the collection Spring | Summer 2013
It was only four years ago that Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli found themselves in much the same fashion predicament that Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane found themselves in this week – taking on a fashion mantle. Unlike others who have fallen early at the first hurdle, Chiuri and Piccioli have lived and are living to tell the tale – going onto great success each time.
The key? They don’t go overboard or get too directional but neither do they merely replicate what has been before – they keep it feminine and desirable always, which is ultimately the Valentino philosophy.
Today they added a bit of an edge to the design mix through dresses whose panels were overtly sewn and laced together to show off the skin beneath. It was a precise and demure state of undress – these slashes in no way brash but always elegant. They were followed by sheer wispy dresses that floated on by in shades of sapphire, long sleeves held at tight at the wrist.
It was all-at-once girlie, demure and delicate – see the sheer sheer chiffon and broderie anglaise – but it had a refined darker edge with transparent bags and macs edged in studs. Jumpsuits leaned towards the Edwardian-Victorian train of thought with their collars and lace and ruffled bib fronts and tea dresses in pretty prints with little puffed sleeves continued down the pretty route. Snakeskin toughened up later looks (a tactic used by Erdem in London too), and worked well with the sweetness of nude pink.
Long white lace gowns came with beautiful capes and were a continuation of the shapes we saw last season. Dandelions, printed or jewelled, dusted more long-length dresses – there must be something about established fashion houses and the wind right now as it was something Lagerfeld drew upon this morning for his Chanel show too.
The fashion wind might be blowing in different directions for other house’s right now but Valentino knows what it’s doing and who it’s catering for. There was something more than Downtonabout some of the high-collared, puff-sleeved gowns – they could have stepped straight out of a Jane Austen novel. Valentino always has that fairytale nature about it and watching one of its shows is rather like being in a patisserie and not knowing what to choose – the dresses are all so pretty and sweet. And there are just so many of them.
Credit images: Vogue.com