Last week, at the Roman Atelier of Piazza Mignanelli, les petites mains were meticulously packing the new Valentino Haute Couture 2019 collection presented today in Paris. Just last night, seamstresses arrived at the Place Vendôme, adding the finishing touches to a magnificent collection, perhaps the most enticing one thus far— pure poetry by Pierpaolo Piccioli. He wanted to look at the iconography of couture and rethink it for women of color. From how a color fabric might look on skin tone and what we mean by flesh-colored clothing. “Imagine most famous picture in couture, of all those women in Charles James dresses shot by Cecil Beaton in 1948, and then replacing all the women with different faces. It’s not about the market, I did it because I wanted to try and look at something from a different perspective,” Piccioli stated. He was most certainly cautious of wanting to make a statement that was not political, but it made the subject of couture a lot more interesting this week. This collection is designed courageously and it is designed for women that are utterly thrilling and bold. The unapologetically fabulous world that Piccioli suggests is fearlessly captivating, making this collection the most acclaimed show of the season.
The enchanted garden bloomed in a cold Parisian evening, as the models graced the runway for the selected few. A neoclassical atmosphere inside Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild welcomed a fairy-tale, one that epitomizes Shakespeare’s Sonnet I: “Because nothing I call this immense universe except you, my rose, in it you are my everything.” This particular verse seems like the perfect parable for the graceful collection. Piccioli envisioned women as corolla’s— fragile in their essence, delicate in their effluvium. Thus the models were called to portray the quintessence of femininity— they looked vibrant, graceful and poised. Enclosing them in precious petals, Piccioli interpreted his perception of the female universe, accentuating the silhouette in order to ample the volume. Focusing on structure, his designs are implemented in rather sartorial complexity. Color palette varies from Valentino signature red, to shades of strawberry, purple and pink, turquoise, lemon and the inevitable black. The intricate embroidery and beading further accentuate layered ruffles of taffeta silk, chiffon and delicate lace. Daring floral prints are overpowering, justifying that florals for spring can (occasionally) be groundbreaking. The show ended with a delightful surprise: a closing walk by Naomi Campbell. The supermodel made an unexpected appearance on the Parisian catwalk, emerging in a sheer black gown with voluminous sleeves and a tiered ruffle skirt.