Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest Haute Couture exercise for Valentino was mind-blowing
Valentino Haute Couture
Getting a read on Pierpaolo Piccioli’s breathtaking yet complexing Valentino Haute Couture collection challenged the naked eye for the message it was meant to convey. A dive into the classics of couture? the exploration of the back as a focal point? the study of the bow? a treatise on the peplum and fishtail? From a “theme” standpoint it wasn’t crystal clear.
But then again, neither are our dreams and subconscious when we try to grasp what they looked like; we remember a feeling and an essence. Thankfully show notes read post-runway helped piece the mystery together. Haute Couture requires not one mind but several to come to fruition as it is a collective exercise of the leader, in this case, Piccioli and the team of artisans who craft the piece. In fact, the show notes listed each name of the artisan that worked on that particular garment. With so many minds working in the conscious and expressing their subconscious, it made sense of the array of styles, fabrics, colors and even hairstyles that made up the collection.
While aforementioned classics abounded, they were given wild imaginings primarily through accessories and styling – pops of red in gloves and cummerbunds with pockets employed a Hitchcock film visual tactic; a late 60s era socialite bouffant; squiggly lines and repetitive, clashing patterns; a cape filled with goldfish; splattered red dots; and kooky coral reef headpieces on a few looks.
Valentino signifiers were strong in this collection such as the ruffled blouses and slouch pants with waist bow sash or in fact, anything with the large taffeta bows looked particularly Valentino. In opposition to the stuff of dreams, those looks and others that appeared were less fantasy-based and more reality-based as simple cotton and wool constructed into half-shirts, turtleneck tailored jackets, and simple overcoats were transformed into couture by being paired with delicate laces and silk taffeta faille fabrics among others. Large leather satchels added to the real-life hint. As did a giant pink taffeta evening coat/cape with a “hoodie” worn by Kaia Gerber.
But the fantasy and stuff of dreams also abounded – Adut Akech’s last exit in a pink plume confection; Karen Elson’s black-less gown reminiscent of a night sky; a sheer crystal beaded gown trimmed in red come to mind. And jewelry lovers were transfixed by the long colorful feather earring that adorned most looks and became a part of the dress.
What’s going on inside anyone’s mind is anyone’s guess really. Especially when it comes to a creative, subjective matter. Getting a glimpse inside the collective dreams of Piccioli and his team within the atelier of Valentino was like a pleasant dream that you didn’t want to wake up from.