Even though their Los Angeles trip was only 48 hours long, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli got face time with a slew of celebrities and stylists who filed into Valentino’s new Rodeo Drive boutique for Tuesday afternoon fittings and the cocktail party that night.

This story first appeared in the March 30, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Fashion is so personal, so we love that this new store feels like a modern palazzo, where one can take their time to enjoy the clothes,” said Chiuri.

“We’ve worked hard to weave the past with our own style, to make it something modern with an edge,” said Piccioli.

The duo delight in the unexpected, such as pairing the animal prints of their 50th anniversary collection with flesh-colored lace. “One would expect animal print to be wild and aggressive, yet we gave it a quiet and feminine touch,” he said.

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As for what’s next, Piccioli said, “It will be about couture separates and taking that one special item and making it personal.”

Amidst their whirlwind of store openings in Shanghai and ad campaign shoots in Mexico, both make time for personal travel during their children’s school vacations — Brazil for Chiuri and Istanbul for Piccioli. “It’s really nice to explore and enjoy other places just for fun,” she said.

There was also time for Piccioli to squeeze in a jog by the beach in Santa Monica. “I want to smell the ocean. It’s typical California for me.” As for rest, “We can sleep on the plane.”

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