Pierpaolo Piccioli

Anne Hathaway Sports Mini Sequin Magenta Dress Sitting Front Row at Valentino Couture Show in Rome

Anne Hathaway Sports Mini Sequin Magenta Dress Sitting Front Row at Valentino Couture Show in Rome

Anne Hathaway has done it again.On Friday, the actress attended the Valentino couture show for its fall 2022 collection in Rome, held at the city’s famed Piazza di Spagna. She wore a sequin mini peplum dress by the Italian luxury fashion house in its now-signature magenta hue.
She wore her hair down, with accessories by Valentino, including a matching mini stud handbag and patent platform heels. She is usually styled by Erin Walsh, who also works with Ashley Park, Juno Temple and Adriana Lima.
Sitting front row at the show, the award-winning actress snapped photos with other A-list stars in attendance, including Ariana DeBose. Andrew Garfield, Naomi Campbell, Florence Pugh and Kate Hudson, among others, were also there.

Anne Hathaway and Ariana DeBose at the Valentino Haute Couture fall 2022 fashion show on July 8 in Rome.
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Hathaway’s Valentino appearance comes during a year where she’s stepped out in some of her most fashion-forward outfits yet.

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During the Cannes Film Festival, the actress’ first, Hathaway went viral for her outfits, which many fans thought were some of the best of the coveted international event.
For the premiere of her upcoming movie “Armageddon Time,” she wore a custom white column sequined gown by Armani Privé, featuring a small cutout on her midriff and matching off-the-shoulder shawl with a long train. She also wore the Bulgari’s Mediterranean Reverie necklace and a matching sapphire ring from its high jewelry collection, making her debut as its brand ambassador.

“You always want to create a statement that’s both of the moment and timeless,” Walsh told WWD of styling Hathaway for Cannes. “You always want to do something that feels innovative, fresh and fun. I feel like you look at her on that carpet and she’s so meant to be there. So the clothes are the icing around that fact.”
Valentino may have been built on red, but for its fall 2022 runway show this spring, the house hue was an intense, magenta “Pink PP,” a new Pantone color created by Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli.
“Pink is a color I really like, and it’s also a color that can have different sides,” Piccioli said in March.
READ MORE HERE:
Bulgari Taps Anne Hathaway as New Ambassador
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Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli Puts a Haute Couture Spin on 15 Unique Abayas

Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli Puts a Haute Couture Spin on 15 Unique Abayas

Valentino’s abaya collection. Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has designed a 15-piece collection of haute couture abayas. The modest designs evoking the Italian luxury house’s signature craftsmanship will be unveiled exclusively in Qatar’s Doha Design District. The pieces have been created to mark this year’s edition of #QatarCreates, a week-long cultural initiative aimed at uplifting the country’s fashion and design scene.
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
While nearly every piece in the collection showcases the graceful and feminine silhouettes associated with abayas, each one is unique in color and fabric. Think: a bold color palette of turquoise and royal blue, rich reds, and bright pink in luxe velvet, crêpe, and cashmere. Standout designs that are bound to be favorites in the region include a gold lurex abaya, entirely embroidered with gold sequins which are offset with a pale rose light cashmere lining. Another is a deep red, faille abaya with voluminous bows on the sleeves, and paired with a pink-sequinned dress. All abayas are also hooded for a more cohesive look, with some fully embellished. The special installation will house the couture abayas alongside Valentino’s fall/winter 2021 couture collection and the 12 artworks that inspired it.
Valentino FW21 couture collection presented in Doha. Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
With this collection, Valentino joins Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, and Tommy Hilfiger in the luxury and high fashion industry’s bid to be more inclusive by creating hijabs, abayas, and other modest pieces. Piccioli’s work is not the only couture collection to grace Doha this season. From November 6 to March 31, Dior will display more than 200 haute couture gowns for the first time in the Middle East at the Christian Dior Exhibition “Designer of Dreams” in Doha’s M7. It will include nine looks from the collection of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, co-founder and chairperson of the Qatar Foundation.
Valentino’s exclusive abaya collection will be available on private appointments from October 31 to November 5 at Doha Design District.
Read Next: Is Fashion Art? Pierpaolo Piccioli and Manuel Arnaut Discuss Over an Exclusive Preview of Valentino’s Couture Collection

