“I always think my work is to take a new picture of something that you know already,” says Pierpaolo Piccioli, Creative Director of Maison Valentino, “I do it with new life and new shapes, so you view the landscape from my way of seeing.”
Piccioli is talking about his Valentino Promenade Fall 2022 womenswear collection and Valentino After Club Fall 2022 menswear collection, and its accompanying campaign, titled “Portrait of a Generation”. The pieces take signatures from Valentino’s heritage and put them in fresh light: stripes and zebra prints, capes and blouses, prints and embroideries.
“When Mr Valentino started designing, there were so many rules for how you wore clothes,” says Piccioli. “Now, fashion is about self-realisation. This collection is shifting Valentino to this new world, giving new meaning to the codes and values.”
A floor-length dragon print silk shirt can be worn as a dress, a summer coat, “we don’t need to define it,” says Piccioli, “wear it however you want.” A cropped striped sweater is worn with a utilitarian jacket, mini-skirt and Valentino Garavani sneakers. An embroidered cape, minimal in cut but maximal in detail, is worn with a simple sweater, leather pants and Valentino Garavani VLogo Chain loafers.
To capture the collection, portraits were taken on the street at Arnold Circus, East London. Furniture was used to give the sense of stooping, an urban tradition where items are left on the street for others to take. Casting was about attitude, “not treating them as models but as humans,” says Piccioli. “We wanted to dress them the way they dress in their own life. It is about individuality and uniqueness, which connects to my work in Couture. It is about diversity and inclusivity. It is about community.”
At the heart of Arnold Circus is a raised garden, centred by a bandstand. The gardens are cared for and planted by volunteers from the community. Valentino has made a donation to the Friends of Arnold Circus for the shoot. “I love that the community takes care of the place,” says Piccioli. “It is an idea of a city that I like. You share something, you take care of something together.”
The area reminds Piccioli of his hometown. “Roma is about all these layers of eras, people and cultures,” he says. “It is the harmony of what is different, in an effortless beauty that comes from all layers together in balance.”
These are the layers that make up Piccioli’s work: the heritage, the new generation, his own point of view. “I like that these designs have a sense of freedom,” he says, “forgetting rules and going into the next chapter in a very free way.”