To this end, Valentino has teamed with Akoni and is launching its first three new designs in July.
“I am really happy to start this new partnership with the Akoni group because they will allow me to create the type of eyewear that can convey the excellence of their craftsmanship into a more ‘couturish’ environment,” said the creative director of Valentino.
“One of the most intriguing challenges that I can face, as a designer, is to think of something so ‘universal’ as a pair of sunglasses and make it extraordinary and this is possible only when you can rely on refined artisans and people who understand how important details are, and whose knowledge is always pushed far by curiosity and need for improvement,” Piccioli explained.
As reported in December, the Rome-based house signed a new 10-year license with the Switzerland-based eyewear group for the design, manufacture and worldwide distribution of Valentino’s eyewear collections.
The models are named after the numbers of the three storied Valentino headquarters: VIII — since eight is the number of the building on Place Vendôme in Paris; XVI because 16 is the street number of Milan’s offices in Via Turati, and XXII since 22 is the address at Piazza Mignanelli in Rome.
The eyewear is produced entirely in Japan.
“This first collection aims to reinterpret three classic models with an exquisite and contemporary approach because we wanted to show what ‘couture eyewear’ can be, and how fundamental is the freedom for experimentation in all aspects of our brand,” said Piccioli.
The luxury capsule, identified by Valentino’s signature studs or V-logo, will be available in 10 colorways. The second launch will offer six additional styles and will be unveiled in October.
The distribution will be more exclusive compared with the past. The collection will be available from July in around 100 directly operated Valentino boutiques, at more than 25 doors, on Valentino.com and through exclusive eyewear retailers worldwide.
In October it will be rolled out in 80 doors.
The collection will be available in the U.S.; Europe (U.K., Italy, France and Greece); the Middle East; Greater China (only in Valentino directly operated stores); Brazil; Southeast Asia; Korea, and Japan.
Valentino XXII is an homage to Piccioli’s own personal frames as a modern interpretation of the retro ‘60s Wellington shape. It is available in solid black, brown tortoise and mid-honey tortoise. The style features a sculpted 8-mm thick front that maximizes its volume. Recognizable 3D Valentino rockstuds are placed on the front, temples, temple tips, five-barrel hinges and custom wire core.
Valentino XVI is an oversize ‘80s-inspired aviator shape with multicolor gradient and curve retro sun lenses, embellished with 3D rockstuds on the bridge, brow bar, temples, and temple tips completely made in Japanese titanium.
Valentino VIII is a feminine, combined titanium and acetate cat-eye shape. The ‘50s retro mood is tempered with a more modern and timeless flair. The 3D rockstuds appear here on the top and front of the bridge, progressive twisted temples, extruded stud temple tips and custom hinges. The style is available in color combinations including black, clear brown and crystal bordeaux.
Akoni unveiled an eyewear line for Balmain last year. Since 2017, Luxottica Group had been Valentino’s previous eyewear licensee.
Valentino’s chief executive officer Jacopo Venturini has been carrying out a repositioning of the brand, further elevating its couture status and last year returning the company to the black and to 2019 sales levels, phasing out the Valentino Red line, streamlining its wholesale accounts and reducing markdowns. Accessories last year represented 66 percent of revenues and Venturini said the company has been working on the brand’s pillars, such as the stud, and raising the positioning of the bags. Sales in 2021 amounted to 1.23 billion euros, up 39.6 percent compared with the previous year.