Is Fashion Art? Pierpaolo Piccioli and Manuel Arnaut Discuss Over an Exclusive Preview of Valentino’s Couture Collection

Is Fashion Art? Pierpaolo Piccioli and Manuel Arnaut Discuss Over an Exclusive Preview of Valentino’s Couture Collection

With his latest couture collection, Pierpaolo Piccioli brings further glory and modernity to the house of Valentino. Take a closer look to witness these gowns tell the shared story of today.
Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
Entering the Paris headquarters of Valentino in Place Vendôme makes you feel like a child again; awakening memories of visiting a more formal relative’s home, with your mother reminding you to wear a clean shirt and be on your best behavior. The space feels palatial and serene, and the high ceiling salon walls are adorned with intricate gold molding. Light is abundant, shining through big windows that frame the bronze Vendôme column, right in the beating heart of Parisian luxury.
Pierpaolo Piccioli. Photo: Inez & Vinoodh
As I’m escorted into one of the rooms, I’m asked to not take any pictures, as some of the looks I’m about to see have not been revealed to the public and are only on display for an exclusive preview granted to Vogue Arabia ahead of Valentino’s couture show in Venice, which would take place two weeks later. Looking around me, I spot a magnificent gown made from a patchwork of pink and purple fabrics, a white maxi cape and dress with a splash of red, and a skirt and jacket suit that, at first glance, remind me of a Miró. There are also paintings and drawings next to each look, motioning that there is some sort of artistic collaboration behind each design. In the best Valentino style, all feels grand and regal, and from that moment on, I knew I was in for a treat. Let’s not forget that Pierpaolo Piccioli, the brand’s creative director and naturally the author of the looks, is known for big statements. So big, that they brought Céline Dion to tears at one of his previous shows.
Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
As Piccioli enters the room, wearing jeans, sneakers, and a T-shirt, the ambiance becomes more relaxed. After he lights the first cigarette, the conversation flows. Piccioli starts by explaining that this couture collection is the result of a collaboration with 16 artists, handpicked by him. “More than ever, I’ve been feeling that we need to connect, and I always enjoyed being around other creative people,” he says. “This was my way to start a conversation with a community that shares the same values.” Relying on instinct, Piccioli had a simple approach, selecting artists that he liked and came across organically. The list is eclectic, with names hailing from all over the world, such as Wu Rui, James Nares, Patricia Treib, and Francis Offman. “The only rule was to listen to my feelings, and the goal was not just to do a show packed with artists. It is more like a collective effort, like an orchestra I’m conducting with different instruments, where each one plays in his own way. But when they are together… The result is beautiful music.”
Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
Although the collection is connected with the arts, Piccioli firmly believes that the worlds of art and fashion are apart. “This might sound provocative, but I don’t believe that fashion is art,” he states. This is probably the only point where we disagree, especially after he takes me one floor up, where we sit at the end of a runway where models walk so close to us, we can analyze every single stitch or embroidery in the clothes they are wearing. The dresses feature a virtuoso use of colors – potent plum and berry red next to splashes of forest green and royal blue. Other models appear nonchalant, in sparkling mini culottes, bustiers, and feather headpieces. It all feels deliciously kaleidoscopic. “Aren’t all these colors hard to combine?” I enquire. “Not if you are good,” Piccioli laughs. “If not… That’s a problem!”
Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
One of the novelties on the Valentino couture runway is the inclusion of male models. Piccioli explains that this is nothing but a sign that times are changing, and that the fashion world has the responsibility to lead these changes. “As a designer, you need to have a loud voice, even if your medium is only the images you produce, which can be so powerful,” he shares. “After the pandemic, our world lost boundaries and changed, and there are no more divisions of gender. Just go to the street and see what kids are wearing: from capes to makeup. Couture is all about this uniqueness, and fashion needs to celebrate these shifts. But we cannot be late; we need to lead with our voice.”
Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
Being ahead of the social and cultural movements is something deeply connected with the work of Piccioli for Valentino. One of his disruptive moments happened during the SS19 couture presentation, when discussions around inclusivity and representation were starting to erupt in the fashion world. Making a bold decision, the designer cast 39 Black models to walk his runway, with Naomi Campbell closing the show with regal strides. Piccioli also stopped using fur, one of the previous staples of the maison. “I don’t think we will miss fur,” he says. “Even the humblest fabric can look rich if you treat it the right way.”
Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
As models continue to walk and turn before us, I inquire why the show is taking place in Venice and not Rome, the city where Valentino was founded in 1960 by Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti. It is also the birthplace of Piccioli, who worked at Fendi for 10 years before joining Valentino as an accessories designer, in 1999. He took the creative reins of the house in 2008, alongside Maria Grazia Chiuri, becoming sole creative director of the maison in July 2016, when Chiuri exited for the top creative role at Dior.
Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
“We chose Venice not because of its architecture or grandeur, but because we wanted to be part of this moment of authentic Italian culture during the Venice Biennale. Being there means a lot,” he says. This doesn’t imply that Piccioli loves Rome any less, as the capital is a continuous source of inspiration for him. The city he describes as being full of layers, where a simple stroll down the street can inspire new ideas, and where ancient churches coexist with Fellini and Pasolini-like sets, always reminds him of the importance of pushing his vision to its best. “When you work in Rome, you can’t compete with Caravaggio or Bernini,” he concludes. “So, you do what you can…”
Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
Read Next: Salma Abu Deif Embodies the Punk Spirit of the Valentino Act Collection at Cairo’s Cinema Radio
All clothing ValentinoStyle: Claire CarruthersHair: Flavio Santillo at Making Beauty ManagementMakeup: Arianna Campa at Blend ManagementStyle assistant: Valentina Rossi MoriCasting director: Troy WestwoodDigital tech: Elio RosatoLight tech: Pietro FrizziProduction: Federica Marchetti at Atomo Management, Max Brunetti at ForProduction.itModel: Ayak Veronica at Marilyn Agency

