Praise for Pierpaolo Piccioli
In late January, Pierpaolo Piccioli unveiled his Valentino Haute Couture Spring 2019 collection at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild in Paris and it was absolutely breathtaking. With supermodel Naomi Campbell making an appearance on the runway and Celine Dion being brought to tears by the collection, it is no understatement to attribute the success of Valentino’s collection to the genius of Piccioli.
The impetus behind the haute couture collection was high society. A picture of Cecil Beaton’s iconic image of elegant ladies donning James Charles gowns was pinned to Piccioli’s mood board as a source of inspiration. However, the 1948 image, while serving as inspiration, doubled as an image of high society that Piccioli wanted to change. Rather than featuring all white women, Piccioli wanted to showcase an image of high society that embraced the inclusion of women from diverse backgrounds.
Piccioli stayed true to the vision he wanted to promote: in a collection featuring 65 looks, more than half of the models were black women. One of these women included model Adut Akech, who opened the show and wrote in an Instagram post, “I can honestly say tonight was the first time I have ever been surrounded by so many beautiful black models and the feeling I felt tonight I can never explain in words.”
With the fashion industry in general shifting towards broader diversity in casting and greater inclusivity of body types, it is notable that Milan is one fashion capital that has lagged in these efforts. Valentino, through this collection and under Piccioli’s creative direction, is paving the way for other Italian brands to follow.
Feature image and images featuring the collection all via.