PFW AW14: Valentino

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have been at the helm of the Valentino label for five years now, with admirable success. The rejuvenation of the brand, their meticulously researched and executed collections have created a new legion of admirers while engaging loyal fans – their immense talent has influenced a wealth of designers. The heavily embroidered SS14 show was an inspiration to many collections presented this season – notably in some of our most prominent London designers – a subversion of the rules perhaps? Certainly proof that these Italians are doing certain things better.



This house takes great pride in its roots. Following on from a triumphant couture collection inspired by the Roman Opera, Chiuri and Piccioli turned to the women of the late-sixties Roman art scene; Carol Rama, Carla Accardi and Giosetta Fioroni, the only female members of the Scuola di Piazza del Popolo, or Italian Pop Art

Women as artists at that time was a subversive concept and this inspired the designers to do some rule-breaking of their own. The show opened; gone was the romance of previous collections, instead zingy graphic florals popped against the stark white of the catwalk. Though bold and new, they were still recognisably Valentino.



The modish-60s flavour sat well with the signature concepts the duo have brought to the house. Embroidered tulle gowns, shirt dresses, and a plethora of ultimately desirable capes – from butterfly festooned to double-faced cashmere that could be pinned back to create multiple looks – showed alongside simultaneously chunky yet featherlight cardigan coats and midi skirts; the multi-clouded harlequin execution felt excitingly new.

Eveningwear is hugely important to this house and naturally shows off the couture-quality work that is done here. The afore mentioned butterflies –previously showcased in the couture collections – fluttered over dresses and brought with them exquisite roses and birds. Here the house’s romance married perfectly with the collection’s inspiration. The final dress, navy tulle embroidered with a – Valentino – red heart on the chest with falling stars on the skirt, was a motif taken from Giosetta Fioroni. Proof perhaps of the design duo’s love of the house and that their Roman roots are the life-force of such a historic brand.

 by Marie-Louise von Haselberg

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