Creative director, photographer, and stylist Leonardo V collaborated with Boom Models Agency, Sizes and Shapes, Letizia Maestri, Zara, HM, The One Models Management, I Love Models Management, Avaro Figlio and Veronica Falcones to present his Souls & Wakanda digital exhibitions respectively.
Nestled in the theme of spiritual freedom, an expression of African fashion talents, the Milan Studio shoot was inspired by renowned 1900s portrait photographer Seydou Keita, whose signature portrait shots painted an everyday African with a regal decorum.
Leo styles his models with vibrant Gele, Aso Ebi, and Akka jewellery that compliment colourful fabric textiles and attention-grabbing voguish headwraps.
His second shoot, titled Wakanda and was shot in Milan, Italy, inside a warhouse. Wakanda communicates the undertone of emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance
The emphatic use of the West African mode and dramatic backdrops tell a redemptive story of reclaimed dignity and grace, owing to the diasporic discourse of West Africa (or of Africa in general) riddled with crimes against humanity and injustice.
Leonardo V follows the significant trend of using art – in this case, fashion – to promote political consciousness and raise awareness about the humanitarian challenges faced by ordinary Africans.
Africa has managed to carve out its unique identity, not just for consumers in the diaspora but broadly to international audiences. The exhibition being conducted in Milan – internationally recognised as one of the world’s greatest fashion capitals – proves that African fashion has taken up space in the global market.
Leonardo V’s digital exhibition is not only a visual representation of African heritage and cultural neo-awakening; it’s also a reminder of what Africa has to offer.
Through an exploration of African narratives, Leonardo V narrates an underlying theme of freedom of expression, liberty, and cohesion between humans through the abstract execution of accentuated beauty (a silver lining represented by the studio shoot) in the face of despair, fear, and darkness (the background of the warhouse location).