Thursday 22nd June

| BY Jack Moss

Valentino: Menswear SS18

This was sporty. Not clothes to play sport in, we don’t do that, and PSA: Valentino should not be sullied with either human sweat, errant balls or other people’s hands. Rather, these were clothes that channelled the energy of sportswear. Anoraks, windbreakers, tracksuits, trainers and such. But there was something romantic about it. Which may sound vaguely antithetical, but it’s 37 degrees and we’re really trying. What we mean is this: sportswear is, by it’s very nature, utilitarian – made for purpose and not much more, no embellishments, no excess.

Here, though, there was something rich about it, something excessive – whether in the way that the techno-outerwear was layered up (all the way from the jewel-toned lining) to create this full, top-heavy silhouette, or the way that Seventies-tinged track jackets were embellished with delicate Navajo stitching. Pull-over tops were made in incredible raw-cut leathers and the colours were opulent, pulsating with energy. And those trainers – well, Tim Blanks said via Instagram that it was the shoe of the season. So that’s that. And it was the clash between sportswear and luxury that energised the collection – as the notes read: “Sport and Atelier. Antithetical languages that reconcile in the research of a human and authentic expression.” Grand words, yes – but Pierpaolo does have a canny knack of reconciling the real with the fantasy, and doing so most beautifully.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans