As the holidays are among us, aeqai’s fashion retrospective moves back a few weeks to early December with Italian fashion house Valentino. The brand was founded in 1959 by world-renowned fashion designer Valentino Garavani and is currently under the creative direction of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli.

The two designers have taken Valentino’s legacy and run with it, especially showing new and interesting aspects of the Valentino woman at their bi-annual runway shows in Paris. The duo’s forthcoming new venture is known as Mirabilia Romae, which will be a trail around the Eternal City that will last 12 kilometers with the goal of showcasing the vast history of Rome.

But before this adventure begins in Rome, Maria and Pier put the artistry and craftsmanship of their heritage brand on display in Miami for Art Basel. In a live exhibit outside their Miami store, the brand collaborated with artist Pietro Ruffo to show both mediums side-by-side. Valentino seamstresses worked as they would in their Rome atelier, while Ruffo reproduced Giambattista’s original 18th century map of Rome. Consider this the first step on the road to Mirabilia Romae.

According to Valentino, the From Memory to Creativity installation offered “a “behind-the-scenes“ glimpse of the Valentino Atelier, which will be faithfully reproduced inside the installation space to demonstrate how each work of art – from a couture dress to a painting or the most complex architecture – is the result of an enduring genius-time alliance.” That fashion is an art form unto itself is a topic we’ve covered in aeqai previously and I think it’s safe to say that the Valentino brand has given its definitive word on the subject.

Unfortunately, inclement weather in Miami forced part of the evening event to be rained out, but nonetheless the designers were still able to elicit the intended discussion of Valentino craftsmanship to its waiting audience.

What’s very interesting about this collaboration is its purity in remaining true to the brand. As so often happens when an indie event becomes mainstream (count Coachella as a prime example here), fashion brands get involved just for the sake of commerce. And I suppose there’s nothing really wrong with that, if it’s understood by the general public that that is what’s happening.

But as of this moment, Art Basel still remains a truly artistic experience even if some fashion houses are getting involved. And Valentino’s Memory to Creativity project is a pitch-perfect way for an atelier to combine efforts with Art Basel because their live installation showed the true talent of Valentino artisans. It wasn’t about simply hanging clothing in a store in the midst of a festival. It brought the art of fashion to life in a truly unique, and very Valentino, way.

A hope is that other fashion brands will follow suit and collaborate with Art Basel in an artistic way, showing their own artisanal history at the same time.

Images via Vogue Italia.

Jenny Perusek is a freelance Brand Manager, specializing in fashion and the creative arts.

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