What fashion is for… Pierpaolo Piccioli

“You don’t need a new bag or item; you need new emotions and new dreams – and that’s what fashion is for” – Pierpaolo Piccioli – Valentino creative director


I’m watching the series “Art of Style” – a series of fashion channel M2M interviews with leaders in the fashion world, interspersed with pictures of their work and inspirations.  It’s an unbelievably stunning 14 minutes each – which I was viewing on Prime, but will be available to view elsewhere – including this Youtube channel of the house of Valentino.

“Fashion is about the moment; beauty is about eternity.”

I found this video very rewarding viewing, because Pierpaolo is a thinker, someone who feels and creates – and who makes others think.  His starting point is the culture of Rome – and right at the beginning, there are stunning soft dissolves between aspects of architecture and statues and dresses as they drift along the fashion catwalk.  The pictures used are of fashion shown in ancient, gorgeous villas, rather than the white blank canvas of modern catwalks.  They belong.

When he speaks about red, he will speak about a specific red used by a painter, as compared to another red used typically by another renaissance painter.  It’s rather unfortunate that the frozen frame of the video above has what looks like an over- serious title – when it was a light, throwaway saying: “When I wear black, I’m thinking.”


For Pierpaolo, it began with books – seeing fashion photography, imaging what happened before and after the photograph – what was the story?  This is the power of fashion.

“I love the power of telling stories of fashion”

As the camera wanders round the books in his study., you can see that they are wide influences: Mantegna, Terry Richardson, August Sander, Titian, David Bailey.

When he begins to design, he doesn’t start with the clothes, but “I start with an idea of beauty – all the dreams I want to deliver”.

As you can see, the interview is full of quotable quotes – and therefore, edited with insight (thank you, John Northrup) as well as interviewing a very intelligent subject.  (The short film is directed and produced by Lisa Immordino Vreeland)

Creative Space

Screen shot 2018-06-03 at 18.40.43We get to see his study space: there is a giantic, smooth, lightwood modern desk, with a similar bench behind, for books to go on – brilliant!  I know that I struggle to get the books off my desk, yet want to have them to hand for referral.  The room itself (reading left to right) has a modern geometric picture, a huge round renaissance type still life in a very ornate gilt frame, a wide sidetable with layers of upright photographs AND large black and white photographs to the side of the old picture (mostly black simple frames).

The desk has a floorstanding angled lamp for work, pens and stationery ready to use with yet a few more, very small black and white photographs in direct eye view.  There is a single drawer under the desk.

There are living things also: a white orchid behind the desk, and in the corner, a bulging ornate black planter with green cacti, bedded in large round white stones.  The whole effect is of lightness: plain cream walls, a little greenery – and frames of black on pictures and the glass door.

“You don’t have to understand why you love something – you just love it”


Creative Takeaway

Have a look at this Creative Designer’s space for making – then consider your own space – no matter how small it is – even a corner of a room – how can you make it more beautiful and more you?

Piccioli has framed photographs by her favourite fashion photographers on the wall – who inspires you – and do you have pictures right in front of your workspace, where you can see it from your desk/computer?



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