shoot, which took place over two days in Venice, was the first time that Polidori had been commissioned to shoot with models. “Robert brought this great energy and open-minded sense of adventure to the shoot,” continues Maier. “It was a genuinely exciting collaboration.” Robert Polidori joins a long list of renowned artists who have contributed to the creation of Bottega Veneta’s advertising portfolio. Previous collaborations include Alex Prager (Spring 2011), Robert Longo (Fall 2010), Nan Goldin (Spring 2010), Steven Meisel (Fall 2009), Larry Sultan (Spring 2009), Todd Eberle (Cruise 2009), Nick Knight (Fall 2008), Sam Taylor-Wood (Spring 2008), Annie Leibovitz (Fall 2007), Tina Barney (Spring 2007), Lord Snowdon (Fall 2006), Stephen Shore (Spring 2006) and Philip-Lorca diCorcia (Fall 2005).