Valentino Sponsors Venice Theater Biennale

Valentino Sponsors Venice Theater Biennale

MILAN – Pierpaolo Piccioli continues to pay tribute to Italy’s cultural scene.
After staging his fall 2021 show for Valentino at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli is sponsoring the 49th International Theatre Festival – Biennale Teatro 2021, running from July 2-11 in Venice. The designer said on Monday he will hold the house’s fall 2021-22 couture collection at the Gaggiandre at the Arsenale in Venice.
As reported, the livestreamed show is to take place on July 15 at 7.30 p.m. CET.
The Gaggiandre consists of two shipyards with a large internal dock, built between 1568 and 1573 and attributed to Jacopo Sansovino. It is part of the Arsenale, which hosts the International Art and Architecture Exhibitions and the International Dance, Music, and Theatre Festivals of La Biennale di Venezia.

To respect the landmark location, the show will feature only a functional set up, without any architectural intervention to the venue.
“I have challenged myself in orchestrating a symphony of different souls, minds and creative inputs,” Piccioli said in May when he divulged the location. “All of these energies drove my vision to Venice. This city genuinely and spontaneously generates vibrations on art, theater, music, architecture, cinema, and everything that has to do with creativity. That is why it has been a natural decision to go for this idea. I am a designer, a fashion creator and I need to envision my creations in specific frames. Venice is the frame of the Valentino Des Ateliers collection.”

In the wake of the decision to stop using fur, Valentino is further committing to the environment as it will produce a special visual streaming kit to experience the fashion show.  In accordance with the international standard ISO 20121, this kit is made with paper and cardboard from sustainably managed forest sources and hand-crafted in Milan.
The brand is progressively integrating plastic alternatives and paper packaging for guests at fashion shows is entirely plastic free.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused Piccioli to change his plans for the couture line over the past year. In January, it was unveiled digitally.
The show, filmed in Rome, consisted of a presentation conceived by the designer in a dialogue with British artist, musician, singer and songwriter Robert Del Naja, also known as 3D, and a founding member of the band Massive Attack.
To present Valentino’s fall 2020 couture collection, Piccioli in July last year staged a live performance at Cinecittà Studios outside Rome.

