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Published
Mar 2, 2020
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Valentino: Dark romanticism in a sharp change of gears

Published
Mar 2, 2020

Just when everyone was beginning to grumble, albeit very quietly, that Pierpaolo Piccioli’s recent obsession with volume was starting to get predictable even a little old, along comes the designer with a stellar darkly romantic collection, and a subtle change of gears at Valentino.


Valentino - Fall-Winter 2020 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula


Possibly no front row looked more glamorous today than that of Valentino, where scores of very well-heeled clients showed up in flowery, acid-hued, uber-glam finery. Posh femininity at its poshest. The show, however, was a cunning mixture of polished punk attitude blended with screen goddess grandeur.

“No categories. I don’t mean gender bending, I mean people being independent individuals and wearing whatever they want. Like my opening look, which was a man’s coat very like the opening look in our menswear show but this time worn by a woman,” explained Piccioli in a packed backstage at Valentino’s custom-made show space, just to the west of Napoleon’s Tomb.

The mood was set with the soundtrack, where a string quintet played movie theme music and Billie Eilish emoted in a remix of “All The Good Girls Go To Hell.”
 
Moreover, at a house where the signature color is sinful red, almost all of the first 20 looks were in black. Again, as in the brand’s latest menswear collection, beautifully rippling silk coats and sleek leather dusters were finished with bold single images of flowers and stems – all in unexpected tints and hues, from pale silvers to faded reds.
 
Everything – bar a few movie award columns – was anchored with boots:  NATO marching boots, punk rocker style or Chelsea boots with three-inch-thick foam soles. Even patrician red cashmere coats and society hostess red plissé frocks came with UK bovver boots. Posh punk that never looked retro, always fresh.


Valentino - Fall-Winter 2020 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula


Plus, Piccioli introduced a great new bag, studded, cut with multiple petals and finished with bows. Named the Valentino Garavani Atelier, it is sure to be a major hit.
 
And that all led up to a majestic finale – several Aphrodite-worthy silken and chiffon columns that brought forth a huge cheer as the designer took an extended bow – even rising onto the rostrum to embrace the string quintet.
 
A gear switch in stylistic strategy, and a breath of fresh fashion air amid a gloomy day in Paris.

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