Batman without Robin, Sherlock without Watson, Angelina Jolie without Brad Pitt. That’s what it felt like when the designer duo Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri – extremely successful for 26 years – suddenly went their separate ways in 2016. Chiuri moved to Dior, Piccioli stayed at Valentino.
After graduating from the Instituto Europeo di Design in Rome, Piccioli worked at Fendi, where he gained his first experience of Italian craftsmanship. He summarizes his work like this: “Working closely with the artisans and Italian expertise has been fundamental. It has allowed me to understand the rules in order to break them. It is the base from which each creative process begins.
Dressmakers in the spotlight
Naturally, this love of Italian craftsmanship has stayed with him. At the atelier in Rome, a highly specialized team toils to make his creative ideas a reality. When it comes to the haute couture collection, they can spend days, weeks and months working on a single dress. And he truly appreciates that. Which is why the dresses in his summer collection bear his colleagues’ names: to bring their work into the spotlight. Even a lookbook was shot in the studio recently. It shows the bright rooms, the swatches, the boxes filled with designs, the workplaces, some of which the dressmakers have decorated with devotional images.
The craftsmanship, the passion, the perfectionism, the company values: those are the most essential criteria to make a sought-after brand. Something that you can best sense when you’re surrounded by the goings-on in the heart of the company. We have been permitted to visit the studios of the labels in the Goldenes Quartier and look over the shoulders of the creatives who work there.