Valentino Teams With Betony Vernon for Multifaceted Project

Valentino Teams With Betony Vernon for Multifaceted Project

V’S BOUDOIR: Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has made clear that he wants the house to stand for inclusivity and to convey a free-spirited attitude.
Along those lines, and just a few days after unveiling the brand’s fall campaign starring Zendaya, the Roman house has conscripted author, jewelry designer and friend of the brand Betony Vernon for a multifaceted project spotlighting its Rockstud Alcove accessories range with a dedicated window design concept, a book and even a peep box.
The house described the projects as a “celebration of the provocative, an ode to the creative feminine and the divine power of love.”
Playing on the sensuality and subtle eroticism exuded by the collection, which was first presented for fall 2021, Valentino is committed to heightening desirability for the pieces, and Vernon knows a thing or two about desire.

She is the author of “The Boudoir Bible — The Uninhibited Sex Guide for Today” published by Rizzoli in 2013, which is set for a third reprint and is being issued in tandem with Valentino with a dedicated black cover wrap embellished with the word “Alcove” handwritten in gold.

Betony Vernon’s “The Boudoir Bible — The Uninhibited Sex Guide for Today” book’s special edition developed with Valentino. 
Courtesy Valentino.

The special-edition book will be available later this month at select erotic bookshops in key cities worldwide including Paris, Milan, London, New York, Seoul and Los Angeles.

Inside each bookshop carrying the tome, the brand is also displaying the Valentino Garavani Alcove items, which include shoes ranging from pumps and flats to booties, crafted from a combination of mesh and leather and adorned by the studs, as well as two bag styles, the Double Handle with the V logo fully covered in studs and the Box bag with double-faced studs running along its profile and the oversize Valentino Garavani logo on the back.
Also part of the tie-up, Vernon partnered with the brand on the window design concept for the collection, aimed at evoking the eroticism the Alcove range is imbued with and playing with the concept of voyeurism.

The Rockstud Alcove display inside the Valentino store on Milan’s Via Montenapoleone developed with Betony Vernon. 
Courtesy of Valentino.

While the former will be telegraphed by items displayed on a furry red carpet and inside a red-painted room, the voyeuristic spin will be highlighted by a peep show box available in-store, which will allow customers to take a sneak peek of the products safeguarded in it by looking into the keyhole.

A Valentino Garavani Rockstud Alcove bag displayed inside the peep box developed by the house with Betony Vernon. 
Courtesy of Valentino Garavani.

See also:
Valentino Cements Relationship With Zendaya
Sensuality Becomes Statement of Self-Love, Body Positivity for Fall 2021
Communication, Valentino Style

Valentino to Go Fur-Free, Terminate Red Valentino

Valentino to Go Fur-Free, Terminate Red Valentino

MILAN — Valentino is redesigning its positioning and going fur-free starting in 2022.
At the same time, the Rome-based couture house said Tuesday evening it plans to focus on its signature line and to terminate its younger Red Valentino collection starting in 2024.
“Maison de Couture for us means creativity, uniqueness, intimacy and an inclusive mind-set,” said chief executive officer Jacopo Venturini. “The fur-free stance is perfectly in-line with the values of our company. We are moving full-steam ahead in the research for alternative materials in view of a greater attention to the environment for the upcoming collections.”
The Milan-based Valentino Polar fur company, which has been fully owned by Valentino since 2018, will cease production at the end of 2021. The latest collection to include fur will be the fall 2021-22 season.

“The aesthetic vision of our creative director — combined with the artisanal spirit and excellence of the workmanship — harmonizes perfectly with new technologies and future objectives,” continued Venturini speaking of Pierpaolo Piccioli. “The inputs to which our customers, or friends of the house, are exposed to every day are many. In this scenario, the concentration on one, and only one brand, will better support a more organic growth of the maison.”
The last Red Valentino collection, first launched in 2003, includes clothing and accessories and will be for fall 2023-24. It was produced in-house. Many designer labels have been streamlining their collections, from Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren to Burberry and Versace, bringing clarity to brand messaging and often helping to raise their positioning.
The company is working closely with trade union representatives for the management of the organizational issues and in compliance with the regulations in the various countries, aiming to have a minimum impact on employees.
A number of brands have pledged to go fur-free over the past few years from Michael Kors and Gucci to Burberry, Versace and Chanel, seeing this as a step into more sustainable practices — although fur advocates insist that natural fur is more sustainable than fake fur. Cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have also taken steps to ban fur.

