Pierpaolo Piccioli Makes a Striking Solo Debut at Valentino

Kayla Pantano (October 06, 2016)
In the wake of former partner Maria Grazia Chiuri’s departure to Dior, Piccioli stepped up to the task and created a collection that can be described as Valentino meets punk meets Hieronymus Bosch.

Paris, October 3 –Designer Pierpaolo Piccioli received a standing ovation following the runway show for his first solo collection as creative director for Valentino during Paris Fashion Week. For eight years he split the job with Maria Grazia Chiuri, who departed for Christian Dior last season and worked with Piccioli for close to two decades before partnering at Valentino.

The show was held at its usual locale, the glorious Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, a neo-classical mansion characterized by its decadent frescoed ceilings and crystal chandeliers. Adding to the glam was a star-studded front row, which boasted an abundance of actresses, including Elle Fanning, Dakota Johnson, Shailene Woodley, Jessica Alba, Diane Kruger, and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. Of course, Chiuri, also occupied one of the show’s sought-after seats, along with the 76-year-old beloved and eccentric British designer, Zandra Rhodes, known as the “princess of punk,” with whom Piccioli collaborated for this year’s collection.

Inspired by the work of Hieronymus Bosch, a Dutch medieval artist, and his fantastical visions of heaven and hell, Piccioli and Rhodes created prints that incorporated the brand’s romance. Reinterpretations of the artworks, including scenes from “The Garden of Earthy Delights,” primarily decorated long, flowing dresses in ethereal, whisper-weight fabrics, but also translated to embroidery suffused with natural motifs on trench cape coats. Likewise, the color palette was too reminiscent of the Renaissance, ranging from yellow ochre, acid greens, and umber browns to scarlet reds and pops of pink, showcasing a plethora of floral silk prints in bubblegum and blush.

Without a doubt, Piccioli stamped his own identity into the collection and opened a new chapter for the Italian label. While he played to the storied brand’s ornamental look, he downplayed historicism, which resulted in a more grounded ensemble.

He took Valentino’s signatures frothy tulles and romantic laces and reworked them into more casual dresses, all slung with miniature cross body bags for a supplemental on-the-go feel. From red-carpet pleated skirts, long-sleeves, and high necks to tulle-skirted gowns with fanned sleeves, he ramped up wear-ability with more everyday offerings, such as gathered trousers, an asymmetric army jacket, and a red crochet dress. One standout piece was a pink fabric coat finished with floral appliqué and a raw edged hem, suitable for the fanciest occasion, as well as for your everyday affairs.

The footwear also championed the synthesis of easy and luxurious, diverting attention away from heels to minimal plush velvet strappy sandals and suede ballet flats in springy hues. Punk jewelry, like dagger necklaces and jewelry, created an edgy flair.

Despite the heavy focus on daywear, the show still looked like Valentino. However, Piccioli brought the brand down to earth and defined a new modern ease.