Pierpaolo Piccioli Recalls Wearing Flip Flops for his First Day at Valentino: ‘It Was so Wrong’

Katie Abel

It’s been two decades since Pierpaolo Piccioli arrived at Valentino, but the creative director still remembers the controversial shoes he wore for his first day at the famed fashion house.

I wore flip flops. It was so wrong,” Piccioli said during a conversation with journalist Alina Cho at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York tonight.

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The designer also opened up about crafting the iconic Rockstud style, accompanying Joan Collins to the Met Gala this month and why it’s so important for Valentino to become more inclusive. Read on for excerpts from the conversation.

On the eclectic group of celebs, including Naomi Campbell, Joan Collins and Julianne Moore, that Valentino dressed for the 2019 Met Gala: “I really like them as people. It’s important for Valentino to go away from exclusivity and embrace inclusivity. All of these people share a common idea [about] life.

Being Collins’ date for the big night: “Every time I tried to take a picture with someone else, like Naomi, Joan would say, ‘Darling, I’m alone!‘”

On designing the wildly successful Rockstud shoe: “In a way, you know when you’re doing something that’s more than ordinary.”

What Donatella Versace said about Lady Gaga’s Valentino dress at the 2018 Venice Film Festival: “She told me, ‘When I saw the dress, I wanted to burn it. It’s so fabulous.’ It was the highest compliment.”

How his family keeps him humble: “Of course they’re very proud. But they’re surprised when people stop me for a selfie. To them, I’m their father and husband. But they’re always supportive.”

The groundbreaking January couture show featuring more than 30 women of color. Piccioli put it together after looking at a 1948 Cecil Beaton photo of a group of white women in Charles James dresses.: “The collection was very classic couture, I just changed the girls. That was enough to make a statement. Naomi closed the show and it was a very moving moment for all of us. You have a voice and you have to use it loudly.”

Understanding the appeal of a great logo: “The logo, for me at the beginning, was very commercial. Then I began to understand the point of view of the younger people. They were ordering all the Valentino t-shirts from the 1990s and they told me it was kind of cool. I started to rethink the logo in a new way.”

On keeping up with the frenetic pace of fashion: “ I just love it. If I didn’t, it would be impossible.”

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