Valentino Cements Relationship With Zendaya

Valentino Cements Relationship With Zendaya

MILAN — Valentino is again pairing with Zendaya to embody the brand’s values in its fall ad campaign, but this time creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli is aiming to highlight the singer, actress and activist as a person and not as a model.
“This is why I chose her, for all that she represents. Throughout an aesthetic choice, it is possible to represent a whole identity. This is the power of fashion and this is the power of human beings,” he told WWD in a video interview from his home in Nettuno, outside Rome. “I think it’s fundamental to pass strong messages through the identity of a person and Zendaya perfectly represents the values that I want Valentino to stand for, such as equality and inclusivity. I chose Zendaya as a person, for what she stands for, and not as a model.”

The designer tapped David Sims, who photographed Zendaya at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles. The campaign, called Roman Palazzo, launches today and there will also be a series of short videos showing Zendaya casually lounging on an armchair, sitting at a desk, memorizing lines from a script and captured on stage.
Piccioli said he chose Sims for personal and sentimental reasons, as he photographed the first Rockstud campaign and the first Valentino ads when the designer was named sole creative director following the exit of Maria Grazia Chiuri in 2016.

“He was there in significant moments for the brand and for myself and this is another moment of change. Together we can catch the more personal side [of Zendaya],” Piccioli observed. “These images have an intimate feel, emphasized by the fact that they are in black and white. I did not want a fashion photo but a portrait of a new generation that would represent the new Valentino values.”
Given the travel restrictions, Piccioli did not fly to Los Angeles but said he worked through the night with Zendaya and Sims from his home sharing creative ideas for the shoot. “I like her strong self-awareness, which is conveyed in the images, which are more powerful than words,” the designer mused.
Piccioli also noted that Zendaya always works with the same stylist, Law Roach. “I like this very much, it says a lot about herself. She worked with Law on this shoot, too, because I wanted her to be with the person she would feel more confident with, in the most authentic way possible.”
Teddy Corsica will front the men’s fall campaign.
This is the third campaign with Zendaya, who was first tapped in December last year, and Piccioli, who has been revising the codes of the brand to render it more inclusive, believes in consistency of the images, while evolving them. “Certain things must settle, there is not always the need for novelties. We don’t always have to negate what came before. The idea is for this new aesthetic identity to be represented by these new images, which reflect the new Valentino.”

Zendaya fronting the Valentino Roman Palazzo campaign. 
Courtesy of Valentino Ph. David Sims

Asked if Zendaya will also front Valentino’s beauty campaign, Piccioli responded in the negative, saying that those images will respond to a different logic. “We want to overturn the beauty rules, I don’t want only one person to represent Valentino’s idea of beauty.”

Piccioli, who shot the beauty ads himself, photographed 16 different people. “The message is that there is not one single and ideal beauty concept to aspire to, anyone that sees the ads can be the 17th person, 18th or 20th person. I didn’t want to be so assertive, but rather to invite you to be as you are. We cover 95 percent of skin tones in the world, so this inclusivity is real also in the product.”
The fall images fronted by Zendaya will also emphasize the Rockstud collection, expanded with the Alcove accessories.
“Sensuality is one of the many expressions of a human being. I like to think of it as a blank space in which our physical and mental parts find a joyful, personal and unique connection,” Piccioli said. The Valentino Garavani Rockstud Alcove collection “aims to translate this concept into objects because I really think that accessories have the power to get in touch with our senses. Zendaya is once again able to interpret this vision in her very ‘Zendaya way,’ she is aware of her bodily presence and she matches it with a radical romanticism that is completely aligned with everything we are doing in our brand.”
The new Double Handle bag ranges from a medium to a micro size with the V logo fully covered in studs and a two-twist locks closure. Inside, there is a bold red napa lining and multiple hidden pockets.
The Box bag has clean geometric lines with double-faced studs running along its profile and the oversize printed Valentino Garavani logo stands out on the back. There are also bold allover studs and animalier versions.
The Alcove shoes range from pumps and flats to booties, crafted from a combination of mesh and leather and adorned by the studs in a platinum finish and lined in red leather.
The Double Handle bag will be in stores starting May 17, while the Box bag will be available in July.

