Spring Couture 2021
Pictures by Valentino
THE NEW COUTURE
Valentino Shapes a New Image of Luxury
Valentino Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli recognized that this couture season was to be unlike any other. This changing world in which we find ourselves has forced adaptation and evolution throughout the fashion industry, resulting in new trends, new purchasing habits and new perspectives. The Spring 2021 Couture collection for Valentino was conceived under lockdown at the house’s atelier in Rome, and focused on the naked craft, beauty, and construction of couture, free from any lofty inspirations or wanderlust visions. The resulting collection was titled Temporal, referring to the here and now, the current world, which, in contrast, is also starved for the quality and timelessness of clothes that are focused on an eternal shelf life, free from trends and passing fads. Rock Studs, take a seat this season.
And so we are presented with a minimalist, monochrome, print-free Valentino couture collection with a heavy shift to separates and, dare we say, casual pieces. And while these words may imply simplicity, the collection was anything but. The audience-free runway show was staged in the Sala Grande of the Galleria Colonna in Rome, the baroque grandeur of the room both contrasting and complimenting the collection at different turns. The show opened with the otherworldly Mariacarla Boscono taking a solo walk through the hall, decked in an ankle-grazing ivory perforated cape (although Piccioli prefers to refer to it as “a shape”), that resembled an intricate origami masterpiece. The “shape” was layered over a red lurex long-sleeved turtleneck and silk trousers, punctuated by the staccato taps of towering gold platform shoes.
The collection set forth with impeccable separates that were modern and sophisticated, simple to the eye, yet complex and painstakingly detailed in construction and conception, this is couture, after all. Oversized coats were lined with cashmere; seamless figure-skimming dresses mingled alongside structured day dresses with hidden built in corsets; drawstring windbreakers and hoodies were lined with gold lamé. A white button-down shirt was given the couture treatment with puffed sleeves, layered atop a soft grey, floor-skimming skirt with a train that somehow appeared both casual and impossibly elegant at the same time. A complete look together, yet both pieces designed to stand alone as timeless additions to your wardrobe. A yellow ribbed tube dress appeared simple enough, but was actually 900 meters of hand rolled fabric that was stitched together in a technique specific to Valentino called Budellini.
As if a couture hoodie wasn’t earthshaking enough for Valentino, Piccioli decided it was time to include menswear as well, resulting in the first co-ed couture runway in Valentino history. As fashion rules and ways of dressing change with our ever-evolving societal needs, Picciolo recognized that gendered fashion is also transforming, and that couture, especially this season, needed to be universal both in style and gender. The menswear blended effortlessly into the collection with complimenting shades of tan, pink, brown, and pops of blue and red. Creased, seamless chinos were topped with baggy vests and oversized coats, presenting the most luxuriously made daywear one could imagine.
Amidst all these “casual” separates there were also several gasp-worthy moments that only a couture collection can provide, and what we have come to expect from a Pierpaolo Picciolo Valentino runway. A heavily embellished fuchsia top with swinging appendages was worn with Bermuda shorts and over-the-knee metallic pink, slouchy platform boots. A dropped waist, swinging poodle skirt was shown in soft tan with a vibrant pink lining, paired with a turtleneck sweater in creamy caramel cashmere. The crescendo of the collection was a series of gold and yellow pieces, including Boscono on her second walk, in a monochromatic yellow top and cropped pants, draped in a glistening gold lurex fringed coat reminiscent of holiday tinsel, and corresponding platforms.
Despite the necessary turn toward a more laid-back, wearable collection this season, Picciolo managed to elevate daywear into couture worthy garments, maintaining the style and sophistication that keep the Valentino name elevated to the top of the fashion food chain. Temporal was a study in the dichotomy of luxury fashion, fantasy, and actual need, providing us with a modern take on couture, one that is bold and unafraid of what the future may bring.
Written by Elizabeth Kramsky