Fashion, like art, describes the time we live in and the society we are part of. Fashion is a witness and a memory.Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli

Grace and femininity are as essential to Valentino as the Eternal City where Valentino Garavani founded his historic house in 1960. And it is Rome herself that has served as the eduring inspiration for and companion of the Valentino woman, and which Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccoli, the label’s creative directors since 2008, celebrated in their Fall/Winter 2015-’16 couture collection, Mirabilia Romae. 

WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION IN CREATING THE F/W 2015-’16 COUTURE EVENT MIRABILIA ROMAE? We wanted our guests to be part of our creative universe and the city of Rome, which is our endless source of inspiration, with its marvels, its stratifications, and its ability to always leave us astonished. This collection was totally inspired by Rome, with all its multiple facets, from the imperial city to the baroque era and the Renaissance with its botteghe dell’arte, the workshops that were so similar to our own haute couture atelier. Then there is the more contemporary Rome, the neorealist city, in which artists like Pietro Ruffo still contribute to its richness and with whom we collaborated on the special setting for the show. 

HOW DOES ROME MANIFEST HERSELF IN THIS COLLECTION? The aspects have been interpreted in a free and personal manner: The peplum dresses reproduce the drapes of ancient statues—the velvet togas—the eagle, which has become a velvet intarsia on a silk tulle in the collection. The jewels, which take inspiration from Fellini Satyricon [1969], were created in collaboration with the artist Alessandro Gaggio—haute couture jewelry pieces with a taste of the dark side, because Rome is also a city with a strong dark side. The book we made with Assouline, Valentino: Mirabilia Romae, describes how our path is permanently linked with the art of Rome.

WHAT FUNCTION DO CLOTHES SERVE? When a woman chooses a gown, it’s not just a matter of taste; in that moment she chooses which side of her personality she wants to reveal. That gown, then, creates a dialogue with those surrounding the woman. It also protects her and protects the sides of her identity that are not to be revealed. The highest goal of clothing is to make a woman feel confident. If she feels good in her dress, she will feel good showing her true beauty.

WHAT DOES THE COLOR RED MEAN TO THE BRAND OF VALENTINO? For the Valentino maison, red is not just a color; it is a nonfading mark, a logo, an iconic element of the brand, a value.

HOW DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL WHEN THEY WEAR VALENTINO? One-of-a-kind. Aware. Free for self-expression.

HOW DOES YOUR COLLABORATION WORK? Our collaboration has no rules and no specific roles. Still, we preserve our own identities through the pleasure of creating together. Our approach is quite movielike: the inspiration causes us to write a story. The mood board is the beginning of a work in progress that will lead us to the fashion show, which is the final synthesis of our story.

SHOULD FASHION BE IN MUSEUMS? Of course! Fashion, like art, describes the time we live in and the society we are part of. Fashion is a witness and a memory.