The Art of Collaboration (Rizzoli, 2015) chronicles the evolution of fashion house Bottega Veneta’s brand imaging since 2002. The book illustrates the heart of the Bottega Veneta brand over time as defined by creative director Tomas Maier and his partnership with dozens of art photographers, themselves luminaries both within and outside of the fashion world. As Maier himself states in the introduction, “I see the old campaigns and it’s more about the big picture for me, never ‘Oh, I like the bag in that picture.’ I like the ensemble. I always look at the image in total, never the details. I don’t even see the clothes. And when we refer to the collections from the past, we refer to the photographer. That’s way I love the audience to see all of this together. That’s how it makes sense.” This volume presents a unique opportunity to show the images in their optimal state: a co-created expression of Maier’s singular vision, a series of stories that together comprise the Bottega Veneta brand narrative.
The Art of Collaboration was conceived and curated as a unified body of work, and the book’s design mirrors the emphasis on material, craftsmanship and quiet confidence that suffuses the images within. The photographs of Nan Goldin, Peter Lindbergh, Alex Prager, and Steven Meisel among others are removed from their original habitat of glossy magazine pages and bound together on matte paper with mono-spaced type that provides a distinct and restrained setting for the range of the work and the interstitial behind-the-scenes and mood imagery. The choice to create a brand-neutral backdrop for the compendium is evident not only in the absence of brand logos but also in the design of the cover, where the title is placed on a clear acetate overlay so that the stark Robert Longo image on the front retains its purity.
Released at the end of 2015 to acclaim from The New York Times, Muse Magazine, ArtNet, Architectural Digest, and Esquire, The Art of Collaboration stands as the definitive expression of, as W magazine put it, “the formidable vision of a brand whose ad campaigns transcend their commercial purpose.”