Valentino A/W 2019 Paris Fashion Week Women’s

Valentino A/W 2019 Paris Fashion Week Women’s

Superfluous adornment was replaced by monacal shapes and monochromatic looks this season at Valentino 

Scene setting: On Sunday afternoon, the fashion pack met behind the Hôtel National des Invalides (a different side of the same venue that hosted the Celine show a few days ago) in the tent that has been, for the last few seasons, the set for the Valentino womenswear show. This time, the glass-walled space was pristine, with only a cream carpet and ebony-black wooden benches in sight… and a lightbulb sign reading: ‘The people you love become ghosts inside you and like this you keep them alive.’ There was the collection’s theme: love. Backstage, Pierpaolo Piccioli spoke passionately of building a community of people around him, a concept different from ‘lifestyle’, removed from inanimate objects and reigniting human contact.

Team work: And this he set out to do, mainly with a little help from Jun Takahashi. The Japanese designer, best known for his Undercover brand, first collaborated with Piccioli during the last menswear season, creating surreal UFO collages that were printed all over the collection that was presented last January. For womenswear, though, the mood was decidedly less pop, and more romantic instead (even if, this being Takahashi, a tinge of punk could never be too far away). A 19th-century neoclassical sculpture and some roses made their way into mini dresses and long chiffon gowns, illustrating a romantic idea of love. Elsewhere, Piccioli decided to also work with a group of poets including Greta Bellamacina, Mustafa The Poet, Yrsa Daley-Ward and Robert Montgomery to create a book on love that awaited guests in each one of their seats.

Best in show: As for the collection, it also felt like back to basics exercise: almost all superfluous adornment seemed to have disappeared, instead being replaced by monacal shapes and monochromatic looks (which brought out Takahashi’s prints). Proportions were noticeably shorter (an appeal to a younger audience?) and there was a sense of wearability, even when it came to the most spectacular evening gowns, in transparent ruffled chiffon and pleated tulle. All in all, Pierpaolo Piccioli’s message couldn’t have been clearer: all you need is love (and Valentino). §

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