Valentino’s last couture collection was an example of true decadence. Set in a gilded galleria, presenting gilded gowns, gilded nine-inch heels, and even gilded visages, the opulence was overt. In stark contrast, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s fall offerings are subdued. The designer opted for a quieter runway, whispering in sweet nothings. In many ways, Piccioli aimed to tap into not only what we collectively need as consumers of fashion, but what we miss as a society: Culture.
An homage to the city of Milan, the show was staged at the Piccolo Theatre, an ambassador of the country’s rich relationship to Italian theater. With lockdowns of public spaces occurring worldwide, choosing to reopen the theater to present Valentino’s audience-less runway serves as a hopeful reminder of the arts we hope to enjoy once the pandemic abates. As stated in its press release, Valentino sees it as “a bold, almost punk gesture,” to choose the venue. Given Valentino’s signature rockstuds, the alternative choice makes sense.
We’ve become accustomed to Piccioli’s penchant for vibrant fuchsia and the house’s iconic Valentino red, but this collection’s monochromatic color scheme invited us to a new sense of intimacy. The clothes presented a game of transparency, heavily featuring laser cut textiles and sheer washes of lace, shielding and exposing the body simultaneously. It’s a leggy runway, exacerbated by slashed, micro hemlines and a welcome return to pointy stilettos. Intentional layering and crisp silhouettes make his vision clear. Not a collar feels out of place. It’s a refreshing palette cleanser that encourages us to reflect on the details, about which there is much to think.