Valentino: Travel broadens the mind, even virtual voyages
Think of this latest menswear collection from the house of Valentino as explorers’ couture or global wanderers' bespoke. Not that the clothes were made-to-measure; more that the sheer level of artisanal skill and exotic embroidery meant that the actual finish of these garments was worthy of a haute-couture atelier.
“Travelers who go on journeys within the realm of their own minds are capable of transcending boundaries to reach the elsewhere, expanding possibilities and imagining utopias,” read designer Pierpaolo Piccioli’s program note.
And, there was everything utopian about the psychedelic assemblage prints where tropical trees grew out of floating rocks, or giant roots intersected with cumulus clouds; the work of artist Roger Dean, to whom Piccioli had evidently given carte blanche.
Most beautiful of all - mosaic-style pop-monsters and lizards circling on tropical storm print parkas or tech-y djellabas. Piccioli even revived his favored abstract camouflage, though this season in muddy sherbets, in an astute choice for his loyal fan base.
For the finale, Valentino’s petites mains went into overdrive with dense woollen embroideries of lobster pinchers, sleeping owls or soaring eagles on tunics and caftans.
Moreover, whoever Pierpaolo has got hidden in his design team creating sneakers is doing an excellent job. This season whipping up some great new white runners with sideways logo black harnesses, or thick-soled trainers that included hints of Dean’s prints.
Not a single suit in sight in this outstandingly fresh collection. It is not that often, even in Paris or Milan, that a show truly advances the fashion vernacular, but Piccioli certainly achieved that distinction this evening in the Grand Palais.
There’s also been a whole Pink Floyd revival in Paris this season, and the choice of 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' felt right in line with the current zeitgeist and yearning for a sensual and sustainable Shangri-La.
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