Pierpaolo Piccioli Is Exiting Valentino


Pierpaolo Piccoli is parting ways with Valentino after almost eight years as the Roman couture house’s sole creative director, according to the company, which called the move a “joint decision.”

A new creative configuration will be announced soon, the company said.

Piccioli joined Valentino in 1999 to oversee accessories alongside Maria Grazia Chiuri. In 2007, the duo were handpicked by founder Valentino Garavani to lead the brand’s creative direction after his retirement. In 2016, Piccioli became sole creative director after Chiuri decamped to Parisian couture giant Dior.

“Not all stories have a beginning or an end, some live a kind of eternal present that shines so bright that it won’t produce any shadows,” said Piccioli. “I’ve been in this company for 25 years, and for 25 years I’ve existed and I’ve lived with the people who have woven the weaves of this beautiful story.”

During his tenure, Piccioli earned broad acclaim for the extravagant poetry of his haute couture collections, in which bombastic proportions and bold colours were styled with a tossed-on, youthful edge. As the face of one of the industry’s most effective celebrity operations, Piccioli forged close ties with A-list names like Lady Gaga, Zendaya, Anne Hathaway and more.

“I am grateful to Pierpaolo for his role as creative director and for his vision, commitment and creativity that have brought the Maison Valentino to what it stands for today,” said Valentino chief executive Jacopo Venturini.

Last year, French conglomerate Kering acquired 30 percent of Valentino for €1.7 billion — implying a valuation north of €5 billion — as part of a broader partnership with Qatari investment fund Mayhoola, which controls the brand. The agreement gave Kering the option to acquire 100 percent of Valentino “no later than 2028.” In a two-hour presentation to investors announcing the deal, Kering gave a single nod to the brand’s “recognised creative direction” without mentioning Piccioli by name.

While Piccioli consistently delivered memorable fashion moments with his haute couture outings, efforts to diversify and reinvigorate Valentino’s ready-to-wear and accessories business have delivered uneven results. In recent years the designer worked with CEO Jacopo Venturini to revamp the brand’s store offer with the aim of drawing a clearer link between collections and the brand’s couture image with mixed results (the brand still relies heavily on a few items like V-logo belts and studded bags and pumps).

Sales rose 10 percent to €1.4 billion in 2022.

While Piccioli had a hands-on approach to crafting Valentino’s show concepts, image and celebrity activations, the 56 year-old creative director was known to give a long leash to his design teams. Following Piccioli’s exit, which comes on the back of former ready-to-wear director Sabato De Sarno’s departure last year, observers will be keeping a close eye on whether key behind-the-scene figures like Yvan Mispelaere — who helms the brand’s couture operation — or Gabriele Cusimano — who oversees women’s ready-to-wear and celebrity design — remain in place.

Piccioli’s departure comes on the heels of other high-profile exits at Valentino owner Mayhoola. Stablemate Balmain’s CEO Jean-Jacques Guevel as well as its marketing chief Txampi Diz both exited the company in the past two weeks.

56 year-old Piccioli joins star designers like Alessandro Michele and Sarah Burton as creative directors without a house, a situation that could change as the industry braces for a designer shakeup.

In addition to Valentino, brands including Dries Van Noten (whose founder announced he would step down this week), Givenchy and Lanvin are all currently missing a designer. As demand for luxury fashion cools following a pandemic-era surge, several listed megabrands are also frequently rumoured to be looking for creative directors who could help open a new cycle of growth.

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