It’s kind of a new Renaissance.”Pierpaolo Piccioli and his co-creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri have thrust Valentino into a renaissance of its own, making it one of the hottest, most watched brands in all of fashion. The couture collection they showed in Rome’s Piazza Mignanelli, home to the Valentino headquarters and new store, brought new depth to their range and reputation. It was exquisite.The designers wanted to share their vision of their beloved native city, which they find inspirational. “Rome is the place where we bring a lot of inspiration,” Chiuri said, adding that even if you’re Roman, “you can open a door or you can go inside in a corner and find something you’ve never made in your life.”The two spoke during a preview earlier in the week in Paris, where they went to do fittings because of the models’ schedules. The layering of disparate elements keeps their very romantic work from turning sweet. They designed in a very dark mood, literally: it was mostly black .There were monastic and pagan elements and moments of utter sobriety countered by sensual expression. Some looks intricate workings of tulle, point d’esprit and lace, others vividly representational. I fell in love with a gown appliquéd with a giant eagle. There was a cape with arched insets resembling and sheer dress with an image of a fierce lion.Color came in the deep reds and greens of Roman flooring and tiles, and in vibrant gold, including a beauty of a warrior look in embellished gold leather strips on black tulle.