Pierpaolo Piccioli is loosening it up lately. Less of sublime, heavenly elevations, more of party vibe. His Valentino autumn-winter 2023 collection is for party people. Maybe not ravers (with thick pockets), but definitely fans of chic soirées, ambient cocktails and events with great music. The concept for the latest collection came up quite spontaneously: when Piccioli came home from work at the Valentino office in Rome recently, he was astonished to see that his 15-year-old daughter had raided his wardrobe for a night out with her friends. “She’d taken one of my black suits, white shirt, and black tie and was on her way out the front door. It was amazing to me, because she’d never seen me wearing a suit to the office. I keep some I wear with a bow tie to things like the Met Ball and other events, but never on a daily basis.” He realized his kid had no idea about ascribing socially-conditioned ideas to the conventions of formal dressing. “It was just, she liked it, and it was a new thing to her. In the end, I think that’s the way to approach fashion, as a personal choice of freedom.” And he was off, with ideas aplenty, inspired to design his ‘Black Tie’ collection. The neo-punk tribe of people he sent stomping around the rooms of the Hotel Salomon Rothschild had face-jewelry, tattoos, and heavy boots, the better to demonstrate the individuality he wanted to spotlight amongst his reinterpretations and deconstructions of traditional formal attire. Of course, it was Yves Saint Laurent who first broke the boundaries between women’s and menswear with his evening ‘Smoking’ suits in the 1960s. At the time, Valentino Garavani was focusing much more on creating a language of femininity which attracted conventional aristocrats, Hollywood actresses, and socialites. “I always think about what Valentino was about – it was about the idea of lifestyle, the perfect life, success,” Piccioli said. “I think, now what I’m doing is more switched to the idea of the lifestyle of community, our community, communities that are about the sort of gang of kids who are saying, look, we can wear the same sort of clothes, but giving them their personality with that.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!