Valentino

July 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
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Valentino

July 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Fashion News

As couturiers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli found the idea of the wunderkammer particularly appealing. “In a cabinet of curiosities, the pieces are very unique, very one-of-a-kind,” Piccioli said. “We’ve tried to make something that is not only special, but also surprising, unexpected.”

The first surprise of their enchanting Valentino show tonight came on the macro level: The designers, not unlike others this season, put an emphasis on daywear. Couture is not only for ceremonies, they insisted. But wearing a herringbone coat collaged with double-face cashmere etched with lions’ heads could turn even going out to the curb and hailing a taxi into a major event. Their cashmere sheaths with curving seams down the front to accentuate an hourglass shape were the least ostentatious and yet the most luxurious dresses of the week. Leonardo da Vinci’s quote “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” was front and center on their mood board. The restraint of those dresses could expand the boundaries of the way we think about couture.

Still, most clients want obvious bang for their buck. That’s where the micro-level pleasures of the designers’ wunderkammer came in. Take, for instance, the scrolls of cashmere caught between a layer of lace and another layer of net on a pencil skirt and matching coat. Or a long-sleeved black dress constructed from laser-cut black astrakhan embroidered with crystals that took five hundred hours to make. Or another coat that looked like silk Ottoman brocade but was actually handwoven from the thinnest strips of raffia. Or the pièce de résistance, a gown and the train that fell from its shoulders stitched with 2,200 river pearls and gold thread.

There were other sublime moments: a long, narrow skirt in a mosaic of feathers, a tapestry coat embroidered with a dragon on its back. Chiuri and Piccioli established a sort of call and response between pieces such as those and others with an almost monastic undercurrent—see the brown velvet, lantern-sleeve, above-the-ankle dress. It’s the Valentino designers’ mastery of both extravagance and understatement that’s the real wonder.
—Nicole Phelps
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Red Valentino

October 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli make clothes that set girls to dreaming. So it’s not surprising that they associate the lower-priced Red Valentino collection with thoughts of fairy tales and fantasies. “It’s always about this girl—like in a children’s book, she goes on different adventures,” Chiuri and Piccioli said in a phone interview. This season, the design duo took her on a series of trips from Saint-Tropez to Hawaii to the Caribbean. They carried the label’s whimsical nature all the way. Bright colors like cobalt blue and orange, soft landscape prints, and a series of plaids appeared on flirty frocks that you could easily picture at a poolside soirée. A denim top with ruffled sleeves, eyelet dresses, and a tweed skirtsuit, meanwhile, were among the range’s memorable daytime options. Neutral handbags and feminine floral pumps—although a far cry from the clear studded accessories shown in Paris a week ago—were a nice way to accent the looks. A sheer dress and matching capelet embellished with raffia and ribbons looked like it was plucked straight from the runway. That’s what will have girls lost in their fantasies all season long.
—Jessica Minkoff
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Valentino

July 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Look at Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, so ascetic and spare with their dark clothes and modest demeanor, and you can only wonder at the intensity of the clothes they create. So, obviously, did the scribe who penned their show notes, as lost in the search for words to define the collection as everyone else was after the fact. That’s because Chiuri and Piccioli are like the solitary writer who spins a magic kingdom out of his imagination. “Regal beauty,” Piccioli said by way of explanation. “Sensual but severe.” And if that had a Game of Thrones tang, well, that fitted with a Couture collection that felt like a world we were allowed to enter without fully understanding what it was we were seeing.

The mood board in their studio was dense with nineteenth century altered states: the symbolists, the decadents, a romantic spirit that combined ecstatic release and exhausted lassitude. Valentino is a house that traditionally reads red, but Chiuri and Piccioli dialed down to blue, introspection and reflection versus the extrovert essence of house habit. It made for a quietly spectacular opening in crepes, chiffons, and cashmeres with a lush sobriety. That same idea of modest luxury carried over into a full-length lace and chiffon floral dress, and a coat that was encrusted with cashmere appliqués of flowers and leaves in a pattern that was inspired by William Morris’ Tree of Life. It was so ludicrously vivid that you could imagine the old boy himself would have felt one step closer to God when he looked at it.

If there have been times in Chiuri and Piccioli’s tenure at Valentino when they seemed a little stultified by respectful politeness, today felt like a once-and-for-all cutting loose. The way they introduced brocade, for instance, an oldish idea, but here zapped with yellow. Then there was the blue, of course, antithesis of all the house traditionally holds dear, even if the red did reinsert itself toward the end of the show (which only created a pleasurable tension for Spring). One of the most memorable outfits from this Couture moment in Paris will surely be the evening dress in navy plissé with the black shadow falling diagonally across it. Stark lushness—why does that notion sound so right with Couture in such transition?
—Tim Blanks
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