For its fall ’15 ad campaign, Dubai’s Level Shoe District was in an empire state of mind. Forgoing a local spot, the retailer instead jetted across the world to use a building in midtown Manhattan with soaring views of the New York skyline as its backdrop.
Photographers Cristian Hunter and Martin Gatti (who go by the moniker Hunter & Gatti) worked with stylist Elizabeth Cabral to evoke urban glamour and attitude while respecting the retailer’s regional sensibilities. “This season, Level wanted an international approach,” said Hunter. “I don’t know if they had in mind this idea of conquering the world, but we wanted to convey that via casting, styling and types of photos.”
Subjects included a male duo (Ryan Kennedy and Austin Reed) in spiffy tailoring and smart shoes, such as uber-luxe sneakers from Pierre Hardy and Balenciaga, smoking slippers by Louis Leeman and brogued boots from Dries Van Noten. The female models (Jeísa Ciminazzo and Amanda Norgaard) wore a variety of big-ticket heels from Paul Andrew, Brian Atwood, Aquazzura, Nicholas Kirkwood and Rupert Sanderson.
“There was freedom to choose styles that aesthetically worked with the campaign and were the most fashion-forward to make a cohesive campaign,” said Cabral, giving Andrew’s boots embellished with the cityscape and Chrysler heels a shoutout.
While Hunter and Gatti have worked with Cabral in the past, this campaign marked their first project for Level. “We didn’t know anything about the brand and were surprised by the talent of the people they have working around them. It’s an amazing crew,” said Hunter. “The perspectives of the shoe were the main thing. We used a shorter lens to achieve this effect.”
The resulting imagery will appear this fall in print, in-store and online to reach Level’s increasingly diverse customer base. “When you think about luxury and success, these qualities are very New York,” said Hunter. “The setting had an air of exclusivity that Level wanted. It’s New York at your feet.”
[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in print 08/10/2015]