Red Valentino Taps Into Brand’s Dreamy Side

Diffusion line features a specific and defined individual identity.

The Red Valentino pop-up greenhouse in Milan.

In 2003, when Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, then accessories directors, launched a younger diffusion line, they paid tribute to the house’s signature color and called the collection Red Valentino.

This story first appeared in the October 15, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Despite the red theme obviously connecting the lower-priced line with the designer range — they are both well anchored in an idea of elegant, sophisticated femininity — Red Valentino features a specific and defined individual identity.

Chiuri and Piccioli imbue the Red Valentino collections with a dreamy atmosphere, designing girly clothes embellished with frills, ruffles and romantic patterns.

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“Red reflects the most playful part of the Valentino world,” Chiuri said. “It’s the part linked to a fairy-inspired imaginary [place]…mixing fantasy and reality.”

Previously licensed to Sinv SpA, Valentino brought the line’s production in-house in 2009 to boost the expansion of the brand, which Valentino chief executive officer Stefano Sassi defined an “important driver of profitability and growth over the years.” 

Red Valentino, which is available in 89 point of sales worldwide, accounts 20 percent of the company’s overall volume.

The lion’s share of international sales comes from Europe, but the line is well distributed worldwide. In 2011, the company opened a 2,475-square-foot flagship in Tokyo’s trendy Aoyama neighborhood. A boutique is located on the ground floor, while the second level holds a showroom and event space that’s connected to a rooftop terrace.

Red Valentino also counts flagships in Cannes, France, and in Rome, and is available at department stores including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, Isetan and La Rinascente. The company is also set to open two more Red Valentino freestanding stores, in Milan and in São Paulo, Brazil.

“Red Valentino is performing well,” said Tiziana Cardini, fashion director at La Rinascente. “Maria Grazia and Pierpaolo succeeded in translating the image of the Valentino brand into a young, contemporary line.”

In 2011, Valentino also promoted its diffusion label, opening a series of pop-up stores in several cities, such as Florence and Taormina in Italy, Saint-Tropez in France and Knokke in Belgium. During spring 2012 fashion week, the company opened a temporary store in Milan’s Piazza San Babila, which for six days hosted the Red Valentino greenhouse. In a fairy-inspired, botanical scenario, the label showcased and sold an exclusive fall collection designed just for the occasion, comprising princesslike tulle skirts, velvet shorts and frocks embellished with flowers and butterflies.

At the same time, to give a spin to Red Valentino image, Chiuri and Piccioli tapped Tim Walker to shoot its fall 2011 ad campaign, shot in the dramatic setting of Copped Hall, a Georgian mansion in Southern England. 

The London-based photographer, who is currently on his third campaign for the brand, injected a fantastical, dreamy mood into the pictures, which embody the its fresh, romantic spirit.