Pierpaolo Piccioli on “Forever Valentino”, the theatrical and radical exhibition exploring the codes and values of the house which opens in Doha this week
Rather than using time as the organizing principle of the exhibition, the dream team of curators focused on the location: Rome. “I think being a Roman fashion house is what makes Valentino so special, unique,” Piccioli said on a call. “Roma has a big influence on my work. The Rome evoked in the exhibition is not the Rome of postcards and stereotypes, but the real city inhabited by real people, and in particular the Rome of the Valentino house. The creative director made it clear that he didn’t want to fall “into the trap of an illustrative, kitsch vision of Rome,” says Gioni. “I also think that what Piccioli brings to fashion, and to Valentino in particular, is an idea of Rome as a cosmopolitan city, as a truly lived city, as a place where coexistence has existed for centuries…a city much more polyphonic, complex and beautiful in its diversity, than the account of the emperors led us to believe.
Lord Byron once described Rome as the “city of the soul,” and that’s perhaps the most succinct way to talk about the Rome that “Forever Valentino” brings to Qatar. This vision of the city is very similar to Piccioli’s own approach to the house of Valentino; her goal is to capture the spirit of her heritage in emotional and inclusive designs.
Thus, visitors begin their tour of “Forever Valentino” the same way house employees begin their days, by entering (in this case a replica of) the courtyard of Palazzo Mignanelli’s headquarters, where Igor Mitoraj is outsized. . the sculpture “Sorgente del Centurione” dominates the space. “The really interesting thing with the sculpture is that it kind of reproduces this idea of fragments from the past being transformed into a modern work,” says Fury. “It’s kind of an overview of the dresses designed by both Garavani and Piccioli, so it initiates this idea of conversations between contemporary works and the past, enlivens them and encourages visitors to make these connections between the history and the present. It is important to note that the exhibition, including this section, presents both haute couture and ready-to-wear designs.
Afterwards, visitors can enter the completely white rooms of the workshop. “The color of [a] sewing [atelier] is white, even the ground is white, because when the pins fall, you have to see them,” explains Piccioli. “It’s just a very simple and functional reason, not just symbolic. But the idea of couture, as the artistic director suggests, is also that of carte blanche; bespoke garments that begin life as blank canvases. In this piece are dresses in different states of becoming, and they can be appreciated for their architecture and objectivity, but, as Gioni puts it, Piccioli also wanted to capture in these pieces a “sense of real intimacy and [the] incredibly personal relationship between the customer and the house, and the clothes themselves.” Piccioli’s belief in openness also showed for spring 2023. “We did the Spanish Steps parade in July,” he explains. “The Spanish Steps are a great monument for everyone, [but]for us it’s the place where we go to have a coffee, so it’s a bit intimate.