Valentino's Foray into Web3 and the NFT Space
4 December 2022

Valentino’s Foray into Web3 and the NFT Space

Many of us don’t quite know this, but the folks at Valentino was one of the first luxury brands to dip their toes into Web3 and NFTs.

The love affair between Valentino and the NFT space began over a year ago in June 2021, when they were the first to host an NFT exhibition to showcase artist Matthew Stone‘s complex linen works called “Soothe”, Effervescence”, “Kinship” and “Warmth”, which were digitalised and displayed during the Valentino Chapter at the SoHo House boutique in New York.

Matthew Stone NFT Display in Valentino SoHo Store

I have always been bouncing back and forth between digital and physical art-making processes,” the artist said in a press statement. “I am excited to bring moving versions of my paintings into a physical installation so that I can show people the virtual and 3D realms that I hang out in, while making my works. ~artist Matthew Stone ~

Then came another partnership in September 2021 with the multitalented American artist Sara Ludy whose oeuvre includes digital paintings, animation, Virtual Reality, installations, websites, as well as sound (she’s also a composer) which have been exhibited at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art (including special commissioned pieces for the museum), Künstlerhaus Bethanien, and the Berkeley Art Museum. Exhibits aside, her work has also been featured in The New York Times, Modern Painters, Artforum, and Art in America. 

For the Valentino partnership, Ludy was commissioned to create an exclusive NFT digital artwork called Astral Garden through the Maison’s Metaverse-like  portal, Valentino Insights. The NFT has since been auctioned off and sold on NFT marketplace Foundation — a portal that’s widely used by artists through which they sell their digital artworks — for 5.4 ETH (equivalent to $18,000, back when the ETH/USD exchange rate was $3,600).

We’re in this time where our physical and virtual lives have collapsed and we experience this hybrid reality where our lives are mediated by digital technologies, and I’m interested in what happens out of this collapse, what rises, how this hybrid reality expands and contracts our sense of being and connection,” Astral Garden references this hybrid space in how it moves from one digital dimension to the other – from VR to 3D space to 2D space, and back. The process is like weaving fabric with all of these textures and experiences. It becomes a multidimensional material. The piece is this multidimensional scroll reflecting on the collapse of nature and simulation. ~ artist Sarah Ludy ~

Designed like a home with several rooms for you to explore, Valentino Insights is a 360 degree Virtual Reality platform which they have dubbed the Roman Palazzo Art Residency comprising 3 exhibition rooms, a terrace, and a hidden room where you can shop the collection directly from this VR portal. Filled with interactive content (really, that’s how things are in the Metaverse too) , the first room is where the NFTs are, and though bidding is over, and the sale has been made, Ludy’s Astral Garden remains on display there. Remember to click on all the pictures in the frames to unlock interactive content!

Valentino Insights Interactive Room

I for one am seriously loving how Valentino is embracing VR and NFTs, and I mean, I’m certainly not surprised at all given that they were the first to introduce the 360 degree Valentino Museum some years back, pre-COVID, even before these became a thing! As an early adopter, I’m pretty sure this would not be the last we hear of the Maison’s involvement in this Web3 space, and I can’t wait for what’s to come!