Valentino Spies ‘Great Potential’ for Men Buying Couture

Valentino Spies ‘Great Potential’ for Men Buying Couture

Valentino, which introduced haute couture for men in a big way with its spring 2021 collection, plans to further develop and reinforce this niche business, spying “great potential.”
The Rome-based house described an enthusiastic reception from its male clients, and cited expressions of interest from Europe, America and China.
According to a spokesman for the house, Valentino is — pandemic allowing — planning to set up “exclusive appointments with a couture team in special locations around the world.
“In past seasons, men’s couture looks have been presented in ready-to-wear shows and then sold during private appointments, in the showroom at Place Vendôme, as exclusive couture pieces,” he added.

Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli had explained during a preview last month that his spring couture skewed more toward daywear and items rather than ensembles, which prompted him to include men in the show for the first time, realizing that capes, turtlenecks and Bermuda shorts are genderless garments. Out of 73 exits, 23 were modeled by men.
“There is not a ‘men’s couture’ or a ‘women’s couture.’ It’s just couture,’” Piccioli explained over email, calling his spring effort a “contemporary wardrobe built through pieces that can be worn freely. A trenchcoat is a trenchcoat — the piece itself has its own life and aesthetics, the person who will wear it, a man or a woman, will bring this piece to life.

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Valentino Couture Spring 2021  Courtesy of Valentino

“When I observe new generations, for the most part, I see an incredible strength and assertiveness, they don’t need to specify what they are wearing, they pick up what they like, whether it’s a men’s or a women’s piece,” he explained. “When I first started to work on this ‘Code Temporal’ collection, I had clear in mind what I wanted to see. The essence of couture lays how the couture is done and most of all by who it is done.”
According to Piccioli, the “rituals and the process of the haute couture are an exaltation of the human being — they are timeless. And this non-belonging to time made me think that gender shouldn’t be a limitation, but instead an added value,” he continued. “Inclusivity and equality are not just words, but actions that must be taken. I think that to cross gender borders — it’s a natural evolution of what we do through our job.”
See also:

EXCLUSIVE: Demna Gvasalia Thinks Couture Can Change Fashion

Paris Couture Week’s Top Trends: Celebs, Mushrooms and Men

https://wwd.com/runway/spring-couture-2020/paris/jean-paul-gaultier/review/

Communication, Valentino Style

Communication, Valentino Style

MILAN — “Individuality, freedom and diversity are not just keywords for fashion, they are crucial for life itself,” believes Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli. “True fashion has to touch on these values that I believe in.”
To reflect this stance, for Valentino’s communication, Piccioli is developing a series of ideas channeled into different photographic projects linked to the authenticity of each media outlet he chooses. This translates into seasonal campaigns that will not rely on one single image or concept but rather a series of activities hinged on photography, music or videos with a different language depending on the media.
“I love this idea of all people: a combination of identities. It’s not place-specific. It’s about roots and identities, but I love the embrace of different cultures together,” Piccioli mused. “It’s about humans. It’s not about where you come from. It’s about you and your diversity: your expression.”

Exemplifying these concepts, Piccioli asked Liz Johnson Artur, winner of the Turner Prize, to photograph the Valentino spring 2021 collection in Milan, during the fashion show staged in September, reflecting on social distancing and the reality of the pandemic — surgical masks included — with a dedicated quote from Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo.

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The images were published in art magazines, such as Flash Art, for example, targeting art connoisseurs, photography fans and the art world.
An image from Valentino’s campaign.  Liz Johnson Artur- courtesy image

Then there is Zendaya. Targeting Gen Z and mirroring Piccioli’s values of inclusivity and his work to resignify the codes of the brand to make them more in sync with the times, the actress, singer and social activist embodies the designer’s concept of “contemporary romanticism.” Michael Bailey-Gates photographed Zendaya, whose new images debut on Wednesday.

