PFWM AW19: Valentino

WITNESS collaborations of intergalactic proportions as Valentino’s AW19 collection lands at Paris Fashion Week Mens.

“Here, I have discovered that no innovation can exist without a profound knowledge of tradition,” mused Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli when speaking about his vision for the future of the fashion house. This sentiment is woven through each and every seam of this collection, as Piccioli uses the reputation of sophistication associated with Maison Valentino to collaborate with brands that transpose these perceptions, creating a truly innovative future for menswear under his reign.

Juxtapositions working in harmony reverberated throughout the show, starting with the the setting. A contemporary curved hall composed of exposed bricks, glossy grey flooring and a sky-high ceiling filled with the majestic, rich sound of Beethoven’s Symphony 9 in its second movement, first composed in 1824. This dichotomous but harmonious pairing of old and new marks only the beginning of the antagonistic collaborations that reveal themselves to work beautifully together as part of Valentino’s AW19 collection.

Immaculately tailored flowing coats of clean black and cool-toned beige and brown predominate the runway looks, maintaining the polished perception of Valentino. But, through the course of collaboration, the outerwear pieces receive an au courant update. Piccioli joined forces with Japanese designer Jun Takahashi, founder of Undercover, who customised the pieces with extra-terrestrial motifs, such as a UFO plastered across a portrait of Beethoven; whose very music echoed throughout the hall.

This image, as well as scenes of several UFO’s, featured throughout the show on trench coats, carpet bags and knitwear. The house’s name was also written in capitals in its red colour across both outerwear and alongside Takahashi’s imagery. These conflicting images combined to create a series of garments both classic and cutting-edge in both concept and execution.

Elements of streetwear add an air-of-cool to the refined garments, as chunky trainers in daring red are paired with sophisticated suits, and bumbags are carried as if one would carry a bespoke briefcase. Hooded sweatshirts were layered with stylish longline coats and preppy macintosh’s are dressed down with more sports footwear. Each look seemingly blurs the line between wearable and couture clothing.

Perhaps the most exciting collaboration could have been missed – had they not have been either bright red in colour or featuring a bold VLTN emblazoned across each side. Luckily, they were indeed not missed, and Valentino’s exclusive Birkenstock collaboration sandals may have indeed stolen the show. As many designers have collaborated with popular shoe brands — Balenciaga‘s famous collaboration with Crocs for example — Valentino has seized upon an opportunity to introduce a consumer-favourite to the world of high fashion.

Valentino’s AW19 collection proves that collaboration is the secret ingredient when it comes to creating an innovative and exciting future for a brand steeped in history and expectation. Piccioli has ensured his vision for Valentino will be a voyage to remember.

by Lucy May McCracken

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