In an ideal world, every girl would get a Valentino dress. Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri closed Paris couture week with a show that defined, better than anyone else, what contemporary couture is all about.
For the past four days we have been treated to explorations of the modern, the gothic, the lavish, the other worldly and the unashamedly over the top. At times, the efforts being made to catch the eye of the moneyed ladies of the emerging markets has seemed almost craven. There has been more bling around than a souk at sundown.
Of course it makes sense to be practical about where the business lies. But designers who are encouraged to chase that above all else risk losing what is special about themselves. Designers are, by nature, leaders, not followers.
Maria Grazia and Pier Paolo, successors to Valentino at the house he created, anticipated nothing. They simply gave us the best of what that house is able to do: a wardrobe of impeccably feminine, seductively pretty, refreshingly simple and utterly appropriate clothes that any multi millionairess could possibly want.
If some designers seem prepared to go to any lengths to chase the new money, the team at Valentino seem perfectly content to let the money come to them. And if I had it I would be in the front of the queue for the perfect long sleeved, floor length sheath in navy crepe; the simple knee length taffeta shift with its matching cape; the silk gown hand painted with chintz motifs which were echoed in its matching cashmere cape. I’d even sign up for the sparkly embroidered pants and top that looked curiously like a couture version of a tracksuit. How brilliantly bonkers to kick back in a beaded leisure suit?
But seriously, from the embroidered brocades to the beaded chiffons which wafted out of the room like something in a dream sequence, there was not even the merest hint of an attempt to define and chase the market. There were simply incredible clothes that any woman any where would just love to have. The skill with which these two designers support and energise a respected house is a rare achievement. They are certainly doing the business.
by Paula Reed in Paris
For more Couture action - including who's wearing what on the FROW, Chanel's vintage extravaganza and Raf Simons' Dior debut - click here.