For turning a storied fashion house into a $1 billion juggernaut
Since taking Valentino’s reins in 2008, Pierpaolo Piccioli and co-creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri have reinvigorated the Rome-based brand, which has quadrupled profits under their watch (with IPO rumors flying). Their strategy relies on careful balance—spiky metal studs and soft-edged elegance; love for the past and a vision for the future. Alumni of Rome's celebrated IED (Istituto Europeo di Design), Chiuri and Piccioli have worked together since the late 1980s, when she recruited him to join her on the accessory-design team at Fendi. They were poached by Valentino in 1999, where, over the next several years, they oversaw a revamp of—and subsequent huge growth in—the brand's accessories collections, notably handbags, shoes, and eyewear.