On paper, the names Zandra Rhodes and Valentino do not immediately appear analogous: the former, a punk pioneer who champions liberal self-expression, the latter, a fashion house renowned for the intricate refinement of its Italian ateliers. But, as Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli explains, Rhodes’ seismic contribution to the 70s wave of British design reverberated across the continent, and is now resonating with his vision for the house. “With Zandra, punk is the key word of course,” Piccioli says, “but what I like about ‘punkness’ is its compulsive necessity for freedom, the subversive attitude versus the status quo.”
And such freedom was the defining quality of his inaugural solo collection for Valentino, where diaphanous silhouettes and fluid femininity were printed with Rhodes’ surreal reinterpretation of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. The unison was exceptionally impactful – and its execution remarkable: intarsia pieces were woven with Rhodes’ whimsical designs on a warping machine designed by Leonardo da Vinci (only one fabric manufacturer, Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua in Venice, still owns such technology), thus completing the collection’s graceful oscillation through formerly isolated eras. “For me, everything is about emotion,” Piccioli says. “Emotion is the only way to connect the path.”
This article originally appeared in AnOther Magazine S/S17.