Break-ups are never easy, but last year we saw the demise of what seemed like fashion’s perfect power duo: Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Across three decades, they’d conjured creative magic, starting as part of the Fendi design team behind the world’s first modern It-bag (the Baguette). They then spent 17 years at Valentino, eight years as co-creative directors. The pair served up countless landmark accessories and award-winning fashion collections (refer to exhibit A: the Valentino Rockstuds worn by every street style star at least once over the past several years).

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Then news broke that Chiuri – she of the occasional pink hair and statement red carpet outfits – was leaving Piccioli behind in Italy to front Valentino solo while she migrated to Paris to helm Christian Dior, becoming the first woman to follow in the footsteps of Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano and Raf Simons. (In a fashion industry context, their split was akin to Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana going separate ways to head up rival fashion brands.)

Valentino SS17

All eyes were on their Spring 2017 runway shows. Both debuts were branded independent triumphs. Quiet achiever Piccioli presented a flawless collection of exquisite pieces that summed up his vision for Valentino. Chiuri on the other hand, chose sportswear – starting with a fencing theme – to stamp a modern twist on elegant pieces. Think ’50s-style ball gowns featuring straps with logos, widely seen on the red carpet since.

Dior SS17

The dream team might have split, but the break-up leaves us tempted by twice as many fashion delicacies. Choose your new high style tribe: Chiuri’s Dior or Piccioli’s Valentino.


Dior v Valentino: Chiuri’s pieces on the left are in retail battle with good friend and former Piccioli’s on the right
Credits: Sevak Babakhani (photography), Dane Stojanovic (art direction)

On the left: Team Chiuri for Dior
CHRISTIAN DIOR, Quilted vest, $2900.  SHOP IN STORE
CHRISTIAN DIOR, Cotton crop pants, $1100. SHOP IN STORE
CHRISTIAN DIOR, wool jacket, $5100. SHOP IN STORE
CHRISTIAN DIOR, black pleated and dotted tulle skirt, $5000. SHOP in store
CHRISTIAN DIOR, J’ador handbag, $4400. SHOP in store
CHRISTIAN DIOR, sneaker boots, $1750. SHOP in store
CHRISTIAN DIOR, Slingback pumps, $1200. SHOP in store

On the right: team Pierpaolo for Valentino
Valentino, Romantic flowers skirt, $2535. SHOP NOW
Valentino, Strapless jumpsuit, $4145. SHOP similar
Valentino, rockstud crossbody pouch bag, $1195. SHOP NOW
Valentino, watersnake chunky sandals, $1615. SHOP NOW
Valentino, open sneaker, $745 at Parlour X. SHOP NOW
Valentino, White shirt, $1499. SHOP in store
Valentino, backpack, $2999. SHOP similar
Valentino, Gold skirt, $7499. SHOP similar

Shop the props:
FIFTY5 PARROTS, Lowline armchair, $690. SHOP NOW
INARTISAN, Ira rattan coffee table, $490. SHOP NOW
INARTISAN, Diia rattan armchair, $590. SHOP NOW
DESIGN TWINS, Cowhide rugs in Champagne, $699 each. SHOP similar