Valentino’s ‘Narratives’ series captures this season’s literary mood

On World Poetry Day, a new series by Valentino invites 17 celebrated writers – André Aciman, Leïla Slimani and Mieko Kawakami among them – to contribute extracts on the theme of ‘love’

Text campaign by Valentino for their Narratives campaign
Valentino Narratives II (André Aciman left, Leïla Slimani right)
(Image credit: press)

A literary mood pervaded the A/W 2022 runways – whether American author Ottessa Moshfegh writing a short story to accompany Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez’s latest Proenza Schouler collection, or at Valentino, a 40-page pink-hued invite created in collaboration with cult Generation X author Douglas Coupland, there was a distinct sense that reading was the activity du jour this season.

Released today on World Poetry Day, the latter house’s new series ‘Narratives II’ continues this literary project, inviting some of the world’s most celebrated authors to submit an original piece of writing which is then laid out into colourful text-only campaign images, evoking – as Valentino describes – ‘a polyphonic conversation, a common quest of building a multi-vocal community’. The 17 participants range across genres and countries, and include Amia Srinivasan, André Aciman, David Sedaris, Leïla Slimani, Michael Cunningham, Murathan Mungan and Mieko Kawakami, among others. Coupland also returns with an extract titled ‘Unopened Mail’.

Valentino Narratives Douglas Coupland

Valentino Narratives II (Douglas Coupland)

(Image credit: press)

The loose theme of the project is love ‘in all its forms and meanings’, with each short extract spanning various mediums – some are brief aphorisms, like Slimani’s ‘we all die unknown, but if we have loved, if we have devoted our hearts to another, even for a moment, our lives have counted’, others miniature short stories or fragments of poems, others simply surreal gatherings of words. Valentino said it hoped each writer would ‘experiment in freedom of genre’.

Alongside the campaign, the house will also continue to support independent bookstores in association with Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss’ book club Belletrist, from McNally Jackson Books to Brooklyn’s Café Con Libros – a project first started in the original Narratives campaign, which launched in April of last year (Valentino cites ‘a proactive approach to “giving back” to the community, and the places where literature dwells’). The campaign itself will appear papered across the streets of Soho, New York, as well as in other cities around the world.

The Narratives series continues an ongoing and ever-expanding link between Valentino and the literary world, which first began in 2018. In the years since, projects have included Valentino On Love, featuring contributions from Mustafa The Poet, Greta Bellamacina and Yrsa Daley-Ward, a scholarship for new writers in collaboration with novelist Tomi Adeyemi, and a 2020 campaign by photographer Liz Johnson Artur, accompanied by original words from Bernardine Evaristo, the Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other

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Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.