Pierpaolo Piccioli is on to a good thing at Valentino. Each season he delivers exactly what the Valentino woman wants, namely: exceedingly beautiful clothing. Which is not to say that there aren’t new ideas season on season, rather it’s about the subtle changes of colour and shape – clothing that masks itself in its own simplicity, yet it is in the cut of the clothing where his talent lies.
There was a sort of column silhouette to this – these monastic capes that hung perfectly off the model’s shoulders, worn with polo necks beneath, and mohair tops that flared ever so slightly from the model’s bodies. And there was something monastic too about the drape of it all – some dresses raised up into hoods, others folded down the back, echoing that same, cape-like silhouette. Sheer shirts came up long in the sleeve, some layered under perfectly cut overcoats. Of course, there were moments that veered away from that cool simplicity – curtain-like fabrics, dotted with animals, opened up at the sides to reveal slices of hot pink sheet fabric, whilst those same animals became hanging metal bags – lions, cheetahs, owls.
Those animals, according to the release, stood for the seven vices, or sins – but, as Piccioli said, this was about those animals representing something opposite, something curative. Instead of sloth, it was resurrection – instead of greed, the capacity to see through deception. It speaks of a designer who works through his own emotion – an emotion that seeps into his clothes – closing with a parade of spectacular gowns that fell away into ruffles or billowed out behind the model’s and at the sleeves. Those final dresses prompted well deserved applause – more so when Pierpaolo took to the runway for a bow. He’s a designer on a high.
Photographs Jason Lloyd-Evans