The art of purposeful travel

Published October 8, 2021, 10:00 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Rimowa unites Rihanna, Patti Smith, LeBron James, and Roger Federer to inspire travel’s evolving role in post-pandemic life

Lebron James bag

Since its establishment in 1898, Rimowa has shaped the conversation around purposeful travel. Now, as the world continues to navigate the pandemic after an unprecedented pause, the brand continues this legacy with an impactful brand campaign that explores travel’s evolving role in our lives, featuring creative powerhouse Rihanna, NBA superstar LeBron James, 20-time Grand Slam-winning athlete Roger Federer, and legendary multidisciplinary artist Patti Smith.

In a series of short-format films, the four global icons who have powerfully shaped the world beyond their professions share their personal perspectives, examining their own shift toward a more thoughtful approach to travel. With snapshots of their lives on the road, including home footage supplied by the icons themselves, the result is an intimate look at what travel has historically meant to each of them and how they’re now redefining it, whether that’s a rediscovery of familiar destinations or choosing to travel with those they love most.

“Inspired by the seismic global changes of the past two years, the narrative probes important questions about the new role that travel will play in all of our lives,” says Hugues Bonnet-Masimbert, CEO at Rimowa. “As we look to the future, we follow the example set by our four icons, who have each used this period of pause to reset their expectations and experiences of travel into something even more meaningful.

The four films, completed by integrated stills, are brought together by one cinematic anthem film that is narrated by Patti Smith, with her poem “Never Still,” and scored by Jamie xx.

‘When everything is minimized, you see what’s important.’

Rihanna finds clarity in introspection

UNAPOLOGETIC Rihanna with Rimowa Personal in black and white

For entertainer, fashion designer, and business mogul Rihanna, the pandemic inspired an entirely new form of movement. Grounded in California, she took her Airstream caravan out for moments of escape in the nearby desert. Shot by photography protégé Gray Sorrenti, Rihanna’s film sees her enjoying moments of stillness and solitude away from her usually frenetic schedule. “When everything is minimized, you see what’s important,” she muses aloud in an unscripted moment of reflection.

‘The pause that came with not being allowed to travel allowed me a new perspective.’

Roger Federer returns to the snow-topped mountains of home

MOUNTAIN GEAR Roger Federer with Rimowa Original Collection in black

Recordbreaking tennis champion Roger Federer has grown up on the road. After championships were cancelled during the pandemic, this relentless pace was exchanged for a more settled period that allowed him to explore sights closer to home. With footage from Karim Hu Doo, the film shows Federer’s return to the snow-topped mountains of his native Switzerland, revealing the surprising power found in slowing down, simplifying, and taking stock of your hometown.

“Like many others, I became accustomed to a demanding travel schedule that allowed little time to appreciate the places I was visiting,” says Federer. “But the pause that came with not being allowed to travel allowed me a new perspective. It gave me a chance to connect with the beauty of my surroundings in a much more meaningful way.”

‘It’s not about how far you go, but why you go.’

‘LeBron James re-evaluates the intention behind travel

A CHAMPION’S CASE ‘Lebron James with Rimowa Original Cabin Plus in silver

Heralded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, LeBron James has spent his career traveling across the country surrounded by crowds of fans. With that taken away, the athlete and influential philanthropist enjoyed the opportunity to focus more on his family and the community he supports through the LeBron James Family Foundation. With footage by Philip Templeman and Jonas Lindstroem, James’ film features a medley of snapshots that capture the athlete’s shifting mindset toward a more intentional way of traveling and the importance of the company he keeps on his journey.

“Travel as we know it is over. Now it’s not about how far you go, but why you go. And who you bring along for the ride,” James says in his reflective film. “For the first time in my career, the constant travel stopped for a period during the pandemic. That allowed me to have very rare, uninterrupted time with my wife, my kids, and those closest to me. It gave me a chance to recalibrate and refocus on what’s most important in life, and for me, that’s family.”

‘I am grateful to step back into the world.’

Patti Smith returns to New York with renewed energy

HOMECOMING Patti Smith with Rimowa Classic Cabin in matte black

Renowned writer, performer, and visual artist Patti Smith retreated to her bungalow in New York City’s popular beachside peninsula, The Rockaways, during the pandemic. Shot by friend and creative collaborator Steven Sebring, her film follows her journey back to the heart of Manhattan. Pictured outside locations that have played an important role in her life, such as One Fifth Avenue where she posed for the album cover of Horses, and Electric Lady Studios that was established by Jimi Hendrix in 1968 and used for the Rimowa recording, Smith’s video is a testament to New York City’s perpetual spirit of perseverance and creativity.

“When we could not travel physically, I was grateful for the imagination, allowing me to travel where I wished. I was able to write, study, and rethink my priorities,” says Smith. “But I continually longed for action, to be on the move and now I am grateful to step back into the world.”