Last week, at the Fashion Awards 2018, Creative Director of Valentino Pierpaolo Piccioli took home the prestigious Designer of the Year award. With his drive to improve diversity and acute sense of designing in response to our current cultural climate, his recent collections have been showcasing everything fashion needs right now.
The annual Fashion Awards were held in London’s Royal Albert Hall last week and, as usual, they saw big wins for Italian designers and fashion houses. Winners were given a glamorous Swarovski crystal trophy, designed by Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye. Gucci took home Brand of the Year, Miucci Prada won the Outstanding Achievement award, and Gucci’s Marco Bizzarri was named Business Leader of the Year. But it was Pierpaolo Picciolo for Valentino who came out with the impressive Designer of the Year award for his incredible forward-thinking work this year.
Guests like models Adut akech Bior and Fran Summers, Kristen McMenamy, co-host Alek Wek, singer Mika, and actress Kristen Scott Thomas all attended the Fashion Awards wearing a piece from one of Valentino’s latest collections. In particular, the red ruffled dress worn by model Fran Summers had everyone’s attention. It was showcased in Valentino’s Prefall 2019 show in Tokyo this year, a collection that contributed to his winning the award.
Since 2008, Valentino has taken over as sole Creative Director, when Maria Grazia Chiuri, the other half of his design duo left the fashion house. Since then, Valentino’s vision of fantastical beauty, light aesthetics and romantic textures has taken over the collections. Speaking to Vogue, Piccioli said: “When you work with someone else, your emotions become thoughts; everything is more rational because you have to talk, you have to share your vision. Being solo, everything changes. You become more aware of yourself. Today I don’t have to understand why I love something, it’s about intuition.” Valentino’s approach to proportion, texture and colour has become increasingly experimental since Piccioli took sole ownership of his role.
Showcasing his pre-fall collection in Tokyo, where the dress worn by Fran Summers stole the show, Picciolo took this experimentalism even further. He took inspiritaion fom wabi-sabi philosophy, which believes in an acceptance of transience and imperfection, and Picciolo says this world view is more flexible and contemporary than Western culture. He showcased soft silks, layers of soft fabrics, ruffles, and most prominently, he sought to change people’s opinions of Valentino’s trademark colour red. Red “sometimes feels super-powerful and strong” he explained, but this collection was making it “more romantic, more fragile, more poetic.
Valentino is also working to create more diversity in the industry. In our contemporary society, ideas of inclusivity are really important, particularly in fashion. For Piccioli, the idea that high fashion couture is accessible is something that drives areas of his designs. For his Spring Summer 2019 show, he reingterpretaed a series of couture dresses into prêt-à-porter, or ready-to-wear, pieces so they were easy to buy for everyone. Talking to Vogue, the designer said, “Now, it’s important for me that Valentino is relevant for today, to go away from the idea of exclusivity, and become more inclusive.”
In addition to Valentino’s drive for inclusivity and experimental fashion, his eyewear collections are well-deserving of designer of the year. Each piece is creative, striking and experiments with classic shapes and colours to create contemporary designs. Here’s a few of our Valentino favourites…
Geometric sunglasses are bold and individual. The Havana crystal colour combination makes this pair a unique style and is effortlessly glamorous.
Valentino’s edgy side comes out in these pilot frames. The design blends the dark fashion with attitude, with a more romantic style in the pearl stud detailing.
These double lens sunglasses are as a modern as they come. The transparent blue lens colourway, the keyhole design, and double metal bridge detailing all work to create a truly unique pair of sunglasses. Add these to your wardrobe and you’ll stand out in any crowd.
Check out our full Valentino Collection.