The conundrum every designer faces when they take over a venerable, beloved fashion house is how to respect its history while also molding their own vision. In my last article I spoke of Yiqing Yin at Poiret—a young Chinese couturier charged with resurrecting the long-dead fashion house of Paul Poiret. In that case, while Poiret is still highly regarded and discussed in fashion history, the broader public is mostly unaware of the name and legacy, which allows Yin a greater flexibility to create her own imprint. Profoundly different is taking over a fashion house that is not only still going strong, but whose founder is still alive. Such is the remarkable task Pierpaolo Piccioli has taken on at Valentino—first alongside his long-time creative partner Maria Grazia Chiuri, and now solo. From anonymity to Instyle’s “Designer of the Year” in less than a decade, Piccioli has uniquely placed his innovative approach to a heritage brand at the center of fashion.

Follow Laura on instagram here.