Rodolfo Paglialunga with Ginnifer Goodwin & Anna Wintour at the Vionnet party in April 2010
Yesterday evening, a chorus of ‘oh no!’ could be heard throughout Grazia HQ when the shocking news that Rodolfo Paglialunga has left Vionnet was revealed. Just days after the brand's glorious spring/summer 2012 show, a press release landed in our inboxes to say 'Vionnet Spa and Rodolfo Paglialunga have agreed by common consent to terminate their collaboration that initiated in January 2009 and relaunched successfully the House founded by Madeleine Vionnet in 1912.'
Let's take this opportunity to remember Paglialunga's finest work...
Vionnet's spring / summer 2012 show during Paris Fashion Week
We begin by rewinding to late 2009 when Grazia Daily was speaking to Paglialunga about his appointment as Vionnet’s new creative director. He was the man tasked with guiding the sleepy label into the next century and reviving its great legacy (no pressure then!), but could he step out from behind Madeleine’s shadow, we wondered? ‘The advantage is to work for one of the most fascinating names, and the disadvantage is the natural comparison people can make,’ the designer told us.
Hilary Swanky, Carey Mulligan & Rebecca Hall wear Vionnet on the red carpet
All doubts were put to rest when Paglialunga’s first collection stayed true to Vionnet’s aesthetic and instantly won a hoard of celebrity admirers. The first red carpet double whammy came when Carey Mulligan and Hilary Swank wore matching Resort 2010 frocks on the same night. It wasn't long before more of Hollywood's leading ladies - Rachel McAdams, Jessica Biel, Rebecca Hall, Marion Cotillard, to name but a few - followed suit by sporting more of that signature sculptural draping.
Madonna wears Vionnet at the Venice Film Festival
More recently, Madonna floored Fash Land when she glided into the Venice Film Festival channeling Wallis Simpson with an air of retro fabness thanks to Vionnet’s red butterfly embellished gown. And who could forget Diane Kruger at the Berlin Film Festival looking Grecian goddess-like in an ivory creponne silk dress from the spring/summer 2011 collection? Yep, thanks to Paglialunga, Vionnet was once again the label everyone was buzzing about.
Vionnet's spring / summer 2012 collection
Then we fell in love with the designer's tenth collection for the brand when it showed at Rue de Valois during Paris Fashion Week. For S/S ’12, Paglialunga returned to the Thirties – Madeleine Vionnet's heyday, no less – with bright frocks covered in painterly floral prints and naturallement, gorgeously draped column gowns. A white number was embroidered with bumblebees while a silver-sequined navy cocktail dress featured fluorescent piping. ‘Madeleine would've approved,’ raved Style.com.
Diane Kruger in Vionnet at the Berlin Film Festival
So what course will Vionnet take sans Paglialunga at the helm? Well, the French fashion house have already hired Barbara and Lucia Croce as its new creative directors who, according to Vionnet co-owner and chairman Matteo Marzotto, ’have strong personalities and they’ve worked in international contexts’. According to WWD, Barbara Croce has worked at Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci and Ralph Lauren, while her sister has worked at Valentino, Neil Barrett and Ter et Bantine so they’ve certainly got the right credentials. And as as Italian twin sisters, we’re already conjuring up Felder Felder and D-Squared comparisons.
We’ll have to wait until their first collection arrives for Pre-Fall 2012 to find out whether Vionnet’s prestige is set to stay...
Zoe Saldana, Jessica Biel & Rachel McAdams in Vionnet
- Jessica Vince