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Is fashion's quiet luxury era over?

The chairperson of Valentino says affluent consumers will soon want bold designs again

From Valentino's men's fashion week showcase in Milan on 16 June 2023(REUTERS)

By Bloomberg

LAST PUBLISHED 23.04.2024  |  05:00 PM IST

The fashion industry’s era of so-called quiet luxury is over and affluent consumers will want bold designs again, the chairman of Valentino has predicted.

Rachid Mohamed Rachid said it will be “a new chapter" for Valentino after the Italian fashion house hired Alessandro Michele as its creative director last month.

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Michele, Gucci’s former star designer, is known for his flamboyant and bohemian-chic designs, a sign that Valentino might move away from the minimalist and monochrome styles of his predecessor Pierpaolo Piccioli, who’s more associated with the “quiet luxury" trend that became popular after the pandemic.

“We know that in the last few years, there has been quiet luxury prevailing," Rachid said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “My guess, like many others in fashion: this is going to be over."

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He said colors and bold designs will “come back with force and we are getting ready for that."

Piccioli’s collections created buzz for their elegance and single-coloured focus. Two years ago, the label unveiled an autumn and winter collection where all pieces were bright pink. At his last Paris Fashion Week show last month, Piccioli unveiled more than 60 looks with models donning only black pieces, with variations between embroidered and sheer lace dresses.

Valentino surprised the fashion world when it recruited Michele. Under his direction, Gucci sales almost tripled between 2015 and 2019 as his designs attracted younger generations and the company collaborated with other brands such as Adidas AG.

But when covid-19 hit, sales at Gucci failed to keep up with its biggest rivals such as Louis Vuitton, and parent company Kering SA parted ways with the designer in late 2022.

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Valentino is controlled by Qatar’s Mayhoola, but sold a 30% stake to Kering last year. 

Rachid said conditions remain tough for luxury goods. “This year started with an expectation that the luxury markets will grow between 2% to 4%," he said. “My personal feeling is that it will be much less than that—probably it will be flat. The reality is that Europe, the US is still very flat at the moment and China is still weak."

Still, he said there are signs that a Chinese recovery could take hold in the second half of the year.

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