The great thing about the Valentino Rockstud Bags (and shoes, of course) is that they’ve always walked a nice line between tough and pretty. Because we’re talking about Valentino, though, it’s the “pretty” part that’s always been played up – until now. Yesterday, Valentino revealed that not only did bad boy photographer Terry Richardson shoot the Valentino Fall 2013 accessories ad campaign, but he also stars in it. Or at least his heavily tattooed arm does, anyway.

For the past few seasons, Valentino’s ready-to-wear has been diaphanous, to say the least. The brand takes “ladylike” to a whole new extreme, with pretty florals, high necklines and textiles that look like they float above the body. The bags have always taken that look and added a note of contrast, usually with petite studs that call to mind a grungier, punkier aesthetic. Richardson’s signature stark lighting, light background and manly, inked-up arm put the bags and shoes in an entirely new context. They’ve always been popular pieces, but these images feel really cool.

I’m not even a fan of Richardson or the majority of his work, but these ads are absolutely inspired in their simplicity and boldness. We expected Valentino to zig, and the brand zagged, which is so important when it comes to moving the fashion conversation forward. What do you think of the ads? Let us know in the comments, and if you feel inspired to shop, pick up a Valentino bag via Moda Operandi.

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