Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli are in the fashion sweet spot.
Just like Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, they spent years working alongside the brand’s namesake designer before finally taking up the top post at the house. Both brands have benefited greatly by promoting from within. The designers know the codes of the house like the back of their hands. But they see them with new eyes. They can conform the designs with their own history and personal experiences to create something innovative and exciting without alienating fans of the brand.
This season the designer duo turned to their hometown of Rome for inspiration. Looking at the photographic work of Roman Arturo Ghergo who snapped the biggest names in Italian cinema- and society- during the 1940s. His glamorous shooting style made every woman who posed for him look like an ideal version of themselves.
With this collection, the designers have done exactly the same thing. It would be impossible to imagine any woman not looking and feeling like a movie star in every single look that wend down the cobblestone-like catwalk.
But this was not a collection about red carpet dressing. Although any one of the long evening gowns- from the reserved looking version in Valentino red that revealed a nude back when the model turned on the catwalk, to the final all white option that used a nude base to make it look like blooms where delicately enveloping the body- would win raves from the Hollywood fashion police.
No, this show, with its sweet dresses painted with a dandelion motif, slip dresses that came with graphic slits judiciously inserted and those that featured bib fronts covered in lace, was about making everyday outfits exceptional.
And to make sure that the show didn’t become too sugar sweet, the designers added just the right amount of sensuality into the line up. This came in the form of a plastic studded raincoat and a pleated organza dress which was spiced up with strips of snakeskin bonded to the pleats.
It was a terrific show that perfectly encapsulated the past of the Valentino brand but showed that these designers have their sights set on its future.
- Jessica Michault