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Zendaya, Valentino journey through a pink unknown in latest campaign

Zendaya x Valentino Pink PP Zendaya stars in “Pink Dreams,” a film in which the actress finds herself journeying through the unknown. Image credit: Valentino


Italian fashion label Valentino is painting the world Pink PP, with help from two-time Emmy-winning actress Zendaya.

Fresh off of a historic win at The Emmys, the "Euphoria" lead joins the maison sporting the shade of the season head-to-toe in a new campaign film. The brand’s hot pink fantasy land is on display in a vibrant, advertising spot offering full immersion in Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s color of choice.

"Obviously, Pierpaolo Piccioli has designed a number of pink ensembles which has become a vibrant power culture that has been embraced so much that Barbiecore has been trending for a number of seasons with an array of designers," said Kimmie Smith, cofounder and creative director of Athleisure Mag, New York.

"So envisioning a world of this power pink that combines intrigue, wonder and an expanded dollhouse aesthetic is a great way to shape the campaign," she said. "Having Zendaya in this also creates a youthful expression that also transitions into that sense of growing into one’s personhood that is also a nice approach."

Ms. Smith is not affiliated with Valentino, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Haute Pink
Valentino’s new campaign centers the Pink PP Collection, one that prioritizes the power of a single hue in what the brand is calling an “expressive manifestation of Pierpaolo Piccioli’s contemporary codes."

Zendaya stars in “Pink Dreams,” a film in which the actress finds herself journeying through the unknown. The brand’s signature pink runs rampant in its latest spot.

"Zendaya is such a powerful personality that has been in a number of diverse programs, is creating her own space as an icon, is never afraid to advocate for what she believes in and while being very much so in the public eye, also has a bit of mystery around her at the same time which is alluring," Ms. Smith said.

"She is definitely in the power seat of Hollywood and exudes that power player persona who doesn’t have to compromise by doing things the ways that others may have in the past or currently," she said. "She can still be respected on her merits even rocking pink ensembles that reflect her style."

Valentino's "Pink Dreams" campaign film featuring the acclaimed actress

The film begins in a colorless context antithetical to the expressive, enigmatic fuschia featured through its remainder. Zendaya enters a dark, dreary room in flowing garb from the brand’s bright spring/summer collection, its highlighter tones visible even in the absence of light.

Her outfit provides a preview for what is to come, as she stalks towards stage center with a matching studded selection from Valentino's Garavani line in tow. Taking a seat on a tufted sofa, she allows her head to fall, presumably seeking peaceful slumber and, thankfully for the viewing audience, subsequently receiving anything but.

The synth-forward sounds of English band Yazoo’s “Only You” set the new scene, as Zendaya arises to surroundings aflush in the house’s standout color. Every surface is uniformly covered in monochromatic hot pink.

"I think that we’ve been in a culture moment for reclamation of a number of items from color to style," Ms. Smith said.

"During the 2020 election, seeing women rocking pink hats and showing solidarity by having this hue in a range of t-shirts, power suits and more has created this Barbiecore aesthetic in this iconic shade."


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The young beauty proceeds to explore the lively world around her, trekking through rooms mimicking a manor in their baroque style and structure, as painting frames and statues ornament spaces.

The actress emerges from her tour eventually, in motion mid-clip upon a themed swing, donning an edgy gown with a low-cut bust and light, airy trimmings, and appearing ethereally while calmly making her way towards the camera and back again.

The 1-minute and 53-second spot’s end returns to the room of origin, as Zendaya lies asleep in what is revealed to the viewer as a dream state. She slowly awakens with contemplative ease and an expression of longing for a world briefly traveled.

Multifaceted marketing
In addition to the aforementioned talent, Valentino tapped British race driver Lewis Hamilton for an adjacent Pink PP campaign, and worked with the original designer of the shade, Douglas Coupland, on a guerilla-marketing style postering execution on New York City’s streets (see story).

Hot pink framed Valentino's fall/winter 2022 runway show

The signature shade has also taken over the maison’s mobile app with coloring complementary to the campaign, intelligently so. Virtually all shoppers browse with their smartphones in their hands, while others visit a store’s online site, either before making the trip or in place of it, done in most cases from a phone or tablet (see story).

The collection's fashion week presentation served as an additional engagement touchpoint on social media. Inherent to its bright pink elements, Valentino's runway visuals and guests provided an element of virality and buzz, to the chagrin of some of its competitors (see story).

Valentino’s multi-pronged approach, complete with online and offline activations, can serve as a lesson for luxury brands looking to maximize impact.

"We can enjoy the idea of Barbie [and Barbiecore] in the fact that she lives quite a life, has jobs that involve every industry that you can imagine and she also presents in a number of shades and body types," Ms. Smith said.

"Barbie reflects that silent power move where the possibilities are endless," she said. "Valentino is leaning into this as well by showing how they too can join the conversation by doing so in a couture way, crowning Zendaya, who represents young Hollywood and who will definitely be making waves for years to come."