Florence Pugh has never been one to shy away from a fashion feud. After appearing at the Valentino couture show in Rome in July wearing a transparent pink gown that displayed her nipples, she sparked a viral uproar and afterwards commented on Instagram defending her decision and her body. After that, she attended the premiere of “Don’t Worry Darling” at the Venice Film Festival in September wearing a sparkling Valentino gown-‘n’-shorts that became known as her “revenge dress” after reports surfaced of a fight between her and co-star Harry Styles and the director, Olivia Wilde, during filming. Then she attended the Oscars wearing another divisive Valentino gown.
Now, on May 1, she’ll attend the Met Gala as the official face of the next Rockstud bag campaign and as Pierpaolo Piccioli, the creative director of Valentino, his date.
In the ever-increasingly frantic sport of the celebrity-fashion dating game, where allegiances shift with dizzying rapidity, they have become the newest “It” pair.
Former Valentino Pink PP commercial model Zendaya is currently working for Louis Vuitton. Former Balenciaga model Kim Kardashian is now appearing in advertising for Dolce & Gabbana. Such abrupt shifts in aesthetics might make it seem that the deal is motivated more by a desire for financial gain than by any genuine desire to convey one’s own sense of style. Nonetheless, Ms. Pugh and Mr. Piccioli have certain ideas about life, fashion, and the meaning of it all.
Where did all of this start, exactly? either socially or professionally?
Pugh, Florence: Since I wore that pink dress to the couture presentation, our relationship has been more like speed dating. Although I received many compliments, it came as a shock to learn that some viewers felt emboldened to express their distaste at my nipples’ public display.
The clothing was certainly provocative, yet it wasn’t needless in any manner. It wasn’t sexy beyond all reason. What I was wearing beneath was virtually on display thanks to the stunning dress and fabric. I couldn’t understand why people were so angry with me for baring my breasts, to the point where they said I deserved to be injured if I did. This prompted my response.
Pierpaolo Piccioli: After that, I wanted to speak with her. The comment was a wonderful embodiment of the concept I had been discussing for a few months about their being no canons of beauty but instead celebrating diversity, individuality, and bold self-expression. Florence was only requesting to be treated with dignity in regards to a personal preference, which is all I ask for when I show my wares.
FP: We just finished our FaceTime and we agreed that we could have been friends for years. These days, we often share Instagram photos of one other. My father and him are now the best of friends. We are each other’s whole worlds.
PP: Working on a campaign together requires more than a common look; it requires a shared set of ideals. It’s about sharing beliefs and values. You get the impression that it’s all artificial if you simply put on an outfit and strike a stance.
FP: Pierpaolo and I noticed the snack table when we were shooting the ad, and I wore the apricot couture dress I wore to the “Wonder” premiere. The food table was fantastic, of course, but I’m wearing a dress that can’t get dirty. This means he is essentially helping me overfill my mouth with food. And he’s a smoker, too. The floor is covered with dripping bread soaked in tomato oil. As if to say, “Please do not ruin this day,” there were a lot of eyes on us. If you don’t stop, we will murder you.
Many promotions make it seem as though famous people are willing to sell their likeness to the highest bidder. How often did you fret about that?
FP: I’ve never felt comfortable being the face of a fashion or beauty ad; what if it’s not me? I’ve had to speak out so many times because of the way others have spoken about my body or attempted to alter it. Here I wasn’t required to offer a version of someone else to help sell the things; I could just display myself performing all of my faces.
Florence is not simply a silent face in the ad campaign; she laughs, cries, and screams. That’s the difference, and you see it. The person in front of you, not some idealised way of life, is what you should focus on, in my opinion. That advertising concept, in my opinion, is dead and buried.
FP: Relationships with people and companies have always existed where you’re like, “That doesn’t make any sense” or “That’s just happening because it’s the hot thing right now.”
PP: There has been a lot of discussion about the importance of diversity, body positivity, and proportionality in the fashion industry. However, there are instances when you know it’s only a passing fad. That’s why it’s crucial, in my opinion, to create a genuine connection with a person in order to symbolically communicate your ideals. When we were in New York for the commercial’s shoot. We were joined on set by Florence’s family: dad, mum and grandmother.
FP: My grandma arrived in New York from London and immediately put on her high heels to meet the Valentino crew. Then her feet started hurting and she thought, “Oh, I’m going to take my shoes off.”
PP: Grandma insisted on having the paper shoes. So that Florence’s grandma may have something just as Rockstud as the bags and shoes she was displaying, I drew the studs onto some slippers.
At the time we were leaving, FP. I remember telling my grandmother, “Granny, we are never going to wear them again. We’re going to put them in a frame.