There is a new femininity in the air that can be traced directly back to the fresh air that designers Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri have blown into the house of Valentino. Taking the reigns of an established couture house is always a challenge. Taking over when the much loved designer is still alive is a test for the best. Pier Paolo and Maria Grazia are clearly on top of the job.
They are fortunate in that they have inherited a studio of some of the most talented craftspeople in the business. Having visited them in their Rome base recently, it was inspiring to see the original Valentino team joined at the cutting tables by a younger generation, enthused by the craft of couture and eager to build a career in it.
The latest couture collection was shown at the palatial Rothschild Hotel Particulier in Paris. It is a grand house with intimate space inside and therefore pitch perfect for this collection that is at once haute couture (in every sense of the word) but also easy and relaxed.
Collarless day dresses, fitting gently on the waist with a flared skirt to the knee looked perfectly relaxed as well as formally chic. A simple silver brocade collarless coat recalled classics from the Valentino archive but looked glamorously contemporary.
It was the evening wear that was the show stopper here. Valentino is used to receiving multiple orders for the evening gowns. When I was in Rome they were working on three embroidered dresses destined for different parts of the world. Prepare for waiting lists to build over the cream crepe column with floor length, cape, the delicate chevron lace and tulle gown and the molten pistachio silk velvet and the feather embroidered gold lace.
It’s pleasing to see a house like this spring to life for a new generation.
-Paula Reed in Paris