Valentino took its haute couture show on the road this week. Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli descended on New York to present a special haute couture collection they designed specifically to celebrate the opening of the biggest flagship store in the brand’s worldwide stable of shops, on the city’s famous Fifth Avenue.
This was the first time in the over fifty years history of the brand that the house has shown its couture creations in the United State and the duo did not disappoint. They even added an extra level of reverence and reference to the heritage of the brand. In a nod to founder Valentino Garavani’s famous White Collection of 1968, from which Jacqueline Kennedy chose her wedding gown to marry Aristotle Onassis, the designers created their own all white line up of one-of-a-kind creations.
When the maestro himself stood to kick off the standing ovation at the conclusion of last night’s show, it was clear that Chiuri and Piccioli had another success on their hands.
They had done many things right, most notably the second to the last exit of the show, a smock patterned in ivory with a high frilly collar and equally frilly half-sleeves completed only with full length pleated skirt, all done in the sheerest fabrication imaginable. And less we forget, the dress was embroidered in forget-me-nots. Embroidery and intricate details played a huge part in this collection. Seeing as the palette was so restrained. Dresses came down with orange flower and lily stand-ins, done in leather as well as a few stars. The finale look itself sported the words "Love NY" in bubble letters, scrawled all over it as an homage to the brand’s new home in the city.
That wasn't the only homage though. In the notes there was a Jackie O pleated muslin dress matched with a cashmere cape and even a 5th Avenue double silk suit. Cut beautifully, the suit is sure to find it's way into the closets of some of the 25 couples that were flown in for the show that comprise the brand's top customers. As will the accessories with their Constantin Brancusi inspired detailing.
The presentation was a one-off event and was bookended by a walkthrough of the Fornasetti Five Senses exhibit and a live music performance. The white floaty dresses, sometimes gauzy and sheer, other times sleek and minimal, seen by the likes of Ben Stiller, Peter Dundas, Calvin Klein, Katie Holmes, Tommy Hilfiger, Padma Lakshmi and Martha Stewart -- the latter of whom missed the first third of the looks as she scampered into her seat a little late -- will not be shown to the public again.
Rather the busy Valentino couture team will hit the road once again next year. The house will skip the official haute couture fashion week in Paris in the coming summer. Instead it will unveil its haute couture collection in Rome on July 10th. Once again to celebrate the opening of another flagship store, this time in the founder’s home city.