Zendaya posing for Valentino.  Michael Bailey-Gates- courtesy image

The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing prompted Piccioli to conceive the Empathy campaign for fall 2020, asking a group of artists and friends of the house to participate, from Adut Akech, Christy Turlington and Gwyneth Paltrow, to Laura Dern, Mustafa the Poet, Rossy de Palma and Rula Jebreal, to name a few, photographed by those living with them during their lockdowns.
Piccioli also collaborated with Koreen, the founder of We’re Not Really Strangers, for the creation of a new game of 25 cards that reflect the shared values of both brands — empathy, individuality and positivity and launched last month. The reel of the project posted on Valentino’s Instagram accounted generated 5 million views.

An image from the Valentino and We’re Not Really Strangers collaboration.  courtesy image

Piccioli believes in choosing talents who represent a specific community and media, offering authenticity and a multifaceted message, and that this will amplify the brand’s voice.
One industry observer who requested anonymity contended that Piccioli “is not working with the goal to impose Valentino’s language to the media but to use the media and their own language as a means to narrate and to engage their audience. The campaign is made of different elements that coexist in a choral manner.”
His strategy seems to be working, as Valentino ranked 13th in the Gartner 2020 Digital Luxury Index, gaining 11 spots year-on-year and surpassing Dior and Saint Laurent. Providing some context, Gucci ranked first followed by Louis Vuitton. Fendi and Chanel ranked ninth.

According to a Tribe Dynamics study in December, Valentino’s Earned Media Value climbed 43 percent to almost $22 million.
Marketing and communication adviser Paolo Landi gave Piccioli’s approach a thumbs up. “We are now used through social media to one-to-one marketing. Through the internet, consumers have become ‘people.’ The old classification that divided us in segments by age, sex, profession, geographic provenance, spending power are outdated.”
The internet has facilitated conversations and learning people’s preferences through in-depth analysis. “Transversality wins. I think Piccioli aspires to start a dialogue with people that he feels closer to him and I believe this is a contemporary approach to marketing. Rather than trying to hit a generic target communicating everywhere, he narrows down the communication in a more precise way. This is possible today,” Landi said.
He underscored that what also matters is the level of novelty delivered. “Surprise in communication always wins over mainstream because we know déjà vu kills fashion.”
Rapid changes come from the use of technology so “we must be more educated and more informed, and especially never rely on business as usual,” continued Landi. “We must be flexible and quick in trying to understand where human beings are going, how their tastes change and, as a consequence, the direction to take to be increasingly closer to them. Brands should no longer try and reach everyone hoping to be seen. What works today is people communicating with one another and I think Piccioli has realized this. Communication can be more circumscribed and more precise, and social media can allow this.”
Shiva Mohammadian, associate director brand strategy and guidance, Insights Division at Kantar, underscored that Piccioli’s “approach makes sense if he remains faithful to his larger purpose and that of the brand.” She cautioned against communicating one message to the younger generations and something entirely different to the older ones, with the risk of having a “dystonic” effect.
Inclusivity is clearly a positive message, she said, “but it must share common ground” to avoid diluting the strength of the brand’s positioning or “distancing yourself too much” from the message.
“Targeted communication does not mean that one message is seen only by that specific target,” Mohammadian observed.
Asked if this kind of message is fitting for the times, she said it “makes sense because COVID-19 did not change people’s desire for customization.”
Alessandro Maria Ferreri, chief executive officer and owner of The Style Gate consulting firm, concurred, saying that, while it is important to protect the integrity of a brand, “it is very difficult today to have a single message that is the same for a consumer target that is very large, in terms of age, geography and spending power. You can’t put them all together under a same communication umbrella. Each needs a different tone of voice, with different content and fronted by different talents or celebrities, as their reaction varies depending on the stimulus.”
He drew a parallel with Dolce & Gabbana, whose different products are photographed in different ways with different models. “The brands that aspire to become global and that have passed the 1 billion euro sales benchmark feel the need to maintain a wide product offer, from a sneaker to an evening gown and they necessarily need to have a different approach for each consumer range.”
On top of this, those brands that have a strong beauty business, such as Saint Laurent or Dior, put in place yet another kind of communication strategy. For this reason, Ferreri does not believe Valentino is alone in its  approach. “Is this positive in the long term and for the growth of the brand? Well, the Armani Group has followed this strategy since its inception and it appears its awareness is very solid.”

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