Valentino: is this as grand as it gets?
Classical, classical haute couture at Valentino, in a significant change of gears by the house’s couturier Pierpaolo Piccioli.
Grand, even grandioso couture, with enormous volumes and huge dresses possibly better suited to entering a carriage than a limousine.
“Transition is a connector; it transfers knowledge and values through time. The history of Haute Couture is its reason of being in the present day,” Piccioli polemicized in his program note.
And, indeed, one witnessed moments of majestic beauty. From antique rose gabardine robe manteaux to swirling asymmetrical faille fuchsia blouses cut like some giant buds and floating twill coats in maxi daisy or tulip prints.
All topped by some stupendous hats courtesy of an heroic display by Ireland’s Philip Treacy – massive bursts of vertical purple petals, or humongous pasha’s turbans with dangling strings, like stylishly inverted jellyfish.
Definitely a long show – a hefty 68 looks – staged slowly, an effect heightened by the music. Again, classical couture sounds – with lengthy excerpts of Kiri Te Kanawa singing Vissi D’arte from Tosca. Plenty of action in the front row – from Olivia Palermo to Brazilian beauty Izabel Goulart; and even a couple of major designers to show their respect.
“You found me in Paris! I love Pierpaolo, and how he creates, so it’s simply a great pleasure to be here,” said Donatella Versace, smoky eyed and slim in a Little Black dress. She took her seat between the house’s founders Giancarlo Giammetti and Valentino Garavani. The latter in an impeccably cut gray chalk-stripe suit – though by Caraceni, not Valentino.
Amid extended applause, Piccioli took a tour of all six rooms in the Salomon de Rothschild mansion with a playful smile on his lips.
A pure expression of classical couture, though perhaps one caught in a time warp. Experimentation, as well as tradition, is the hallmark of great couture. Definitely this was grand couture, though grand can often be synonymous with old in fashion. And, when it comes to clothes, old is generally not that great.
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