10 Defining Moments Of Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino

As Pierpaolo Piccioli steps down from the helm of Valentino, we look back at his most career-defining moments. 

AW24 Ready-To-Wear

For Pierpaolo Piccioli’s final ready-to-wear collection he proved once again that he’s fashion’s most accomplished colourist. The Pantone master mixer mixed shades with such intuitive confidence, and created such virtuoso colour combinations that it frequently brought tears to the eyes of his audience. So when he turns to black, it makes you sit up and take note. Read the full review here

AW23 Couture 

Kaia Gerber opened the AW23 couture show with a bang in denim jeans, but of course leave it to Piccioli to show the beauty in the simple. There were no signs of lace, heavy cream or horses – the three trademarks of Chantilly – but the Valentino show covered just about every other dream on Planet Couture. The collection took the signatures of majestic dressing and reduced them to a purified and simplified echo of their opulent glory.  It was an echo to the gestures of real life. Read the full review here

AW22 Ready-To-Wear

Think pink! That was the message from Pierpaolo Piccioli who dedicated the majority of his show to a particularly vivid shade of fuchsia. He worked with Pantone to create Pink PP, and designed almost every look in the notice-me colour. He even painted his set in the shade. Read the full review here

AW22 Couture

Pierpaolo Piccioli staged his AW22 couture show on Rome’s iconic Spanish Steps, as an ode to the Valentino world, which revolves around beauty and exquisite artisanship, but under Piccioli has also come to represent an openness and generosity of spirit. In his hands, fashion is a force for change and beauty has healing powers. The designer’s models represented a great diversity of body shape, ethnicity, age and gender. Each had a story to tell: from the girl who used to be anorexic but recovered and is now pursuing a successful plus-size career to another with vitiligo and several non-binary models. In another act of generosity he invited 120 students from Rome’s fashion schools to the show. He also took his bow with his entire atelier. Read the full review here. 

SS22 Couture 

One of the most thoughtful couturiers in Paris, Piccioli changed things up in the atelier. Instead of fitting everything on the house model first, he designed for the individual bodies and skin tones of his models. There was a refreshing diversity of age and body shape – including models who were neither ultra-skinny nor plus-size, but somewhere in between. It also played to couture’s greatest attribute – clothing that is unique to the individual wearing it. It felt real. Read the full review here. 

SS21 Couture 

Alongside the glorious gowns and plentiful daywear (dashing, Couture culottes) Piccioli introduced Couture for men which translated as simple pieces, in sumptuous fabrics – a silk trench came with a secret moiré lining and why have conventional knitwear when you can have an emerald green silk lamé turtleneck instead? The rituals and processes of Couture are age-old, but Piccioli strives to make his, “A Couture of today”, where the aim is pure, human, self-expression. Read the full review here. 

AW20 Couture 

Freed from the catwalk format, Piccioli played around with the conventional format runways usually require. This allowed a Nick Knight-directed visual extravaganza, filmed at the legendary Cinecittà movie studios in Rome. Models stood under spotlights, on high plinths. The skirts of their vast, white Couture gowns tumbled to the floor far below. How dramatic can a dress be when you don’t have to walk in it? The short answer? Extremely. Read the full review here

SS19 Couture

Pierpaolo Piccioli makes clothes that move people. His genius is to harness the power of beauty in all its breathtaking, surprising and utterly compelling glory. He does this with clothes that tap into the emotions. People wept at the SS19 Valentino couture show. Some were in floods. The designer explained he’d been thinking about the marginalising of Black women both in the Renaissance art that inspired him and in the cannon of couture imagery that informs his work. He thought: What if Cecil Beaton’s famous 1948 tableau of a group of couture-clad models was recreated with Black women? The results were breathtaking and over half the models were women of colour because each look was designed to complement and enhance the individual skin tones of the woman wearing it (this is where couture’s bespoke approach comes into its own). Their beauty was amplified. Read the full review here

SS18 Couture

If you want to learn how to put colour together then reference this collection, it was clearly the most incredible colour combinations of couture week. Mint green met a blackcurrant purple and faded to mulberry, always ever so soft with the intensity of shocking raspberry pink. Finishing off with Valentino’s signature reds, it was an exaggeration handled so eloquently. Read the full here 

SS16 Couture 

Images of pre-raphaelite muses and the turn-of-the century dancer Loie Fuller populated Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino mood board for spring. The first outfit was called “Isadorable” in homage to Isadora Duncan, and their models walked barefoot on a gilded catwalk scattered with rose petals. Yes, it was business as usual at Valentino – the business being to make women dream. Read the full review here

Top Image: AW21 Valentino Couture, photography by Alessandro Raimondo. 


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