SS21 Campaign & Celebrity Strategy

The Office of Applied Strategy was commissioned by Valentino to work on two separate, but closely intertwined projects for its Spring/Summer 2021 season.


First, we were tasked by Pierpaolo to develop the strategic framing and cultural framework for their updated celebrity ambassador program, titled Valentino DiVA.

Standing for 'Different Values,' the DiVA Program was an updated take on the idea of what being a celebrity meant for the house. Celebrating a more diverse, global roster of changemakers who were driving culture forward by daring to be authentically different was key to the genesis of this concept.

OAS developed not only the high-level explanation for reason for being for this program, but also developed a strategy guideline to help the brand understand the the celebrity roster mix and paramteres. Part of this strategy required us to interrogate what being a celebrity even mean – extending the definition, in part, to include fictional beings, such as a video game character.


Additional, we worked closely with the Valentino creative and marketing teams to develop the strategy for the campaign. Key to the brief was Pierpaolo's interest in rethinking the entire architecutre of the fashion campaign itself.

Instead of a traditional top-down, image-driven photoshoot, we want to create a richly fragmented campaign that was broken into multiple chapters that explored the campaign theme across different subcultures and platforms.

What resulted as a multi-chapter campaign structure that unfolded in an omnichannel manner over the entirety of the season. Some of the major components of this fragmented approach to a campaign included...

  1. Hero photoshoot by Michael Bailey Gates
  2. Book project with photographer Liz Johnson Artur
  3. Literature focused campaign with contemporary authors, writers and poets (The Narratives)
  4. Artist collaboration series to create original works of art (On Canvas)

This campaign received critical acclaim and industry praise for being a fresh, innovative approach to rethinking the why, what and how of a fashion campaign. The strategy was developed in such a manner that the underlying framework could be applied across seasons for different themes.