Relax. That is the message of the spring/summer 2015 menswear season. But at Valentino, dressing in a relaxed way does not mean one iota drop of refinement.
With Ansel Elgort, Seth Myers and newlyweds Eros Ramazzotti and Marica Pellegrinelli sitting in the front row, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli successfully produced a collection that was all about cultivating a nonchalant elegance.
This was best expressed in the roomy silhouettes in the show: boxy tops, loose sweaters, and wide cut trousers. Much of it covered in a variety of botanical and bestiary prints. The combination of which gave the garments a serious loungewear vibe.
Then in a "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" move the designers chose to incorporate a number of emblematic features of past haute couture and womenswear shows into the collection. Meaning colorfully embroidered butterflies, cabinet du curiosity jacquards, and intricate leather appliqué motifs that gave a twist on the whole "peacock male" by featuring the bird on the backs of jackets.
But by using kaki army uniforms as the foundation on which many of the embellishments were implemented, the designers were able to dilute the femininity of the ornamentation. And camouflage returned to the Valentino catwalk. It's masculine roots also helped to balance out the highly decorative pieces.
With all the prints, patterns, and ornamentation on display this collection might have been about ease and relaxation but it was just as much about being noticed and admired. Peacock males indeed.