The cafe terrace became Paris’ highest symbol of liberation this year. Freedom and return to normalcy came to be measured subconsciously by the tables and chairs that were laid out (or not). This sense of anticipation for the simple quotidian was recreated for Valentino’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection. Guests to the show were seated in rows of cafe chairs, complete with bistro tables inside of the Carreau du Temple — where the runway was created — as well as along real cafe terraces nearby. And this was the beginning of a link made between the two extremes of the Valentino fantasy and the realness of the streets.
One of the most casual collections from creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli so far, the wearability was underpinned by the slouchy blue jeans and the omnipresent crisp white shirt. The latter also morphed into other colours, fabrics and silhouettes. Taffeta was plucked from its haute couture offering and applied to playful off-the-shoulder blouses and slouchy shirts that also doubled as mini-dresses. There were also bermuda shorts and matching shirts, and relaxed jackets for both men and women. The lines between feminine and masculine were blurred, as men and women were dressed in the same pieces — rendered in flamboyant colours, graphic floral prints and broderie anglaise — styled in the same way.
Piccioli also connected the past with the present, reimagining iconic looks from the house’s archives. The opening look, a white dress decorated with delicate white flower applique, was a replica of the one worn by Marisa Berenson in 1968. In its 2021 revision, the dress was given a rock n roll edge when paired with black boots and a thick gold chain necklace. Elsewhere, a floor length tiger print coat was the spitting image of its 1967 predecessor, worn by German model Veruschka, and two floral dresses that followed each other on the runway were re-editions of those photographed by Chris von Wangenheim in 1971.
For the finale, the models walked right out of the show venue and onto the Parisian street, giving bystanders to see the collection up close and personal.