Years have passed since Pierpaolo Piccioli last designed a full collection on his own. That distance was cause for some speculation how he would do with this Valentino collection since his long-time design partner, Maria Grazia Chiuri, went to Christian Dior earlier this spring. The pair had been working as a team ever since Chiuri drafted him to work alongside her at Fendi in 1989. Could he do a full collection all on his own? No need to worry, it turns out. He did just fine.
Having been a part of Maison Valentino since 1999, Pierpaolo knows the house line extremely well and demonstrated that this afternoon with a collection that is one of the most feminine ever, which is saying something for this label. Starting with a look that blends rose and black in pleats with a studded waist cinch, Piccioli guides us through a whopping 64 looks full of glamor and refinement, each one as sleek and flowing as the next.
As with many of the collections we’ve seen in Europe, most of the silhouettes for this season run long, even in daywear. There are only a handful of pieces that come above the knee and even those are at more modest lengths, nothing that might cause a young woman any problems. Skirts and trousers alike are very full and flowing, while tops are loose and gentle, but still fitted enough to keep a feminine form. Many of the looks sit surprisingly high on the neck, inferring a Middle Eastern influence. Not until he is late into the collection to we start seeing the deep cleavage-bearing plunges we might usually expect.
Piccioli goes all in on the detail as well. There is some fantastic beadwork in this collection, not to mention tremendous brocades and more than a little embroidery. Some of his best jackets are so full of embroidery, in fact, that the mind boggles at the thought of the time spent creating those pieces. A luxury label always carries a luxury price but in this instance, it is easy to see why that price is justified.
There is but one small curiosity in the collection. Almost all the pieces come equipped with a color-coordinated square locket on a long gold chain. Whether or not the accessory might be sold with or separately from the garment I don’t know. What make the locket curious is its strange size. While too large to be worn in any fashion other than as presented, it is also too small to hold anything practical, such as a credit card or metro rail pass. The locket also didn’t take the place of any other bag, some of which were draped just above the locket. The look is cute and youthful and perhaps that is enough justification on its own.
Prints are a delight in this collection and you’ll want to especially pay attention to a section in Valentino red. The duo had tended to stay away from that color over the past few years, so it was nice to see it return to the mix. He also places heavily with lace and sheer fabrics in the gowns.
This Valentino collection is every bit as much a win for Piccioli as Dior was for his former partner. He should feel much more confident going forward. We look forward to seeing what he does next.