The Grand Tour. It's a concept that lives mostly in our minds these days. As Maria Grazia Chiuri pointed out backstage, "In the past, the English and French came to our country to improve their culture; now all Italian people go to England or to New York." But theoretical or not, the grand tour proved to be a transporting theme for Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli's VALENTINO show yesterday afternoon: The collection was poetic, graceful, and beautiful.
Roman sandals and a breezy silk print dress: Who wouldn’t want to buy into the fantasy of taking off on a summer holiday in Italy? Like Dolce & Gabbana, and their excavations of Sicilian culture, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli at VALENTINO see no reason to look beyond their own city to find layers and layers of history to inspire them.
Chiuri and Piccioli touched on many of Italy's patrimonies, from its antiquities all the way down to its kitsch. Centuries-old interiors the country is cornice heaven provided blueprints for a series of colorful dresses printed with vivid flowers and arabesque forms. Another group of dresses was patchworked from what could've been souvenir scarves. Neapolitan pastel stripes decorated a shrunken sweater and the broderie anglaise skirt it was paired with. And Rome got its moment in the spotlight, too: A softly draped powder blue shift, loosely gathered at the waist, looked like something Diana the Huntress might've worn, save for the band of beading around the neckline. But the designers lavished special attention on the seaside, printing some gowns with starfish and snails, and embroidering others with shells, sailing ships, and underwater creatures like the Portuguese man-of-war.
It wasn't just finery on the runway. Linen shirts with asymmetric necklines and a chunky ribbed sweater worn with lace-inset denim would make fine touring clothes. But as always, it was the workmanship that astounded, be it extravagantly done, as the feather-embroidered numbers were, or more naively wrought, like those sea creatures. "In this moment when everything is synthetic, digital, and flat, you need something more human. To dream, you need to feel something, not just to see," said Piccioli. That's not just a fine reason for a grand tour, it's a manifesto for modern life.
The designers’ ability to fashion exquisite fairy-tale dress is well established–and each one of them here is perfect in its own way. Such is the restless eye, though, that the things that didn’t belong to that familiar category seemed more arresting. A bold baroque print of flowers and curliques looked great in a passage that included a simple-seeming burgundy and white vaguely forties midi dress with a softly gathered raised waist, and collar and pockets embroidered with tiny beads. A lone navy devore velvet and tulle dress with a pattern shooting up from hem to bodice was one of the most outstanding dresses of the whole season.
Discover the VALENTINO Spring 2015 runway show at the end of this post!
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit/Source: VOGUE
Photos by Marcus Tondo / Indigitalimages
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VALENTINO Fall/Winter 2014/15 - The moment pre show and during the show are the most frenetic. Models gracefully glide along the catwalk but backstage they rush to change into their next look. Here a look at those backstage moments during the Fall/Winter 2014/15 fashion show.