Memphis Soul
Wallpaper|September 2017

A graphic collaboration between Valentino and a legendary creative couple hits the right notes

Rosa Bertoli

Two radically different reference points seem to anchor the autumn/winter women’s Valentino collection; restrained Victoriana co-mingles with the bold, poppy post-modernism of the Memphis Group, the Milan-based design collective, founded in 1981, that included among its members Ettore Sottsass, Andrea Branzi and Matteo Thun. According to Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, this was less a study in contrasts than an exploration of common themes.

‘Both periods are characterised by a shift towards technological progress and a general openness towards consumption,’ he says. The collection, he argues, integrates austere Victorian shapes with the saturated colours typical of Memphis, ‘establishing a new harmony between two distant yet analogue periods.’

It is not the first time Piccioli has spun his work around contrasting cultural references: his first solo effort (after Maria Grazia Chiuri’s departure from the label in 2016) was inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights and featured a collaboration with Zandra Rhodes, while his latest menswear collection included slogans by English punk artist Jamie Reid. ‘Through being open to dialogue, the brand’s standards are always elevated,’ says Piccioli. ‘To me, Valentino has always been the expression of pure beauty, and I feel that connecting its patrimonial value to other forms of beauty is a natural process.’

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