For Spring Summer 2018, Valextra presents Toothpaste, a new collaboration with British designer Bethan Laura Wood that combines bright pops of colour, a rigorous approach to shapes and obsession for perfection. The collection is a testament to Valextra’s commitment to creativity and collaboration, and a way to approach its heritage with a fresh and modern perspective.

The story behind Toothpaste follows two parallel directions: on one hand, Bethan was inspired by Valextra’s signature Costa lacquered edges, those distinctive black lines that punctuate each bag’s architectural rhythm, an essential element of the brand’s identity. On the other hand, she looked at the work of British artist Eduardo Paolozzi, whose colour rich paintings, prints and sculptures inspired her from a visual and conceptual perspective. Paolozzi’s surreal structures and saturated palettes, precursors of the Pop movement and a reaction to the industrial era, are translated by Bethan into a feminine and sophisticated design language.

For the Toothpaste collection, Bethan invented a graphic, modular system applied to oversized handles, clasps and metallic accessories for Valextra’s Iside and Passepartout bags. The accessories become playgrounds for her modular language, offering a playful multidimensionality to the bags. This collection represents a perfect collusion between Valextra’s pure and graphic universe and Bethan’s eclectic aesthetic, imbued with influences from the Pop Art and industrial forms. The handles and clasps feature a composition of brass lines and colorful acetate inserts, drawing Bethan’s curvaceous wiggles. The Iside rigid handles become a journey from one hinge to the other, with infinite possibilities in between.

The colours are a nod to Bethan’s interpretation of the collection, “somewhere between Neapolitan ice cream and your dad’s 70s ties, mixed with a bit of mint toothpaste.” A palette of 1970s-inspired murky hues is enlivened by flickers of stronger shades, with oyster gray, olive green and pergamena white leather featuring alongside fuchsia, saffron orange and teal.

The diverse influences behind the collaboration inspired the location for this powerful photographic portfolio featuring the bags: the Toothpaste collection is presented in this raw, post-industrial space which echoes Paolozzi’s own visual references of imposing factories, large-scale machinery and serpent-like pipes. An oil recycling plant served as the set for this series of oversized photographs, a place that is both fascinating in its inner workings and strangely charming in its industrial aesthetic composed of concrete and steel, rusty metals and rough surfaces. The products are immersed in this harsh background, but despite the contrasting scales, the resulting visual effect is more about conversation with the surroundings than contrast.

Constantly pushing the boundaries of luxury and creativity, Valextra opens up its rigorous visual world to eclectic influences, and this collection exemplifies this innovative attitude, a bridge between contemporary creation and timeless design purity

PhotograPhed by delfino SiSto lignani

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