A$AP Rocky Is Bottega Veneta’s Dad of the Year

A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky, photographed by Carrie Mae Weems.

A$AP Rocky is Bottega Veneta’s newest brand ambassador, and this past Father’s Day the Harlem-born rapper starred in the brand’s Portraits of Fatherhood campaign, commissioned by the luxury Italian fashion house’s creative director Matthieu Blazy and directed by American artist Carrie Mae Weems

Inspired by Weems’ first solo exhibition, Family Pictures and Stories, and her magnum opus, Kitchen Table Series, a collection of 20 prints that continues to serve as a masterclass in disrupting photography’s historical use as a weapon of conquest, the shoot features Rocky with his two children, RZA and Riot Rose, in the intimate setting of home. Layered by the dulcet sounds of the piano (courtesy of Rocky’s own music direction) and animated by Bottega Veneta’s minimalist textures—featuring a full corduroy suit, a knitted sweater embossed with leather elbow pads, a soft leather coat, and of course, the brand’s signature intrecciato woven footwear—the collaboration was “a unique opportunity to say something not just positive, but truthful,” as Weems said about the project. Through her lens, the new father’s adoring gaze is fixed on RZA and Riot Rose, who smile gleefully in cotton onesies emblazoned with little black beads writing out “best dad” in loopy cursive and encircled by a stitched heart.

A$AP Rocky

The performativity of Weems’ staged vignettes almost appears natural: Rocky is unbothered and at ease in front of the camera, an attitude the rapper demonstrated in his paparazzi-inspired campaign for the label back in December. There, he leveraged the mass spectacle of celebrity. This time, the soft-touched black-and-white images burst with an affect so intimate you feel as though you’ve opened up the family photo albums, soaking in nostalgia. “I don’t think there are many people in my culture who advocate for fatherhood and parenthood. This player persona is very pushed,” says Rocky. The campaign, he continues, “is about what completes my life now: being present as a partner and a parent.”

Bottega Veneta’s vision rests in those honest emblems of timelessness, endurance, and authenticity. Addressed to those who dare to dream or love, the campaign points us, with the help of a camera, to new ways of looking, and with it, to new worlds. As Ms. Weems remarked: “In the wake of all the atrocities committed against Black men—particularly because of their masculinity—Rocky can be seen with his children, in love.”

A$AP Rocky