After escalating speculation, and proving that there’s rarely any smoke without fire, it has been confirmed that Maria Grazia Chiuri is leaving Valentino. But will she join Dior as its seventh couturier, as rumours suggest?
Chiuri is leaving after 17 years with the brand and eight in her role as co-creative director with Pierpaolo Piccioli, who will become sole creative director of Valentino. Together, the designers presented their swan song Valentino couture show in Paris on Wednesday evening.
Chiuri and Piccioli first worked together at Fendi for 10 years, before Valentino Garavani hand picked them to overhaul his brand’s accessories category. They took over as creative directors of accessories at Valentino – developing – the phenomenally popular Rockstud collections, among others – when Alessandra Facchinetti was assigned the same title for ready-to-wear after Garavani retired in 2007. In 2008, they succeeded Facchinetti as creative directors of the brand.
In a joint statement, Chiuri and Piccioli said: “After 25 years of creative partnership and of professional satisfactions we gave ourselves the opportunity of continuing our artistic paths in an individual way with the reciprocal desire of further great achievements.” Piccioli will now be the sole creative director of Valentino.
Chiuri’s work at Valentino has not only been credited with bringing the label up to date and getting it on the radar of a younger shopper – it’s been backed up with sales. In the first quarter of 2016, Valentino’s sales rose by 9%. If she does make the move to Dior, LVMH, which owns Dior, will be hoping that she will have the same effect on sales there. Chiuri would be the first woman to be creative director for Christian Dior, and she would beat other contenders for the highly prized job, including Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton and ex-Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz.
Watch this space