Today, Bottega Veneta debuted its new fashion campaign starring A$AP Rocky. The paparazzi-style images zero in on the rapper as he sports the Italian label’s pre-spring 2024 clothes while going about his daily life—cue him grabbing groceries, going for a jog, or being mobbed by fans for selfies and autographs. “The campaign is not in the traditional sense,” said the brand—meaning, it sourced images directly from wire image services such as Getty Images and Backgrid, versus hiring a splashy fashion photographer to take them. (Bottega’s fall 2023 campaign, for instance, was lensed by the duo Louise & Maria Thornfeldt.)
The end result is incredibly chic. Seeing A$AP sport Bottega’s oversized suiting, luxe leather bags, and slick shades in the wild (even if pre-planned!) makes the collection feel incredibly wearable—easy, sophisticated. People are also fascinated by paparazzi images, so why not use that to create a memorable campaign?
Bottega isn’t the only brand to capitalize on this. It’s a growing (and very meta) trend in fashion. Earlier this year, Gucci tapped celebrity couple Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny to star in an airport-themed Valigeria campaign, celebrating travel style. The photos saw the duo navigating the terminal in style, carting around their monogrammed luggage. The images had a deliberate paparazzi feel to them—as though TMZ found their location and began to swarm them—but were not directly lifted from the wires, unlike Bottega.
Compared to the highly-stylized, highly-curated feel of most campaigns, there’s something that feels a little more free and effortless about a paparazzi shoot. You believe it. To get even more meta about it all, it’s not like real paparazzi images—as in, non-campaign ones—are totally organic either. When It-girls like Kendall Jenner step out in full head-to-toe designer looks at a gas station—recently, she was in Bottega—it’s apparent that there was a predetermined styling session involved. A pap walk is a good way to show off clothing. Doing it in a campaign format only makes it more obvious.