Valentino Menswear Fall Winter 2013 Paris
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The rush backstage after the Valentino menswear show by journalists keen on getting a look at designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli mood board for a visual glimpse into their shared sartorial psyche was rather impressive. And so was the board. Black and white images of David Bowie, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, and Sean Connery à la James Bond, all in their creative prime in the 1960s, were plastered on a massive backboard. It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise for those who had just watched the show, which was saturated with a Savile Row style.

But the collection was about much more then just the iconic British way of dressing, with familiar patterned fabrics of black watch tartan, houndstooth and Prince of Wales checks cut on tailored slim suits. The designers dug deeper than that. They sought out the links between the custom suits created by Savile Row tailors to their own Italian passion for using couture techniques in all of their collections.

“It’s a cocktail of the two cultures,” said Maria Grazia Chiuri “We really believe that before men went in two different ways, traditional or really fashion. I believe that now the new man is between the two worlds. He knows and appreciates traditional craftsmanship but at the same time he wants something that is made in a modern way.”

The show’s fetish garment, the cape, best illustrated how the designers tried to merge the two worlds together. Crafted out of classic stiff fabrics Chiuri and Piccioli (who himself is no stranger to wearing a cape or two) gave them a modern vitality by heat bonding a band of black leather along the waist. Other clever combinations of suave 60s style and modern science could be seen in how the duo layered fabrics to create a black camouflage motif jacket (the designers just launched a capsule collection dedicated to the military garb) or the way fur was used to mimic an intarsia pattern on a sweater.

If the worlds of traditional dress and contemporary design driven fashions are starting to collide, with this collection, the Valentino brand showed how that smash up can produce some seriously sophisticated styles.

- 
Jessica Michault

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