Review of Valentino spring 2021 fashion show

Review of Valentino

Spring 2021 Fashion Show


Review of Valentino Spring 2021 Fashion Show

The Master of the Emotions

By Long Nguyen

Pierpaolo Piccioli made it all look and feel so easy and effortless – the suave live singing performance, the vast industrial site sparsely decorated with specially arranged flowers and the models’ casual nonchalant walk, each of them taking their time to navigate around each turns and never once in a rush, all appearing so comfortable in the clothes they were showcasing it was if they owned them. This tempo set up a mood for a Valentino show that stirred the emotion rather than the intellect.  

As the singer-songwriter Labrinth performed throughout the entire special Milano collection show with a song he wrote specially for the show entitled ‘All For Us,’ the smooth melody echoed the simple gestures of the clothes that were quintessential Valentino. The collection was expressed in a very light handed fashion – white and black lace blouses and short sleeveless dress, orange floral lace sweater and white lace knit skirt, and exquisite cape dress in red large flower print silk. Sculptural and fluid shapes with extra long and extra short lines pervaded the silhouettes of this collection and a show that reflected a more tranquil and low key live show with social distanced guests sitting on wooden rectangular tubes.  

“Re-signification, signs and codes updated and reimagined. New Womens’ and Men’s collection, the history of the Maison is presented in dialogue with the creative director’s modern sensibilities, here and now,” was how Valentino’s Instagram characterized the show.  

Review of Valentino spring 2021 fashion show

The buoyant colors and some of the oversized shapes in the collection encompassed Piccioli’s haute couture sensibilities engendered in the clothes here like the long flared forest green and red flower print long sleeve shirt dress or the floral polo tunic tucked into a long floral skirt with solid brown trims that reminisced those giant couture dresses shown in July 2019 for that fall’s couture season. Opposite these simple opulent looks were modern slim shape sportswear style like the opening look of a slim spaghetti strap or sleeveless sheath black wool short dress paired with a matching shorts underneath and a pair of black leather sandals embellished with golden brass metal spikes. The brown wool cape coat paired with a short was one strong highlight of this distillation of the couture spirit to the ready to wear clothes.

The fluid and easy shapes of the menswear – lightly black boxy sports jacket worn with slender shorts, a brown oversized blouson and flat front pants, or a brown easy one-button pantsuit – was part of much stronger looks for the menswear today than in recent seasons that vacillated between logo mania and street sportswear with inserted moments of traditional suiting. Here the balance was better and smoother between the sporty floral matching shirt/short looks to the casualness of a large white cotton shirt over brown linen pants to the all floral shirt/pant ‘suit’.  

Review of Valentino spring 2021 fashion show

The fluid and easy shapes of the menswear – lightly black boxy sports jacket worn with slender shorts, a brown oversized blouson and flat front pants, or a brown easy one-button pantsuit – was part of much stronger looks for the menswear today than in recent seasons that vacillated between logo mania and street sportswear with inserted moments of traditional suiting. Here the balance was better and smoother between the sporty floral matching shirt/short looks to the casualness of a large white cotton shirt over brown linen pants to the all floral shirt/pant ‘suit’.  

Within the vast industrial open space of the metallurgy manufacturer Fonderia Macchi Carlo where the Japanese master plant artist Satoshi Kawamoto installed various small trees with green branches and leaves that embraced the concrete columns providing a serene view of the plant’s vitality placed against the barren dark grey columns and beams, even the evening dresses like a bright yellow chiffon floral dress or a deep orange or red ruffles chiffon gowns felt lively yet restrained perhaps in a way that correspond to the new reality but that did not mean having to succumb completely to crisis like the one today. 

If Kawamoto’s life mission is to transform the way people interpret and relate to plants and interior spaces and in a way to al their living environment with greenery, then Piccioli’s mission has to be to transform the way people relate to clothes, giving the wearer an emotional attachment to his garments. The process of fashion and the procedures of fashion design say about deconstruction never showed up in any of Piccioli’s collections or were they ever left any visible marks on his clothes. The designer is not one to look backward but the past of this Roman house’s heritage helped to imaging how to sculpt his current thinking and the resulting new silhouettes for today’s consumers. 

Review of Valentino spring 2021 fashion show

The collaboration with Levi’s saw a new unisex version of the 517 boot cut jeans launched in 1969 thus giving this classic symbols of a by gone era that symbolized then the struggle for individualism and self-expression a new footing today in the language of clothes. These new 517 washed blue jeans will feature a special joint Levi’s-Valentino label were shown with soft black or nude chiffon peasant blouse or with a black jacket and white perforated shirt for the guys. It is also a way to speak to younger consumers by offering a familiar product but in a different manifestation.

One of the major impediments in not seeing the show live is that there’s always this tremendous energy inside the show venue usually for the women’s show in a white tent built near the grounds of the Invalides. It’s hard to tell the reaction of the more subdued crowd today as the rules of social distancing forbid any interactions. But all Valentino shows that I have ever seen, then and now, draw on emotions – you feel it or you don’t. One of the highlights of the old days for me was the 45th Anniversary show in Rome in July 2007 where the outburst of emotional tributes were because I realized the brand only strive on stirring this emotional attachment with its audience and with its customers. 

Feeling fashion is what Valentino is all about. 

Review of Valentino spring 2021 fashion show

Obviously, the clothes are made superbly as they naturally have to be for this house thus articulating endless on craftsmanship should not be a priority here. But connecting the customers’ to the house aesthetics through clothes and through perhaps conversations definitely are essential especially now. Prior to the show’s online start time at the house e-commerce site, an image of two models holding hand written signs written on white papers with the word STRENGTH and KINDNESS in capital letters. There were no other teasers on the site the morning prior to the live streaming.

All of these are all part of an all around charm campaign offensive – show, clothes, words, charity – to create and connect people together in the new Valentino community much in the same way Valentino Garavani did in his own ways for decades when he was Valentino the man and Valentino the brand. 

A few months before the brand ran a global campaign – Empathy – espousing for tolerance, diversity and inclusion where all the talents who participated donated their earnings to promote the Rose Edition 03 Atelier bag to the Italian hospital Lazzaro Spallanzani in Rome fighting the pandemic. Adut Akech, Gwyneth Paltrow, Janet Mock, and Liu Wen all contributed nearly one million euro to help the hospital dealing with the crisis. In the campaign, the Valentino brand showed how words actually mattered. There was also the ‘Belleza Dictionary’ by Valentino Beauty that provided meanings to the word beauty not just in cosmetic terms.  

Now, it is Piccioli’s mission to carry on for the house of Valentino not only to create great shows and clothes but also the accouterments of a Valentino community and that’s means also using words.