Valentino is a fashion house that's been synonymous with the luxury streetwear wave from its early days. It was one of the first purveyors of high-fashion kicks, and as the fashion market overall became hip to the game, it's become challenging for Valentino to differentiate itself from the pack.

That hasn’t stopped creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli from creating strong collections season after season. Its sneakers in particular continue to toe the line between covetable design with an athletic appeal and objects of desire that almost look sculptural. For SS19, Valentino really wanted to make a splash, so it looked towards the styles of Syd, Keith Ape, A$AP Ferg, and hip-hop legend Nas for inspiration.

We got a firsthand look behind the label’s Paris atelier to see how Piccioli worked with each artist to create custom Valentino designs for SS19, all based around a specific animal the artist has a fondness for.

The rest of the collection skewed heavily towards the street/luxury mix, from feathered sneakers to less ostentations silhouettes with metal panels—metallic sneakers being a theme that seems to be in the running as one of SS19's most visible trends

The star-studded fashion show included appearances from NBA players James Harden, Jaylen Brown, PJ Tucker, and Carmelo Anthony as well. Each one has a hand in making Valentino an off-court staple for the league.

Check out our video above for a more intimate look at the process and inspiration behind Valentino's SS19 collection.

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