Led by CEO Jacopo Venturini and creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, the Italian luxury mainstay Valentino is in the midst of a renaissance, merging decades of brand heritage with a remarkable digitalization and marketing effort that has successfully re-introduced the brand to a new generation of luxury lovers worldwide.
In China, one of Valentino’s most important markets, the brand has been engaged in a successful multi-faceted effort over the past year to introduce the brand to younger millennial and Gen Z consumers while attracting older consumers to take a fresh look. Since the launch of the first Re-Signify exhibition in Shanghai last December, Valentino has continually broken new ground in China.
The brand’s latest initiative in China puts a new spin on the upcoming Double Eleven festival on November 11, also known as “Singles’ Day,” a day that celebrates those who are not in relationships and encourages them to make purchases for themselves. Although generally associated with e-commerce giants offering deep discounts, this year Valentino put a new spin on Double Eleven, with two short brand films that highlighted the true meaning of the festival: taking the time to appreciate oneself without depending on the approval of anyone else.
In doing so, Valentino positions itself as a brand that empowers individuals to take stock of their accomplishments and enjoy themselves free from judgment — reflected in the two campaign videos starring young Chinese celebrities known for their independent style.
The first video, starring singer Zhang Xinyao, highlights the Valentino Garavani One Stud sneakers and Valentino Garavani Roman Stud men’s bag. Entering a bar alone and taking a quick glance at the couples surrounding him, the Valentino-outfitted Zhang decides to focus on himself, putting on headphones and dancing, appreciating his alone time with no concern of the looks he gets from others.
Reflecting the individual, punk-tinged attitude of the One Stud collection, Zhang is enraptured in pure enjoyment while alone — exactly the sentiment that should underpin the Double Eleven festival.
The second campaign video, starring model Zhou Zilin, further builds on the self-care message. Outfitted in the Valentino Fall/Winter 2021 ACT collection, Zhou wears a monochrome pleated skirt and mini cape suit and clutches a Valentino Garavani Stud Sign handbag as she enters a hotel dining room otherwise packed with couples enjoying a romantic night out.
Imagining herself freezing time, Zhou wanders through the silent dining room in her daydream, weaving in and out of the frozen, mannequin-like diners and staff before being roused back to reality by a waiter. Rather than placing an order, Zhou retreats to her room to enjoy her own company, and her Valentino outfit and handbag, away from the couples and any public pressure.
With these campaign videos, Valentino adeptly incorporates the solo-living trend that has swept through China over the past two years, a phenomenon that has destigmatized the idea of spending time alone. With its Double Eleven campaign, the message is clear — dress up for yourself, buy what you want, ignore the opinions of others, and you will always enjoy yourself. With this campaign, Valentino effectively shows how it enables and empowers modern self-care, the true message of the Double Eleven festival, standing in stark contrast to mass-market flash sales and discounted consumer goods.
Valentino’s Double Eleven campaign comes on the heels of the second installment of its Re-Signify exhibition, most recently held in Beijing and building on last year’s intersectional theme by combining Valentino collections with the work of leading contemporary artists like Cao Fei, Xu Zhen, and Gioele Amaro. Valentino also recently launched the second edition of its art book, VLogo Signature, directed by Pierpaolo Piccioli.
Where Valentino truly excels in China is in its commitment to offering consumers a more encompassing brand experience, which entails more than just store openings. The brand is successfully connecting the dots for multiple generations of consumers, combining digital and physical, launching campaigns that are sophisticated and cultural rather than simply commercial, and working with the celebrities and influencers who appeal to the emerging Chinese cultural consumer. All of this combines to make Valentino a brand to continue watching in China — one that has a long history in the market and widespread brand awareness yet constantly works to break new ground and reiterate what it stands for.