Sometimes breaking up is just the right thing to do. After more than a quarter century of working together, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri showed collections separately. She earlier at Dior and Piccioli today at Valentino, where the team had been together for 17 years. For both, any questions or doubts about their abilities to perform individually were solidly put to rest with their respective spring collections. Piccioli’s vision of Valentino remained intact, losing none of its romance and artistry.
While the details and embroideries of the 60 or so gowns he presented were stunningly beautiful, you can’t overlook the fundamental rightness of Piccioli’s more casual looks. The trench or black leather biker thrown nonchalantly over gowns, a hot pink sweater and white shirt with embellished pink pants or the ultra elegant and simple monotone dresses with architectural folds or deep necklines. The covered-up high-neck, long sleeve gowns gently puddled around the models’ feet, adorned in flat sandals…major impact.
But the modern Valentino code is one that is rich in narrative and detail, and while Piccioli is psychologically and physically moving beyond the past, he found inspiration in one of the all-time great stories: Creation. He collaborated with legendary designer Zandra Rhodes who interpreted motifs from Hieronymus Bosch’s famous triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights” from the late 1400s. Genesis, Adam and Eve, original sin, this is all heady stuff that was literally lightened up on ethereal gauzy dresses, gorgeous coats and pleated day dresses embroidered or beaded with versions of Bosch’s organic towers, swarming birds and animals both fantastical and real.
The color palette spoke to both innocence and a fall from grace—white, muted yellows and cheery pinks versus black and of course signature Valentino red. There was a deep range of silhouettes, some recalling the prudishness of the teens and 20s, others hinting at the sensuality of Renaissance frills, ruffles, huge amounts of material and sheerness.
Piccioli posted before the show, “The past is a delicate thing, it can keep you firmly rooted or it can push you to new horizons. I chose a new beginning.” A new beginning—and how. Fashion lovers who may have mourned the break-up of Piccioli and Grazia Chiuri are now elated that there is twice as much reason to get excited about what comes down the runway and into our wardrobes.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US