Fashion giant Pierpaolo Piccioli steps down from Valentino

Fashion Giant Pierpaolo Piccioli Steps Down From Valentino
Italian designer Pierpaolo Piccioli leaves a legacy of craftsmanship and a subversive approach to colour. Photo: PA Images
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Prudence Wade, PA

Pierpaolo Piccioli is leaving Valentino after 25 years.

The Italian fashion designer was named the sole creative director of Valentino in 2016, after sharing the role for some years with Maria Grazia Chiuri, who left to work for Dior.


In a statement, Piccioli thanked the people he worked with during his time at Valentino.

Pierpaolo Piccioli with Valentino brand ambassador Florence Pugh
Pierpaolo Piccioli with Valentino brand ambassador Florence Pugh (Alamy/PA)

“Everything existed and exists thanks to the people I met, with whom I worked, with whom I shared dreams and created beauty, with whom I built something that belongs to all, and that remains immutable and tangible. This heritage of love, dreams, beauty and humanity, I carry it with me, today and forever,” he wrote in the Italian statement posted on Instagram.


“This is the beauty that we have created: life, hope, opportunity and gratitude, and my people, my heart, and the love that gives you all the possibilities of the world, especially those that you could not imagine alone. Thanks to Mr Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti who have blessed me with their trust, thanks to every single person who made this possible in one way or another, it was a privilege and an honour to share my journey, and my dreams, with you.”

Throughout his tenure at Valentino, Piccioli established himself as a giant of the fashion industry.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell and Pierpaolo Piccioli
Supermodel Naomi Campbell has become a close friend of the fashion house (Alamy/PA)


His collections spanned womenswear, menswear and couture, all with an emphasis on classic designs. Piccioli championed craftsmanship, telling American art magazine The Gagosian Quarterly in 2023 that this was “the DNA of the brand”.

Piccioli also made a name for himself with his unique use of colour. For the label’s autumn/winter 2022 collection, models wore one of two things: an eye-searingly bright shade of fuschia, or all black.

This shade of pink was specifically made in collaboration between Piccioli and Pantone, and was called Valentino Pink PP. It started flooding the red carpets – worn by everyone from Dua Lipa to Drew Barrymore – and became a Valentino signature.



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A post shared by Valentino (@maisonvalentino)


Discussing his obsession with monochrome colours in 2022, Piccioli told AnOther Magazine: “Monochrome artists used to paint everything in one colour in order to give visibility to other things. To deliver different things, different emotions.

“For me, it’s like a black and white picture book, after a chapter, you understand. And you go deeper into surface, the hands, the expression, the emotion. So I wanted to use one colour in order to highlight the idea of fashion as cut, design, silhouette, shape, volumes. Patterns, textures. You’re obliged to see more.”

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway regularly wears Valentino designs – both modern and vintage – on the red carpet (Alamy/PA)

He’s built up relationships with prominent brand ambassadors, including The Devil Wears Prada actor Anne Hathaway – who dipped into the label’s archives for The Fashion Awards 2023, wearing an ivory gown from the early 1990s – and Dune star Zendaya.

Before signing a deal with French luxury brand Louis Vuitton, Zendaya was a regular face on the Valentino front row. She wore a Valentino haute couture creation to the 2022 Oscars, and appeared in multiple brand campaigns.

Zendaya wore Valentino haute couture to the 2022 Oscars (Alamy/PA)

Some of fellow brand ambassador Florence Pugh’s most memorable fashion moments have been in Valentino – including the sheer pink gown she wore to the label’s couture show in July 2023, which caused something of a stir as the top was entirely see-through.

Piccioli injected a youthful energy into Valentino, particularly by setting up a group of brand ambassadors in 2020 called the Di.Vas – meaning ‘Different Values’ – including racing driver Lewis Hamilton.


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A post shared by Valentino (@maisonvalentino)

He was a familiar face at the Met Gala – last year dressing multiple celebrities for the event, most notably Rihanna, who wore a custom white bridal-inspired cape studded with camellias.

Piccioli leaves Valentino on a high. His most recent womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week earlier this month was met with rave reviews, as he presented a subversive all-black collection.

While no formal announcement has been made about Piccioli’s successor, rumours have already been swirling – with former Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele’s name being particularly mentioned, after he stepped down from the Italian fashion house at the end of 2022.

Piccioli is yet to reveal what he will do next.

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