The designers behind Valentino gave Paris a taste of traditional haute couture. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli took poetical inspirations from the early twentieth century and transformed them into sartorial statements of modern beauty.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli of Valentino gave Paris a historical collection with a modern twist for spring/summer 2012. The poetic inspirations behind the couture pieces included portraits of a young Marie Antoinette, and the surrealist paintings of Belgian artist Paul Delvaux, whose signature creations have depicted young women either nude or in fully covered gowns.
With such sympathetic reference points, Piccioli and Chiuri created a dreamy, romantic and light collection. The program given at the beginning of the show revealed that over 1000 hours of labour went into constructing the opening dress. The smocked floor length organza was the feminine ideal of demurity. High ruffled necklines with long sleeves in light hues were strong characteristics within the collection.
The gowns were deeply rooted to the turn of the twentieth century, as the soft flowing shapes covered the silhouette in the most polite and elegant manner. The elegiac inspirations could be felt in the floral prints on taffeta, and the four leaf clovers and violets printed on organza. Lace and tulle embellished with silver embroidery exaggerated the luxury, and highlighted the phenomenal craftsmanship of the Valentino ateliers who help bring to life the vision of Piccioli and Chiuri. The pastel colours created a hauntingly romantic effect on the sheer chiffon dresses, which complemented the soft details of ruffled shoulders and long sleeves that developed into lace gloves.
Picciolo and Chiuri contrasted the smocks with strong tailoring, creating a monotone ivory look out of smart, straight legged trousers with an elaborately detailed cape. Not as prim and dainty as the archaic frocks, the tailored looks showed the modernized vision of Valentino’s predecessors. Creating dresses to be admired for their stylish historical references with a faithful continuation of Valentino’s iconic style, Picciolo and Chirui also put their own modern stamp on the collection. Their skill this season was to take a dainty and highly romanticized vision and transform them into glamorous interpretations of modern feminine beauty. Three words, job well done.