Much of the industry chatter these days has revolved around designers who join and leave creative director posts in quick succession — often after just three years. But don't forget there are several who have had a long enough tenure to really make a mark on the house they've led.
Valentino's Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have held the top artistic post at the brand since 2008, when Valentino Garavani handpicked the pair from his own accessories team to succeed him following his retirement. Eight years later, the rest is history.
With Chiuri now officially heading to Dior and Piccioli designing Valentino solo, it's unclear how the brand's recognizable aesthetic will change (if at all) from the work put out by Chiuri and Picciloi as a pair. But in the last near-decade, the two did develop an exceptional knack for putting on some of fashion's dreamiest, most surreal presentations — and that's worth celebrating. Thanks to YouTube, we revisited 10 of Valentino's most memorable runway shows since Chiuri and Piccioli took the reins, all of which you can watch in full below.
Fall 2010 Couture
For their second couture season, Chiuri and Piccioli opted for an ornately decorated mansion in lieu of a traditional catwalk, lending an intimate backdrop for the romantic, airy gowns embellished with tulle and Chantilly lace — now characteristic of Valentino under the pair's direction.
Fall 2011 Couture
Paris's Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, a favorite location of Chiuri and Piccioli's, provided a regal environment for the dreamy, yet simplistic qualities of the gowns, which were accentuated by soft, printed rugs and shimmering chandeliers. It was a runway show fit for a monarch.
Shanghai Collection 2013
Valentino's singular Shanghai Collection, held in the city in November 2013, was the brand's first of its kind, targeting one market. Every single look came in varying shades of red — ranging from a bright rose to a deeper mahogany — all of which coordinated with the space's slick vermilion catwalk. Designers staging shows overseas has only become more common since.
Fall 2014 ready-to-wear
Against a stark white runway, models debuted some of the label's most recognizable and appealing ready-to-wear styles to date — including '60s-inspired geometric prints and floaty, long-sleeved frocks. Plus, the show showcased some of modeling's once lesser-known faces, like Anna Ewers, Malaika Firth, Hanne Gaby Odiele and Maartje Verhoef.
Fall 2014 Couture
One of our very favorite of the bunch, Valentino's goddess-like fall 2014 couture show was beautifully lush and green, loaded to the brim with hanging tendrils of ivy — transporting show-goers to the Garden of Eden. The clothing was kept quite functional in nature and Grecian in style, with many pieces exhibiting the beaded ornamentation that's become so synonymous with Chirui and Piccioli.
Spring 2015 ready-to-wear
Ah, the collection that birthed us row after row of gauzy, hazy mermaid gowns — and one of Valentino's most memorable ad campaigns for decades. While the venue itself was nothing extravagant, the breathtaking product more than made up for it by the time the first candy-floss confection hit the runway.
Fall 2015 ready-to-wear (aka the "Zoolander" stunt)
Valentino's fall 2015 show felt dark and ominous, only a double layer of bright lights twinkling overhead. Little did guests know they'd be in for one of the best runway publicity stunts of all time: a surprise appearance by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, who closed the show as Derek Zoolander and Hansel, thereby announcing "Zoolander 2."
Of course, there were also beautiful clothes. This range became incredibly popular both on the red carpet and throughout the street style scene.
Spring 2016 ready-to-wear
Cultural appropriation is a big problem in the fashion industry and this show — particularly the hair and dearth of black models — was problematic. But to exclude it from a roundup of Valentino's most memorable would be an oversight, as the clothes themselves were undeniably stunning and the event left attendees shocked and awed.
Fall 2015 Couture
It was a "Game of Thrones" salute for the ages. Titled "Mirabilia Romae" ("Marvels of Rome") and set at the iconic Piazza Mignanelli in Rome, artist Pietro Ruffo designed the sleek set as a modern interpretation of the Roman Forum. The Eternal City has long been Valentino's playground, a constant source of inspiration and perspective, and that was reflected in every aspect of this couture show.
Fall 2016 Couture
Chiuri certainly went out with a bang. Couture trousers — trousers! — mingled with riding boots and a slew of Shakespearean accoutrements to uphold a tasteful Elizabethan theme. The pounding "Romeo and Juliet" soundtrack — a classic of the brand's beloved Italy — was a lovely addition to an already unforgettable collection.