Pierpaolo Piccioli has established himself brilliantly as sole creative director at Valentino since the huge news that Maria Grazia Chiuri, Piccioli’s design partner for 17 years, was leaving the Maison to join Dior just nine months ago. He presented his first solo collection to rave reviews at Spring Summer fashion week in Paris, staged his first Pre-Fall show in New York, and wowed with an Haute Couture collection of masterpieces, that combined the ethereal with a touch of surreal.
Maison Valentino’s AW17 collection, shown today in Paris at Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, was a study of time and romanticism. The show notes described time as elastic matter; ‘The past is full of possibilities as is the future. The means by which it is observed in order to find what relates to us makes it alive. The manner in which it connects and unites what at first glance cannot connect or unite makes it productive, discovering personal perspectives.’ It was an analogy that could easily draw parallels with the nature of fashion itself.
Piccioli played with different dialogues throughout the show; between restrained Victorian shapes and sweeping sheer fabrications, between fantasy surreal prints and uniform geometric pleats.
Nathalie du Pasquier, a painter and designer initially known for her work as a founding member of the Memphis Group, provided the distinctive prints of the collection. It was a colourful swirl of numbers, colours, free shapes and vibrations with nothing where it should be and yet all working together in a gentle harmony.
The collection had a lightness to it; there was plenty of volume and flowing material and the pleat work gave a pleasing continuity as they were utilised as vehicles for embellishment, leather and velvet fabrications, peeps of sheer fabric or to give extra pops of colour.
As the models weaved through the light and airy rooms and made their way up a staircase with a the dramatic shadow of a chandelier projected onto the wall, the romanticism of the pieces was realised; in delicate shimmering floral embellishment, luxe velvet and sheer delicate fabrics. Piccioli has delivered another beautiful collection for this Maison that seems to be going from strength to strength.