MILAN — Pierpaolo Piccioli aims to elevate the eyewear category to the rank of couture positioning in line with the standing of the Valentino brand.
To that end, Valentino has teamed up with Akoni and is launching its first three new models 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 transmit the excellence of their know-how in a more ‘couture’ environment”, declared the creative director of Valentino.
“One of the most intriguing challenges I can face as a designer is to think of something as ‘universal’ as a pair of sunglasses and make it extraordinary and that’s not only possible when you can count on fine craftsmen and people who understand how important details are and whose knowledge is always pushed far by curiosity and the need for improvement,” explained Piccioli.
As announced in December, the Rome-based house signed a new 10-year license with the Swiss-based eyewear group for the design, manufacture and global distribution of Valentino eyewear collections.
The models are named after the numbers of the three-storey Valentino headquarters: VIII — since eight is the number of the building on Place Vendôme in Paris; XVI because 16 is the street number of the Milan offices in Via Turati, and XXII because 22 is the address of Piazza Mignanelli in Rome.
The glasses are entirely produced 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 the freedom of experimentation in all aspects of our brand is” , said Piccioli.
The luxury capsule, identified by Valentino’s iconic studs or V-logo, will be available in 10 colorways. The second launch will feature six additional styles and will be unveiled in October.
The distribution will be more exclusive compared to the past. The collection will be available from July in around 100 directly operated Valentino boutiques, more than 25 doors, on Valentino.com and through exclusive eyewear retailers worldwide.
In October, it will be rolled out to 80 gates.
The collection will be available in the United States; Europe (United Kingdom, Italy, France and Greece); Middle East; Greater China (only in stores managed directly by Valentino); Brazil; South East Asia; Korea and Japan.
Valentino XXII is a tribute to Piccioli’s personal frames as a modern take on the retro 60s Wellington shape. It comes in solid black, brown tortoiseshell and mid-honey tortoiseshell. The style features an 8mm thick sculpted faceplate that maximizes its volume. Recognizable Valentino 3D studs are placed on the front, temples, temple tips, five-barrel hinges and custom metal core.
Valentino XVI is an ’80s-inspired oversized aviator shape with retro curved and multi-colored gradient sun lenses, embellished with 3D studs on the full Japanese titanium bridge, brow bar, temples and temple tips.
Valentino VIII is a feminine cat-eye shape combining titanium and acetate. The retro 50s vibe is tempered with a more modern and timeless twist. 3D rockstuds appear here on the top and front of the bridge, progressive twist temples, extruded stud temple ends, and custom hinges. The style is available in color combinations including black, tan, and crystal burgundy.
Akoni unveiled a line of eyewear for Balmain last year. Since 2017, the Luxottica group was Valentino’s previous eyewear licensee.
Valentino CEO Jacopo Venturini has repositioned the brand, further elevating its couture status and bringing the company back to black and 2019 sales levels last year, phasing out the Valentino Red line, streamlining its wholesale accounts and reducing markdowns. . Last year, accessories accounted for 66% of revenue and Venturini said the company worked on brand pillars, such as the nail, and improved bag positioning. Sales in 2021 amounted to 1.23 billion euros, up 39.6% compared to the previous year.