or: THE EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER OF PIERPAOLO PICCIOLI’S VALENTINO, TEARS INCLUDED.
Words alone cannot fully describe the feelings pirouetting inside one’s body during a Valentino show by Pierpaolo Piccioli. The collection’s notes insisted on the word freedom, the idea of letting things go and discovering a paradisaical haven where rules don’t matter any more. Pierpaolo Piccioli invited his guests in the Invalides complex, as Hedi Slimane did two days before. Of course no rational being would venture into comparing the two shows on such basis, because in terms of splendor, Valentino is plainly unmatchable.
Music. Ready, set, go! A few outings of solemn yet not-at-all austere gowns and separates opened this feast for the eyes. It was all-black-everything, but as Yves Saint Laurent once declared: “there isn’t one black, but several blacks.” Surely, silk, wool, and cotton fabrics along with leather and ostrich feathers all absorb light with more or less intensity. It allows Piccioli to play with the depth into which our eyes fall. Thereby, the off-the-shoulder dress worn by Kristen McMenamy doesn’t produce the same effect as the lace ensemble, the plissé dress, or the formal suit that followed. Although, all of the aforementioned felt pure. Just when darkness reached its peak, light appeared in the form of a pristine, virginal plissé dress. Next, some citadine pieces —a white shirt with voluminous sleeves, a raincoat, short summer dresses in gorgeous deep plum skin and African papaya flesh— for a delightful wardrobe.
Then, and without warning, the collection took a dramatic turn when embroidered and embellished dresses stole the show. An explosion of colour inspired by the work of Post-Impressionist painters Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse as well as Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin de Majorelle. It was captivating, totally hypnotic, and until a girl was out of sight, eyes were pinwheels trying to catch all that could be seen. Also worth mentioning, the gorgeous Valentino red dresses, the outstanding makeup, and yes, those big hats!
Pierpaolo Piccioli’s work is a lesson of craftsmanship and a tale of beauty. The Italian designer creates couture-like ready-to-wear. Each look, each garment, each accessory, every detail is thought out in that sense. It was beauty at its truest state, and it is imperative it makes it to the street.
Valentino is one of the rare shows of Paris fashion week where one needs a few minutes to come back to reality. Keep making us daydream Signor Piccioli, please, keep making us dream. Not many times do I leave a show feeling moved, but —oh boy!— this was worth shedding a tear or two in the name of beauty, freedom, and hope.
Words by Pierre M’Péle
For more information, see Valentino