Valentino x Tokyo: A Wabi-Sabi Lve Affair

In today’s globalized world – where it’s always fashion week somewhere – it’s easy to tire from the constant stream of shows. A spectacular resort collection unraveling out of a modernist spaceship museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil? Seen it. A steamy, romantic couture collection presented in an ancient palazzo in Sicily, nested amongst the pine trees? Meh, done that! Corporate fashion’s love affair with destination shows easily grows boring, if not down right wrong, as seen with last week’s Dolce & Gabbana scandal in Shanghai. But yesterday, we died and went to heaven and resurrected in just seven minutes when Maison Valentino presented its pre-fall 2019 collection in an old warehouse in Tokyo – the first for the house since the 1980s.

Pier Paolo Piccioli, the seasoned house’s creative director for a decade, presented an extremely refined collection inspired from the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, an aesthetic philosophy that finds beauty in imperfection. “I’ve always been fascinated by this idea,” Piccioli told Vogue: “Western culture is about symmetry, perfection, static beauty, while wabi-sabi is more close to the idea of harmony, of inner grace. Time goes by and it adds, it doesn’t take away. It’s really interesting for this moment—in the past, beauty was perfection, but I really feel beauty is about diversity, that this idea of wabi-sabi is very modern in this moment.”

Certainly, time stood still when series of scarlet monochrome looks for men and women flowed down the runway, followed by equally stunning saturated black. Overdyed floral prints, mohair sweaters and sweaters with silk florets offered everyday looks, men’s bucket hats with ostrich flonds added humor and romance, and a series of tuille evening dresses – carried by global model talents such as Kaia Gerber and Adut Akech. ”The iconography of the Maison – the ruffles, the lace, the grace, and then the flowers, the colors, the motifs – is interpreted in a wabi sabi key,” the brand summarized it on their own Instagram – East meets West, past meets present; perfection. A true fashion moment; one that makes it worthwhile enduring all the other shows we frankly couldn’t care less about.