Valentino promotes simplified fashion for everyday living
Valentino brought Milan Fashion Week to a close beautifully on Sunday. The brand, which returned to the Lombard capital after 13 years of runways in Paris, did not disappoint with its collection, which mixed romantic touches with a perfectly contemporary aesthetic, all while focusing on a concept of simplicity that felt particularly pertinent in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, the Rome-based fashion house intensified its security measures and chose a gigantic venue for its show: the old hangar of the Macchi foundry, which welcomed guests with open doors into a space interspersed with islands of ferns and wildflowers. In the middle of this rough and dusty industrial environment, the brand set up a stage with a grand piano, which accompanied the vocals of London-born singer-songwriter Labrinth.
It was therefore to an emotive soul melody punctuated by finger clicks that the diverse male and female models, picked via street casting and brought together for the first time at the show, appeared, suddenly bringing a breath of life into the location. It was a very precise way for creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli to redefine the codes of the house, developing its wardrobe towards a more simplified attitude and forms.
The collection kicked off with a little black dress revised as a playsuit and continued with looks of the utmost simplicity: a series of essential tailored pieces in various shades of monochrome, but particularly in black and white. Then the aesthetic began to broaden subtly, bringing in other wardrobe classics, such as a white shirt, or a pair of five-pocket jeans, which were the result of a collaboration with Levi's and were paired with a diaphanous blouse in silk muslin, not to mention the shorts and blazers.
Gradually looks began to be enriched by the introduction of colour, reimagined prints from the house's archives, and lace, which all had starring roles this season. Loose white shirts with bibs were elevated with guipure and worn with cycling shorts, or were drenched in colour, alternating mauve and candy pink, and slipped over mini-shorts.
Large black cardigans were crocheted, as were some little 3D pieces, while jumpers were loosely knit and a macramé skirt took on the air of a net. Elsewhere, colourful appliqué flowers bloomed and spread across lace looks in black, white or nude.
Maxi or ultra-short
Slowly the collection's register expanded through the introduction of giant flower prints on silk pieces in purple, green, yellow and red. These floral fabrics were used to make maxi-dresses, taking the form of capes and kaftans, but also to tailor shirts, shorts and even a sweatshirt. For the evening, the looks were an explosion of vibrant hues, seen in floating dresses with trains, executed in muslin or intangible chiffon.
There was no need for other decorations or embellishments. Valentino's new woman shows what she's worth through her personality and desires, mixing and matching pieces as she likes. She dares to don lace couture for her day-to-day wear and a monochrome dress for the evening.
The men on the runway were just as cool, and no less elegant, wearing loose suits, shirts and comfortable shorts. Just like their female alter egos, they opted for large jackets or lacy shirts worn over short shorts or a simple pair of jeans.
There were no half measures in this collection for Spring/Summer 2021, which was focused around clothes to be lived in on a daily basis, while accessories were relegated to a secondary role. The only possible lengths were maxi or ultra-short.
As explained by the brand in its programme notes: "The result is a suggestion of what Valentino can be now, by following a new perspective. It's a reflection about the values which constitute an identity which is constantly evolving and not about the aesthetic that manifests it."
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