Fashion photo shoots can be described with endless iterations of the word beautiful, but candid is a word that comes up rarely if ever, unless it’s used for the distinct category of street-style photography. For the latest issue of A Magazine Curated By, Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli enlisted New York–based photographer Charles H. Traub to lend a candid air to a 50-page, six-chapter shoot involving extravagant couture gowns.
As its name implies, each issue of the magazine is put together entirely by influential fashion figures. Piccioli’s explores of the city of Rome in a visual essay, and that’s where Traub comes in. He’s best known for two intimate photographic series, Lunchtime and Dolce Via, that predate street style as we know it today. The former consists of intimate portraits of colorful pedestrians on the streets of New York City in the late 1970s, while the latter candidly captures strangers and ordinary people across Italy in the 1980s. In both, Traub worked around parameters that he “could neither determine nor control.”
Via Piccioli’s creative direction, Traub was tasked with re-creating that candidness in Rome, this time with a predetermined concept, models, and gowns. “I managed to capture the person, not just the model, in these wonderful dresses — and to capture the way they enjoyed our interaction with the people who came around to look,” Traub told the Cut. “None of these shots were really planned. There’s an Italian word, élan, that means style, sophistication, confidence, and putting your best foot forward. I think I got some of that here.” See some of our favorite photos below.