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September 2 2014

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Valentino’s Creative Directors Prepare For Their Men’s Runway Debut

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Tomorrow in Florence, Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli debut their Fall ’12 menswear collection as the invited guests of Pitti Uomo. The occasion marks the first runway show for the men’s collections, which the designers took over several season ago and have been quietly showing by appointment in their Place Vendome showroom—where it has been a quiet highlight of the Paris collections—ever since. In advance of tomorrow’s show, Chiuri and Piccioli spoke to Style.com about their couture sensibility, the idea of individual luxury, and their quest for the perfect piece. They’ve also shared two sketches of pieces that will hit the catwalk tomorrow; check back for the full looks, as well as Tim Blanks’ review from Pitti.

How do you approach designing menswear differently from designing womenswear? How do you see the Valentino man in relation to the Valentino woman?
Menswear in our vision is very close to the idea of personal and private luxury such as with the haute couture. It is a different result, of course, but the approach is quite similar… Volume and proportions are contemporary but with an echo of memory of sartorial and couture culture, silhouettes are cutting edge and sharp, constructions are very precise, maintaining lightness. [The Valentino man and the Valentino woman] share the same culture of couture and same spirit of effortless elegance.

How did you begin designing this season: Were there specific inspirations or ideas in mind, and how do these compare to what you’ve done in seasons past?
The world of couture. La sala Bianca. Antonioni and Pasolini. Mastroianni and Roman style. In the other collection, we were concentrated on translating the culture of couture in sportswear and modern wardrobe for contemporary men. In this collection, we aim to define our men with a more cinematographic attitude.

How did you research this collection? Does it relate to Valentino’s archival menswear, or is it more of a break with what’s come before?
This collection is close to the values of beauty and luxury of the brand, but our man is definitely far from what [he] was before. Beauty is individual and luxury is understated. You need a workmanship culture to buy a couture piece as you would need it to buy a sartorial jacket with the kind of innovation that takes place when tradition meets technology.

You’ve been showing your men’s collection in the showroom for the past several seasons. What do you have planned for your first presentation? Will it be a static presentation or a runway show? How are you working to incorporate Florence into the presentation?
A runway show, but with the intimate feeling of a couture show. Digital screens will give a new perspective and balance to the frescoes of the baroque rooms of Palazzo Corsini.

What do you think is the ideal outfit for a man? Do you feel that the ideal men’s outfit has changed over the years?
The perfect suit. The perfect shirt. The perfect tie. The perfect shoes. The perfect outerwear. The perfect denim. To be perfect, everything has to be authentic, but with the perfect proportions and a subtle something—everything is just about the obsession for perfection!

Photo: Courtesy of Valentino

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