Designer Chiuri quits Italian label Valentino, eyes Dior

By Fiachra Gibbons In Paris Agence France Presse ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-07-16 07:39:26

Designer Chiuri quits Italian label Valentino, eyes Dior

Valentino's designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli acknowledge the audience at the end of the 2016-2017 fall/winter haute couture collection fashion show on July 6 in Paris. [Photo by Bertrand Guay/AFP]

Designer Maria Grazia Chiuri left the Italian label Valentino on last Thursday, clearing the way for her to be named the first-ever women to lead Dior.

Chiuri had presented her last collection for Valentino only the night before, taking the bow at its Paris haute couture show with her long-time creative partner Pierpaolo Piccioli.

"I have shared with Pierpaolo a great part of my professional life," she said in a statement.

"I am ready to embark on a new professional challenge."

Dior refused to comment on whether the 52-year-old had been lined up to follow in the footsteps of the house's legendary founder Christian Dior and such designers as Yves Saint Laurent, Gianfranco Ferre and John Galliano.

But sources told AFP that a announcement is likely to be made on last Friday.

Dior has been without a leader since the shock departure of the Belgian Raf Simons last October, which sparked soul-searching in the industry about the pressure creators were now under.

Valentino said Piccioli would now take sole charge of its label.

Chiuri and Piccioli are credited with giving Valentino back its fizz, making it one of the most profitable designer brands in Europe.

They have quadrupled its turnover in seven years, turning Valentino into a billion-euro brand, with business up a staggering 48 percent in 2015, and double-digit growth also predicted this year.

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