Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s design signature by now is familiar. Their simple, covered-up, almost prim silhouettes act like a canvas for the embroidery and beadwork of the Roman house’s atelier. The marvel is how they keep remaking them each season—this one included—creating desire anew. Resort found them scaling back not an inch on the detailing, yet the effect was more folksy than flamboyant. They showed a long black net dress stitched all over in the tiniest of beads with sneakers, and it made perfect sense. The workmanship is close to couture, but Chiuri and Piccioli very much intend their pieces to be worn every day.
“We were thinking about freedom, and Diana Vreeland’s famous quote, ‘The eye has to travel,'” Piccioli said via phone from Rome where they’re working on their men’s and couture collections. Their reference points ranged far and near, encompassing vibrant Native American motifs, made in collaboration with the artist Christi Belcourt, a member of Canada’s Métis tribe, and the garden flowers and animals that have been part of their vocabulary at Valentino for years. There were leather intarsias of the continents and a nod to the Far East with the dragon embroideries decorating the backs of jackets and coats. The world is flat, they seemed to be saying; everybody in Valentino! If only. Beyond the exquisite beadwork, the loveliest pieces were the subtlest: softly pleated dresses both short and long patchworked from different prints and laces. They’ll weigh next to nothing in a carry-on; the lucky girl who wears one will win best dressed no matter her location.