When I first saw Emilio Pucci spring/summer 2009 advertising campaign, I knew I couldn’t be mistaken: Juergen Teller is the one who shot the beautiful series of pics you can see below. The quality of the images, the peculiar lighting, the striking yet subtle contrast of colours are recurring features in Teller’s work, which is becoming more and more mature, even if it sometimes loses its provoking spirit. This is an institutional campaign, so the German photographer kept things simple and decided not to experiment with the setting, the lighting or the model. The setting is the amazing Villa Tritone in Sorrento, near Naples, famous for its history (the Latin poet Ovidio and the Italian literary critic Benedetto Croce lived there), for the breath-taking view (it faces the sea and the Vesuvius) and the lovely garden. Most of the shots have been taken in the garden, where palms, oranges, cycas, cypresses, eucalyptus and pines create the ideal background for fashion photography.
Teller was the author of Emilio Pucci fall/winter 2008 campaign as well: in that occasion, he shot the Italian model Mariacarla Boscono, while here he worked with Stella Tennant, whose noble descent and unique beauty still make her so original. She started her career in 1993, when Steven Meisel first shot her for Vogue Italia; Tennant, granddaughter of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is now mother of four children and is still working as a model.
I think Stella is perfect for this campaign: she’s beautiful but not conventional, and she perfectly contrasts with the exotic garden and spots in Villa Tritone. The most striking characteristic of Teller’s photography has always been the special quality of light – natural or overtly artificial, often stark – and this is so clear in the first pic, where Stella is portrayed at night.
This pic is so suggestive! Stella is posing on a terrace by the sea and she’s leaning on an ancient column. She’s wearing an aqua green jersey dress and a lovely printed scarf around her head. The colours of the dress and the scarf echo the natural colours of the sea and the sky.
Antiques – ancient sculptures and paintings – are recurring themes in Emilio Pucci campaigns, a brand which is strongly connected to its glorious past. Here Stella is posing in front of a white wall, where some empty picture frames are hanging.
Just a small part of the room where this pic was taken is visible, but I think it’s a bathroom, with marble floors, white cabinets and trailing plants on the walls. Stella, who is striking a vampy pose, is wearing a jersey cover-up and a bikini.
This is one of my favourite shots: Stella poses near a big window, in the hall of the Villa. The high walls are decorated by frescoed landscapes with ancient ruins (it can’t be forgotten that Agrippa Postumus, grandson of Emperor Augustus, built a fine villa in the same place where is now Villa Tritone on the I century A.D.; the ruins of this Roman villa are still visible in the garden) and a statue can be seen in one corner.
Palms are surrounding Stella, who is wearing a printed minidress with long sleeves; the accessories are a big necklace and a nice handbag.
The luxuriant greenery of the Villa is the protagonist in most pictures, and is sometimes amplified by the floral prints of the clothes the model is wearing. In this case, she’s leaning on a tree trunk and she’s wearing a silk jumpsuit, printed with palms.
This is one of the few shots taken indoor: Stella is leaning again on an ancient column, and other columns are visible in the background, with stuccoed arches and palms. The sequined dress she’s wearing presents a palm decorative motif.
These are the clothes worn by Stella in the ads, as they were presented during the fashion show. This is the last collection designed by Matthew Williamson, who has done a great job in reviving the amazing story of the Florentine maison. The Norwegian Peter Dundas has been recently appointed new designer at Pucci and his fall/winter 2009 collection has completely changed the direction taken by Williamson, with a sexier and more aggressive style.
The latest shot from the campaign presents the most famous dress of the collection, the infamous green sequined minidress which has been spotted on several celebrities. I love the lady-like pose of Stella in this pic, and I also like the ancient elements surrounding her.
The minidress, presented by Marina Peres on the catwalk, has been worn by Kate Hudson and Hilary Rhoda.
The actress wore it at the Late Show with David Letterman in January 2009, while promoting Bride Wars. From the pic on the right we can see the dress is backless, very sexy indeed. She paired it with opaque tights and Sergio Rossi heels.
The model wore the same dress a month later, when she attended the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Party in Las Vegas. She paired the dress with nude patent pumps. They both looked gorgeous, but I prefer Kate Hudson, because the dress beautifully compliments her blonde hair.
Before closing the post, a picture from my personal archive: a 23-year-old Stella Tennant, posing for Vogue UK in 1993, absolutely stunning and fresh in her heavy smokey eye make-up and with the bull-like ring in her septum. Tennant, brought up in a sheep farm in the Borders, looked like the epitome of a brand new concept of beauty, an unsmiling and patrician vision of Britain, rebellious (during her first photoshoots, she refused to remove the nose ring) yet romantic.