Maria Grazia Chiuri + Pier Paolo Piccioli = Valentino

We speak to the creative directors behind the luxury fashion house about the modern age versus their dream world

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Courtesy of Valentino / Pablo Arroyo for MFL-Magaz
Courtesy of Valentino / Pablo Arroyo for MFL-Magazine for Living

Taking over the world is never easy, especially when it is the storied world of the house of Valentino, but Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have done just that, with an eye towards the heritage of the house and the other towards the future. It is with a generosity of spirit and craftsmanship, along with a powerful modern ease, that they weave and embroider the universe of the Valentino woman. Dazed spoke with the creative directors about heritage, allure, menswear and the dream world that they share.

Dazed Digital: The ready-to-wear is infused with the techniques, materials and generosity found in the Haute Couture. It is like a beautiful laboratory of dreams. Tell us about this approach...
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli: Of course they are different, but they share the same love for unique and unconventional styles. Perhaps the couture woman especially values her individuality and views it as a defining trait. To create a couture piece, it can take many hundreds of hours, though of course precisely how long depends on the complexity of the dress in question.

From the early phases of design through the finishing touches of beads, embroidery, rhinestones and ribbons, producing a single couture dress is a long process. But essentially both collections demand incredible attention to detail.  We believe that a woman’s wardrobe is her universe, it’s something personal and highly individual.
 
DD: You have, once again, given the house another energetic and slightly dangerous spirit. What are you working to capture today?
Maria Grazia Chiuri & Pier Paolo Piccioli: In our job as creative directors, we try to transmit the brand’s iconic values in a contemporary way. It is a constant challenge. We develop the couture aspect of the brand in all of the lines we design, as we believe that this heritage is distinctively Valentino.  Valentino has a long, glamorous tradition and is well positioned to remain iconic for future generations. Our creative mission is to develop a new vision that still reflects Valentino’s rich heritage. We want to diffuse our style while focusing on the exclusivity and iconic nature that have defined the Maison’s history.
 
DD: Looking at these pieces, I wonder, what secrets do these clothes hold?
Maria Grazia Chiuri & Pier Paolo Piccioli: The secret is in the way the pieces are worn. Whether couture or ready to wear, we believe that Valentino represents a special kind of dream world, one that encompasses a classic yet contemporary allure.  Each individual that wears Valentino develops their own reality through the fantasy they create.
 
DD: The menswear has an ease and re-energized modernity. More recently, the coats found in the Fall 2011 collection seemed to especially encapsulate this.  What are you thinking about when you work with it?
Maria Grazia Chiuri & Pier Paolo Piccioli: Our aim for menswear is to create timeless pieces for the men who we design for, using the finest materials and focusing on exquisite craftsmanship.  With imaginative wit and understated luxury, the thought behind Valentino Men is to meld the iconic sartorial heritage with a resolutely modern flair and innovative technology.
 
DD: The delicacy and feeling of danger in the clothes suggest a woman who possesses deep powers. Please tell me about this attitude. How can we draw this kind of allure?
Maria Grazia Chiuri & Pier Paolo Piccioli: In our eyes, beauty and style is unique and personal, capable of arousing multiple emotions and attitudes. As creative directors, we are trying to address the needs of contemporary women, who want to look relevant in all occasions. Women today like to mix and match, so we also try to cater to this with a variety of day- and eveningwear pieces. By mixing unexpected fabric combinations to create an ethereal simplicity that in turn has a complexity of cut and layering. It’s still Valentino, but with a different attitude and personal approach.  

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