With his long-time creative partner Maria Grazia Chiuri , Pierpaolo Piccioli has overseen Valentino’s creative direction for eight years, during which time they modernised its couture DNA to fit the contemporary consumer and boosted annual revenue to $1 billion in 2015. As of July 2016, when Chiuri decamped to Dior, Piccioli is Valentino’s sole creative director.
An alumnus of Rome’s Istituto Europeo di Design, Piccioli first met Chiuri through a mutual friend in the early 1980s. In 1989, he began working alongside her in Fendi’s accessories department, marking the beginning of a two-decade creative partnership.
In 1999 the pair moved to Valentino as accessory designers. They revamped the luxury brand’s handbag and eyewear collections, were put in charge of designing the brand's diffusion line Red Valentino in 2003, and later oversaw its entire accessories range. When Valentino Garavani retired in 2008, Chiuri and Piccioli were appointed co-creative directors.
Though still a red carpet favourite, Valentino was struggling to reclaim the international cachet it once had. Chiuri and Piccioli pushed Valentino back to the forefront of fashion, breathing new creative energy into the brand, revitalising its menswear business and growing its accessories division with blockbuster styles like the Rockstud. In 2015, Chiuri and Piccioli received the CFDA International Award. In July 2016, when Chiuri was appointed artistic director of Dior, Piccioli became Valentino’s sole creative director. Since heading up the fashion house solo the brand has seen large success — his Autumn/Winter 2018 haute couture for the house received a standing ovation.